25 09 2014
Guide to selecting translation service
A common perception among many clients is they are paying more for translation services which varies anywhere between 0.75paise per word to 5.00 per word and the price can be negotiated. High does not ensure high quality.
Once when I was faced with the task of selecting a Japanese translator for website translation, my client indicated that they know someone who has just completed a certificate programme in Japanese language and is willing to take the assignment of translating the website from English to Japanese at a nominal translation cost of Rs1.00 per word. I had to refuse the project, despite the fact that my company will get the project management fees. The reason for refusing is because, I am aware that the project of Website translation is not simply translation of words and sentence in the desired language.
As your website is your interface with the target audience, you need to give careful consideration to translation quality.Here is a general guide to select translation services.
Option 1: Give translation task to a friend or relative who happens to know and studied the target language.
The Benefit: Low cost
Limitations: Speaking a foreign language does not qualify a person to become a translator. There will not be a Linguistic review and Quality Analysis.Limited capacity to understand regional variations and misunderstanding of the source word context etc will lead to poor quality.
End Result: You will only get what you pay for.
Option 2: Give translation task to an employee who speaks both the source and the target language.
The Benefit:Practical experience in the subject manager is an advantage as he is an in-house employee and knows the subject matter. Low Cost
Limitations: Consistency and quality cannot be assured. Timelines will go haywire. Mistakes will happen and the translation will have to proof read resulting in very often with complete revision of translation job all afresh.
End Result: Embarrassing result which will be known only after release of the translated matter and by which time damage is done.
Option 3: Giving the translation task to Importers or Overseas distributors or the branch offices.
The Benefit: The cost of translation is either treated as branch office cost or treated as part of overall sales management cost. Responsibility is shifted and no translation cost for any marketing collateral’s by head office.
Limitations:No control over communication in overseas market. No control over brand guidelines, schedule of marketing activity, terminology, brand identity, linguistics checks. It is difficult to ensure if mandatory are followed.
End Result:Complete decentralization is a complete chaos.
Option 4: Online Machine translation
The Benefit: Free with humorous results
Limitations:You will get gist of the matter which is not good for publication. The time to edit machine translation will be more than translation time for the entire document.
End Result:An attractive proposition which always ends with confusing results and redoing the project all over engaging human translation.
Option 5: Individual freelance translator
The Benefit: Independent contractor specializing in single language are good for small project and it is easy to coordinate directly for such task. Quick turnaround time and lower cost option.
Limitations: You will have to spend time on project coordination and further check not only translation quality with another professional but also see that proper resources of freelance writers are generated. Freelance translators may not have translation memory tools and DTP facility for production. Freelance translators promise meeting all deadlines and if another projects come in the way, you don’t have control on his time.
End Result:Good for small one off project. It is always better to have freelance translators who are evaluated and taken on Panel so that urgent small project where multiple language consistency or campaigns are not involved.
Option 6: Multiple language translation service provider
The Benefit: Entering into a contract and partnering with them ensures all your global communication tasks are at one place and there will localization effort with translation. Your translation is as good as original for the target audience
Limitations:The process cannot be skipped even for small projects. The quality adherence and the project coordination methods are the same for small and big projects.
End Result: Good for multi lingual communication and campaigns on a global scale. Large resource and multi-media facility is an advantage. Quality, Consistency, deadline are all ensured and very often value added services are a bonus.
Shakti Enterprise is a full-fledged translation services provider and engages with native professional writers and industry experts to meet multi lingual localization across print, audio and web.