The Verdict: Translation Quality Matters

Emanuel Longo | February 3, 2015

qualityAs you research how to proceed with your translation needs, three variables will likely shape your decision: cost, speed, and quality. If you place higher value on any one variable, it may be at the expense of the others. Producing a translation with an accelerated delivery time will often incur “rush fees” but can also jeopardize overall quality. Conversely, a translation completed within a standard turn-around time will probably cost less, and will likely produce higher-quality results.

The Dilemma

Translation buyers are often pressured to prioritize cost over speed and quality. However, this approach can prove even more costly in the long run. Logically, the less expensive a service or product, the lower the level of its quality. Surely this won’t come as any surprise: translation services are no different.

With translation, it’s better to get it right the first time around, than to discover issues once everything has already been published or widely-distributed. At that point, it may be too late to repair the damage. A company that publishes translated content with errors and bugs could risk hurting their reputation or brand, and could miss out on potential global customers. If you are entering new international markets, your prospective clients will absolutely expect you to be serious about providing high-quality content for their local needs.

The Solution

The ultimate goal of translation and localization is to deliver highly accurate and effective communication into different languages, intended for specific countries, regions or groups. While even the most seasoned linguists can make mistakes, the more serious issues stem from poor translation standards. Those Language Service Providers (LSPs) that adhere to strict quality standards often have slightly higher costs. This means you may have to pay a bit more for the assurance that your translations will be linguistically sound, culturally adapted, and also true to their source.

However, sometimes paying more simply isn’t possible. Your budget is tight and may not allow for anything extra. Here are a few tips for procuring quality translations on a tighter budget:

  • Look into a high-quality, experienced LSP and request a quote. Don’t assume the most impressive-looking company will be beyond your budget; many affordable LSPs provide exceptional value because they’ve streamlined their processes, and have eliminated inefficient or unnecessary steps. This means they won’t needlessly overcharge and you can trust that you will get what you pay for.
  • Ask your LSP about their linguist vetting process. What type of qualifications and experience do the translators and reviewers have? Are there specific certification, education or training requirements? Do they have to pass translation tests? Once you understand the LSP’s own quality expectations, you can make a more informed decision – one that aligns with your needs!
  • Don’t rush the project unless absolutely necessary. Plan ahead and coordinate with your LSP so they can thoroughly adhere to their established process. A reasonable timeline makes everyone happy – starting with your dedicated Project Manager, to the translators and reviewers, and all the way to the Design and Quality Assurance teams!

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