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Who Will Translate Your Company’s Messages?

By Rebecca Canan

message managementThis is the second in a two-part series about corporate translation services.  This post offers insight into how communicators are assessing translation vendors to ensure a good fit with company needs. The first post outlined the primary options for translation services (e.g., in-house, free lancer, vendor, etc).

If you’re like other CEC members, you opened up a phone book (or more likely, did a quick Google search) to identify a company that could translate your organization’s communications.   However, due to global expansion in new markets, you may be facing increased (and quicker) demands for translated company content.  How can you ensure that you’re partnering with the best vendor for your needs?  One of your peers recently asked a question in a CEC discussion forum, requesting advice on translation services.  Aside from assessing a vendor’s language capabilities and costs, here are other factors your peers recommend considering:

Criteria in Selecting a Translation Provider

1) Technological capabilities – Depending on the complexity of your translation needs, consider whether you need the following:

  • Translation memory - Translation memory software stores and reuses the translation of certain words, expressions, and terms, resulting in faster translations, greater efficiency, and increased consistency.  Does the company offer translation memory or partner with another group who does?  Will you get to keep the stored translations if you ever discontinue your relationship with the vendor?
  • Online platform - An online platform makes it easier to submit projects and enables geographically dispersed employees to access and review the translated materials.  Will you want local employees to help edit content before it’s distributed?

2) Ability to work with multiple file formats – Make sure your translation provider accepts files in a variety of formats such as html, .xls, .doc, .jpeg, flash, etc.  Also ensure they can translate the material back into a variety of formats.

3) Quality of the account manager – Get a good idea of who your day-to-day contact will be at the translation company.  Does he/she know your work?  Your expectations?  Will he/she be proactive about keeping you informed?

4) Global reach - Think through whether you want the same preferred vendor for multiple markets.  Especially if you are relying on translation memory, ask whether your provider has a presence in other regions where you want translations.

5) Training / on-boarding offerings – Does the translation vendor offer training in its online tools and processes?  Will they work with you upfront to develop a glossary of commonly used terms and a style guide?

And finally, a few translation vendor names popped up in the discussion.  Although we don’t endorse any specific firm, here are the ones used by your peers:

Hope this helps!

Related CEC Resources:

  1. Translation Vendor Assessment Questionnaire
  2. Translation Vendor Non-Disclosure Agreement

Comments from the Network (2)

  1. CEC Insider » Managing a Truly GLOBAL Communications Function
    on April 14, 2011

    [...] Who Will Translate Your Companies’ Messages? [...]

  2. CEC Insider » How to End the Company-Wide Inbox Blitz
    on November 3, 2011

    [...] Who Will Translate Your Company’s Messages? [...]

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