For successful translation cooperation, both the client and the language service provider (LSP) need to be prepared to give their best to meet the requirements of the other side. While it is true that in most cases the client chooses the company to translate their project, the company also has the right to ask a potential client a few questions in order to determine whether their future cooperation is possible.
Basically, in order to have a well-translated text at the end, there are three main elements – careful planning of the original document, choosing the right LSP, and getting to know the client on behalf of the translation company.
Plan your translation project
Many clients do not realize that they do play a significant role in the translation process. In order to receive high-quality service and immaculately translated text, you need to plan your translation project in advance. Make sure to determine the following elements of your text prior to its translation:
- Determine your target audience. It is very important to define the audience that is going to read your text. Is it targeting industry experts or the general public? Are you preparing a company training that needs to be efficiently localized or you are drafting new types of contracts for your partners? When the translator knows who your target audience is, it will make their work easier in choosing the appropriate language for the translation.
- Determine the exact language combination. Are you going to have the text translated to just one language or to several? Is the translation to all of the languages going to be done simultaneously? Also make sure to determine if you need the UK or US spelling for your English version, for example.
- Set the tone of the document. Based on the target audience, you can also set a specific tone for your document. It may be more specialized and full of terms or rather easygoing. In any case, try to avoid phrases and sentences that sound ambiguous.
- Prepare a glossary for the translator. It will be of great help if you provide your LSP with a list of the industry-specific terms, abbreviations, and acronyms that you have used in your document. Make sure to include any specific brand names and/or slogans as well.
- Proofread your text. Once you have drafted the document, make sure to proofread it and make any final corrections prior to sending it for translation. Always send the last version of a text to the LSP – this will guarantee a much smoother and faster translation process.
- Set a deadline for the translation. It is important to set a realistic deadline for the translation. The best way to do that is to discuss it with your LSP. Tell them when you need the text translated and negotiate a deadline that meets both your needs and provides sufficient time for a high-quality translation.
Choose your LSP carefully
When you are planning a translation, it is crucial to select the best language service provider. There are certain questions that you need to ask in order to make sure that the company you have selected will be able to provide the translation service you are looking for. Here are some of the most important elements that you need to look for when choosing your LSP:
- Experience in your industry – it will be of great advantage if the LSP you have selected has already done translations of the industry-related text and the translators are familiar with the specific jargon. This will guarantee higher quality and possibly quicker service.
- Suitable language combination – does the LSP provide all the languages in which you would like your text translated? It is much easier to work with one provider rather than split between several.
- Range of services offered – check whether the company offers a wide range of services – document translation, website translation, desktop publishing, and interpretation. Thus, you will be able to use them for other projects as well.
- Quality management – check what kind of Quality Assurance control the company exercises throughout the entire translation process. Ask if they have specific QA software.
- Flexibility – check out if the LSP is ready to negotiate prices and how flexible their working time is – are they open during holidays, what is their workload during the busy season, etc.
- CAT tool – it is important to know what are the CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools the LSP uses so that you can check whether they will meet your project requirements. See if the company is willing to use a different CAT tool if need be.
These are just a few important factors that you need to consider when looking for the LSP for your next translation project. You can also request details about the qualification of the project managers and/or the translators that you are going to work with.
Get to know the client
As a language service provider, you try to attract new clients and keep the ones you have happy with your services. In order to determine whether your cooperation with a prospective client will be successful, you can ask them a few questions. It is important to determine the nature of their business and the industry that they work in. If you have experience with translation in this field this could be a great plus for both sides. Make sure that the client is happy to work with you in case you have no previous experience with their industry. Ask about details such as the languages they need, whether they have preferences for the CAT tools you use or the number of translators that can work on a given project. It is also important to know whether a deadline can be negotiated if need be and under what circumstances. Ask if they have worked with another LSP and what made them leave – this will give you an idea of what you should avoid or what to expect as requirements.
As the translation process involves the active participation of the client and the LSP it is important that both sides are comfortable working with one another. Being honest and open about what you need and what you can provide is a key factor for the successful realization of the translation project. Keeping all communication channels open is a must so that all issues can be resolved in a timely manner.