When Your Product Needs a Translator

The world today is becoming evermore globalized and internationalized. As companies grow and look for expansion and growth opportunities elsewhere, they inevitably need to enter international markets.

In order to have the right competitive edge to enter these markets, the products and services of companies need to be suitable for their target market. To do this, companies will often turn to a Translation Agency for assistance with the translation and localization of products.

As this is often an investment, you will need to find the right translation agency to work with. However, with so many different options, finding a language partner is not as simple as a quick Google search.

So what should you take into consideration when looking for a translation partner?pablo (1)

Looking Beyond the Logo

Some agencies have very glossy logos and websites. Just like we’re told never to judge a book by its cover, judging a company by its branding can be dangerous. We love a nice website, but its the facts that really matter.

One industry standard is that you always translate and localize into your native tongue and culture. Are the translators being used native speakers of their language? This is an important factor that cannot be overlooked.

What’s more, are the translators located in the country where the language is spoken or are they all based in the same room in the translation agency? It sounds like an odd question but if your service is culture dependent, then it’s often easier if a translator is based in that country and is up to date with all the latest local trends.

It’s also important that your agency meets your niche. General translation agencies are excellent at high level documentation and immigration documents, official certifications, etc. But if you’re a MedTech company, you want a partner who knows about MedTech. Look beyond the words on their branding, and seek out the facts.

Ask about

So, you’ve found an agency you’re considering using. But how do you know if they’re any good?

First of all, try to find out if anyone you know has used them before. They will be able to give you some first hand experience of working with the agency. Alternatively, turn to the company’s website and see if you can find any examples of previous work, such as a portfolio or testimonials. Ultimately, you could always contact the company and say you wish to be put in contact with a previous client in order to get a reference.

This sort of information will prove particularly useful when deciding whether to work with the agency or not. What’s particularly important to take into consideration are the following:

  • Areas of specialization
  • Past experiences
  • Turn around times
  • Measures in place to ensure quality
  • Any post-translation Quality Assurance (such as proofreading or testing)

The Go-To Person

Translating your product might be a massive job involving tens of translators all working to make your product ready for the various international markets you are going to enter. As a result, you will need someone who will be able to oversee this entire process, no matter which language is being dealt with. This person is known as the Project Manager.

When you are choosing your translation partner, find out if they assign project managers to projects, no matter how big or small they may be. There are many agencies today who automate the whole process and, while that may work for your project, it won’t be suitable for all. Find out if you have a specific point of contact before making your decision.

If you do require a project manager, in an ideal world, the translation agency would provide you with the same project manager for every localization job you need, so that they can become familiar with your product and know what you expect. However, this might not be possible for practical reasons or if significant time has passed. In which case, make sure your agency has a good hand over process so if one project manager no longer can work on your project, they’ve briefed their colleagues well.

Why Them and Not Someone Else? 

When you finally choose the Translation Agency you’re going to work with, you need to be sure you’re choosing the right people. Ask yourself: Why are we going with agency A and not with agency B?

Two of the primary concerns of our clients are quality and speed. They want high quality translations, as fast as possible. These may not be your two priorities so whatever they are you need to make sure that the agency you work with aligns with them.

We recognise that in the end this is going to come down largely to intuition based on many different factors. Recommendations, references, capabilities, speed of communication. All these factors will eventually determine who you choose.


Anthony Ash

A lover of language, Anthony speaks several and is particularly interested in historical linguistics. With an MA in Linguistics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, he is our Chief Language Expert and Director of Training.

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