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Choosing a Language Service Provider is Easy with These 5 Asks

The first BIG “ask” sounds something like this: “We’re expanding into [another country] so we need a translator.”

The “ask” could be a directive from your CEO, based on corporate strategy and a plan, or an offhand comment from your marketing manager at the weekly meeting (based on the CEO’s plan). Or maybe it’s you, just you, with the thought that there are billions of people in the world that aren’t finding me, or my stuff, simply because we don’t speak the same language and I don’t translate my website, or my sales collateral, or my product safety information.

You may then run a document through Google Translate or ChatGPT a few times, with no guarantee that it’s a proper translation (and honestly, with little idea as to what it even says!). And then you ask friends or colleagues if they “know someone,” as if translation and interpretation skills are a given for anyone that speaks another language.

AI-driven translation debuted in early 2023. Read about its early benefits and dangers, and the future of the technology within the industry, here: AI and Language Services: Will AI Translation Eliminate the Need for Human Translators?

No matter the scenario, getting it done right – and done right the FIRST time – means finding a language services agency that will work with you as a true PARTNER. Words convey your message, in your “voice”; that message is inherently personal because it’s the substance of why you do what you do, sell what you sell, promote what you promote. With that in mind, look for an agency you can TRUST, first and foremost.

questions and solutionsACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS – the Key to Finding the Right Translation Agency

In business, oftentimes trust is earned, and a high-quality language services provider will welcome all the questions! Please ask us for customer referrals, testimonials, and industry-specific case studies. Ask after interpreter/translator and project manager training and management processes, how the agency deals with unexpected changes to a project, challenging projects and their outcomes. For a comprehensive list of questions to ask, check out our blog: 50 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Translation Company.

Any reputable language services agency will start with an in-depth consultation and provide honest, transparent feedback on what your project truly requires. Again, it’s a partnership so business and agency succeed in tandem – it’s more like marriage than speed dating.

Learn how to get started in Global Marketing by taking this FREE email mini course - click for more details.

ASKED AND ANSWERED – What to Look for in Translation Services

The next four vital "asks" are all yours, and should focus on:

Service Offerings. Consider the range of services offered in light of your project requirements. Every project with a business implication requires a high-quality agency, no matter the word count – it’s your brand at stake and a single slip-up could lead to months of recovery. Look for the following as standard offerings – translation, interpretation, localization, globalization, and transcreation – then add specific requirements from there. Are you an “accidental exporter,” with sales from abroad? Does your business require a multilingual marketing specialist? Multilingual content creation and social media services? Translation management strategies? Can they handle your media – print, digital, website, subtitles? A high-quality agency can confirm its experience in any realm and start you on the right track.

Expertise and Experience: It’s a given – look for a provider with experience in your industry and in the specific language(s) you need. You want a provider with a deep understanding of your business, your target audience, and your communication goals, as well as the empathy and cultural understanding required for doing business across borders and cultures.

Also look for these specific skills when evaluating an agency’s translators, interpreters, and project managers:

Interpreters

  • Heightened listening and memory skills.

  • A knack for reading the cues that align timing and physical orientation between speakers and interpretation.

  • Cultural competency, to pick up and decipher nonverbal cues and customs.

  • Objectivity; the ability to remain neutral while conveying the speaker’s emotions.

  • Advanced, current knowledge of terminology, expressions, and idioms.

Translators

  • Advanced, current knowledge of terminology, expressions, and idioms in both source and translated languages.

  • Strong writing skills.

  • Extensive cultural experience and knowledge.

  • Sound research skills and a consistent review process.

  • Willingness to use translation technologies that work: foreign language desktop publishing, translation memory software, cloud-based translation platforms, or audio and video transcription tools, for example.

  • Self-motivation and organization.

Project Managers

  • Honest, transparent evaluation of project requirements.

  • Expertise in using localization and globalization services within your target market, with cultural integrity.

  • Effective, clear communication skills, especially around project goals, timelines, and deliverables both to you the client and with internal team members.

  • Attention to detail, including a consistent and reliable review process.

  • The ability to pivot quickly and adapt to changes in project scope, timeline, or budget.

  • The ability to identify potential risks that may arise – technical issues or cultural missteps, for example – with tested strategies and discrete plans to mitigate liability.

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Quality and Accuracy: High-quality language services providers have a rigorous quality assurance process in place, including rounds of editing and proofreading by native speakers. Accuracy is crucial to avoid miscommunication, which can lead to costly mistakes. We also help you help yourself, with advice on proofing a translation when you don’t speak the language and how to identify a high-quality translation.

Customer Service: Last and certainly not least, consider the level of customer service the provider offers. A good language services provider should be responsive, transparent, and proactive in addressing any concerns or issues. Look for a provider that is easy to work with and values clear communication throughout the process.

SPEAKING OUR TRUTH – The Ultimate Benefit of Translation

In a perfect world, the best scenario would no doubt be the one in which you PLAN FOR LANGUAGE TRANSLATION FROM THE START. Use your language services partner to inspire and revitalize your corporate strategy; challenge your marketing team to take the company global; send your sales team on trade missions and conferences hosted by international organizations. There are myriad resources available for companies that LEAD with a global conscience. We’re all on the same path toward an increasingly diverse and savvy new world market – committing to translation means a commitment to that cultural diversity, and a commitment to your business success.

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Rapport International specializes in multilingual communications, providing language translation and interpretation services that are accurate and culturally appropriate. We use the right voice and the correct terminology to avoid liability, customize services to your needs, and deliver on time and within your budget. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can trust that it’s done right. Contact us today if you would like more information or to get a free quote.

Categories: Project Planning & Management, Problems & Solutions, Quality

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