Regardless of the field in which you require professional translations, choosing the right provider is always a hard decision. The market is saturated with all kinds of translation providers, ranging from local freelance translators, to small and large-scale translation companies, to huge global players. Here is some advice on what you should consider when choosing your partner for professional translations.
#1 Order your translation from humans, not from machines
The term “machine translation” was created in the 1960s. The science behind the whole program is known as “computational linguistics”. It is an evolving science and still in its infancy. So, contrary to what many believe, machine-made translations were not invented by a huge search engine company. The technology developed by mankind is not yet at a level where a program could decode and integrate the complexity of a foreign language. So, for now, you have to stick with human-made translations if you want to get the quality needed for your target audience. It is certainly true that modern translation companies such as Teck Language Solutions utilize technology in order to enhance quality and provide you with discount options. But this just software which is supporting human work – it is not replacing it.
#2 Do not choose the cheapest provider. If price is important for you, choose the provider offering the best price to quality ratio
Our translation company, along with several other serious providers, chooses to provide the best price to quality ratio instead of simply delivering the lowest price. What does this mean? You may well have found offers on the net, mainly from companies operating in South East Asia, the Western Pacific region or Eastern Europe, that offer unbeatable prices. But you have to consider the translators they are working with in order for them to be able to keep price levels so low. One of the techniques used by such translation agencies is to produce a machine-made translation which will then be polished up by somebody who speaks the language “at some level”. This does not result in optimal quality and may even damage your business. Just think about it for a moment. When you sell technology abroad, it is essential that the operator understands the manual, or you may want to persuade potential customers about the advantages of your products/services and what they get is a polished up machine translation. In this case you have bought cheap translations, but the money you spent has been wasted and your reputation has also been damaged. This is surely not an optimal solution, so make sure that the translation prices are realistic and fair.
#3 Your translation partner should use CAT tools
As previously mentioned, CAT tools are powerful software which enhance quality and optimize prices. They are part of everyday life in the translation business, and translators or translation companies who do not use them are refusing to accept the realities of business life today. CAT tools – CAT is short for computer-assisted translation – are especially effective when translating more extensive texts, texts for longer projects or repetitive texts. Their basic role is to:
- Help to identify segments that have already been translated and suggest the same translation. This ensures that:
- Your terminology and the style of your text are used in a uniform and consistent way.
- The translator can only access the texts themselves and not the layout. Although there is always a preview function for checking the context
- CAT tools enable work in several specific file formats (incl. InDesign, Illustrator, QuarkXPress etc.), which saves you or your graphic department a lot of time.
The translators at Teck Language Solutions also have access to the most common CAT tools which we use for the benefit of our clients and which enables us to provide discounts for repetitive texts.
#4 Always use highly trained native translators
Even if you work together with a freelance translator, the main thing you have to bear in mind is to use highly educated native translators. A translator who speaks the language at an acceptable or good level will not suffice as every language has nuances that only native speakers can “feel”. They can ensure that your translations contain powerful phrases that speak to your target audience.
But a native level alone will also not suffice. In order for the translator to translate your text perfectly, he/she has to have the necessary experience in translation and the knowledge of your operational area as well as the grammar rules of the target language.
We at Teck Language Solutions only work together with native-level, highly trained translators who have years of experience in the relevant field.
#5 Use double-checks
One of the advantages translation companies can provide compared to freelance translators is that double-checks are included within their standard processes. This is a final step of quality management which ensures that your translation is complete and correct.
So, should you work with freelance translators, small or large-scale companies or with the huge global players? Actually size does not matter. The most important thing is that the partnership works out and you get good quality and good service for your money.