So, you have some engaging literature to promote your latest product or service, you’ve done your market research and you are poised to launch into a new and lucrative market.
The only problem? You need to make sure the copy is translated effectively to ensure not only accuracy of message but also a consistent brand voice. The last thing you want to do when moving into a new and challenging market is to offend or confuse your target audience.
With over 27,000 registered language service providers (LSPs) to choose from, there are clearly a number of options open to companies, but the only right decision is to hire an established localization firm with a proven track record of success in your chosen languages. Going down this route mitigates the risks associated with taking such activities in-house using ‘available’ staff, hiring freelancers or worse still, using part-time students.
Bearing this in mind, what services can you expect from your translation and localization provider?
Time to market
Getting your product to market out ahead of your competitors can be the difference between success and failure. However, many companies overlook the benefits that a localization firm can bring to the table, after all, to some ‘localization’ is just glorified ‘translation’. But they’re wrong! Amongst many other things, localization providers will be able to develop and utilize translation memory (TM), which is a linguistic database that stores previously translated work in order to aid human translators. This workable database will host a series of language pairs, such as English:Thai or English:Vietnamese. The main benefits of a TM are that they reduce costs while at the same time ensuring consistency. Best of all, by speeding up the whole translation process, firms can release their product to market faster.
Money is nearly always one of the deciding factors when it comes to any business decision. Being offered the same level of service at a cheaper rate is obviously quite enticing. But, while smaller agencies may seem less expensive at the beginning, the use of specialized tools by established companies to improve productivity over time means this is not actually the case over the medium to long term. Being able to reuse previously translated phrases and words makes the whole process less resource intensive and faster, which in turn reduces costs. EQHO has helped a number of companies to reduce their spending. For example, between 2008 and 2012, we helped Aptara Corp to average savings of nearly twenty percent across some of their multilingual eLearning courses, while Acronis Inc. was able to save tens of thousands of dollars by following our translation technology recommendations.
Sector-specific translation often requires a great deal of knowledge. For example, technology and pharmaceutical firms will require highly specialized linguists with an in-depth understanding of the subject matter if they are to stand any chance of translating the content accurately while also following industry specific terminology. However, it can be hard for companies to find people with the appropriate skill set. This is where professional localization companies prevail. Established firms with specific industry focus will have a host of in-house and in-country linguists with a distinct list of subject matter competencies, ranging from software and IT to the latest in cutting-edge biotechnology.
Project management and security
Your company is unlikely to be experienced in managing translation projects and so choosing a long-term partner that can guarantee a high-quality service is vital. The use of detailed customer management processes, tools and infrastructure mean projects should run smoothly and be delivered on time and on or under budget. Mature firms will be able to offer a turnkey service, regardless of what the project entails. Another element to consider is the issue of security, as a professional vendor will have non-disclosure agreements, secure networks, firewalls and back-up systems. This not only ensures the safety of intellectual property, but also means your confidential information will not be made public.
At mature firms such as EQHO, strict ISO certified best-practice processes are followed (including multi-step translation and editing processes) to make sure all content produced is of the highest quality. This may not always be the case at smaller firms, which could potentially jeopardize a foreign launch by leaving you exposed through critical translation errors.