How to Source Translation Services for Business

March 23, 2021by Alex Owen-Hill
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You need to source translation services for your business… but how do you find a good provider?

Searching through the different translation services can get overwhelming very quickly.

How can you tell if a particular provider will be right for your business?

Although sourcing translation services can be difficult, there is an easier path. You just need to learn what to look for in a provider.

How most people source translation services for business

Many businesses source translation services too late in their content creation process.

They have content that they need translated… right now!

Why do businesses get themselves in this situation?

Because most people think of translation as an add-on activity that happens after the creation of the source content. This is a very common misconception.

In reality, translation is part of a larger process of “content localization.” You should start considering translation before your source content is created… but you need to plan your localization process long before the source content is ever created.

By waiting until the end of the process to find translation services, businesses set themselves up for failure right out of the gate. As procurement specialists explain, nobody makes good decisions when they are under pressure.

You end up rushing to find a provider that promises fast turnaround times at a low cost. But, this can be a recipe for disaster. With some providers, the translations take much longer than the provider anticipated and even go over budget.

If you find yourself in this position right now, don’t worry. It’s not too late to make a change that will help you in the long run.

You just need to start looking for the right type of translation service for your business.

 

The 2 types of translation services (and which is best)

When you’re searching for translation services, it can be difficult to determine the differences between the various suppliers.

How can you tell if one provider will be better for your business than another?

You can think about there being 2 types of translation services provider:

1. Providers who just translate your content

The vast majority of translation services are provided on a “per job” basis. You submit your content to the provider, they translate it… and there your relationship ends.

The provider gives you little more than a service to translate your content into another language.

Such services are well-suited to small, basic, one-off translation jobs. For example, if your cousin wanted to translate the order-of-service for their bilingual wedding into Spanish.

2. Providers who strategically improve your business

When you work for a large global business, you need more from your translation services provider.

The type of translation services provider that is suitable for a business like yours works closely with you over time to strategically improve your global reach.

Such providers will help you to hone your global content strategy, streamline your translation process, and reduce the cost of translations. Their ongoing professional relationship with you is more important for them than quick, one-off jobs.

This type of translation services provider is rarer.

You need to know what you are looking for in a provider to ensure that you will get the right translation services for your business.

Finding the right translation services for your business

What should you be looking for to ensure that the translation services you are considering are the right choice for you and your business?

The process for sourcing translation services doesn’t need to be complex. But, it does need to be targeted.

Here are some factors you can think about in your search for the right translation services for your business.

Consider your global content strategy

Everything starts with your global content strategy.

There are several benefits when your translation services are aligned with your global strategy including:

  • Increased global outreach
  • Lower publishing costs
  • Shorter product release timelines
  • Fewer linguistic review rounds
  • Improver ROI of translations

This is a good place to start your search because you are looking for a translation services provider that will help you to develop and improve your global content strategy.

Identify translation services providers

There are many options for translation services available in the market. As a result, the search for a new provider can be quite overwhelming!

Identify which qualities are most important to your business and use these as a filter to narrow down your choices (you can find a list of reliable qualities here).

Ensure providers can handle your business

One of the key qualities that you should look for in a translation services provider is that they can handle the needs of your specific business.

While almost all providers will claim they can meet your needs, only some will truly be able to. As we said above, only one of the two types of providers is likely to be right for your business. Only consider those providers that specialize in international businesses like yours.

Look for credible signs of reliability

How can you tell that a translation services provider will be reliable?

It can be surprisingly difficult to tell upfront. Providers often throw around statistics about “number of languages”, “price per word”, and “number of industries.” While these may be relevant, they can often be a smokescreen, obscuring more important signs of provider reliability.

For more details on signs of reliability, check out our article 2 Reliable Marks of a Trustworthy Translation Provider.

Ask the right questions

The secret to sourcing the right translation services for your business is really in asking the right questions.

Most people in your position are not (yet) familiar with the process of sourcing translation services. As a result, they don’t know which questions to ask to discover if a particular provider will really be able to meet their business needs.

You can find a list of good questions to ask prospective providers here.

The buyer’s guide to translation services

Do you want even more guidance on how to source reliable translation services for business?

We have distilled some of our best sourcing tips into a buyer’s guide titled How to Find the Right Translation Provider for You.

Download a copy of the eBook by clicking this button:

Download the guide

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Alex Owen-Hill

Alex Owen-Hill helps passion-led companies to communicate more effectively and authentically with their audiences. He has over 10 years of experience in targeted content writing for specialist audiences in a wide range of topics, including science, robotics, presentation skills, storytelling, and language learning. Through his business, CreateClarifyArticulate he empowers companies to communicate with more impact in their presentations and online content.

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