TIPS AND GENERAL INFORMATION ON SELECTING A TRANSLATION FIRM/ TRANSLATORS FOR YOUR TRANSLATION PROJECTS
In the 90-ies, we witness of many free trade agreements being signed between different countries of the world allowing enormous development of exports and imports. Many large companies are making some incredible profits on the international market. And what about new or small or mid size companies who are just beginning to export their products or services into other countries?
If you are representing a business, which is ready to export to other countries, it can be to your advantage to get as much necessary or useful information as possible to simplify the path towards realization of your project. Most of such helpful information can be obtained from the Embassy or a Consulate of the country of interest. The next step is to conduct feasibility studies in order to get an idea of how popular your product or service may be in this particular country or its region. You should also consider the fact that some selling tactics or marketing ideas that work well in your home country are not always as successful in other countries. Not only that, but you also need to find out whether your product or service meets the needs of your target region. This may involve changing or modifying your advertising materials to make the message more appealing to your new consumers abroad. We all know that even if you sell the best products or offer the best services in the world but do not advertise them properly, you are unintentionally giving your exporting or importing project a very good chance to fail. So how do you choose a translator whom you can trust to insure that your products or services are presented to the consumer in the most efficient and attractive way?
THERE ARE SEVERAL TIPS ON HOW TO DO THAT
Once you start looking for a translator, you discover all kinds wonderful offers for a wide range of prices. You, of course, expect a quality service. Unfortunately, you are probably not fluent enough in this particular language to verify the quality of the translation. As your project may require a translator for a fairly long time, it is well worth your time to do some shopping around and fully consider all the offers. A better alternative to just randomly picking out one from the list is trying to learn a little about a candidate's professional background. This may involve not only talking to the translator or the Translation Company, but also getting a reference from one of their customers so that later you will not have to learn the hard way. What you ideally need is not just an ordinary translator-employee, but also a consultant:
- Whose credentials you find to be suitable for working on your project (take into account his/her experience and references).
- Who is willing to work together with your importing or exporting team to achieve your goal.
- Who will take a personal interest in studying your needs and use his/her credentials to satisfy them.
- Who is familiar with the culture, mentality and type of the consumers in your target area.
- Who can suggest on how to structure your advertising material in a way that suits the consumer's mentality in the region where you want to sell your products or services. (You may experience some difficulties with your image and you may be wondering why you are having very hard time selling your products or services as it happened before with many large companies. For more information click here.)
- Who is using new technology and commonly used software, preferably have an e-mail address. This can help you save a lot of time and money on your communication expenditures and make the correcting and/or printing work easy.
- Who is available to undertake any project (no matter how large or small it may be) and to assure that it can be done on time. If your project is fairly large and timing very important, it is best to deal with a company rather than a private individual. A prospective company should be able to offer you extra assistance in case you are not satisfied with the translator they gave you initially or if you feel that completion of your project requires more than one person.
- Who will keep all of the information confidential and will not disclose it to anyone as well as follow the Translators Code of Ethics or have at least some type of guidelines for its translators. (Please click here to find more information).
HERE ARE SOME PITFALLS TO AVOID
- Before the translator or the translation company you have chosen undertakes any translation project, make sure that you obtain a guaranteed estimate. In most instances, a translation company will charge you based on the amount of words in the language into which the text is translated. Since in most cases the total number of words in the language into which the text is being translated exceeds the amount of words in the original text (and in some instances, the difference in the number of words between each one of the texts may be equivalent to 1.5 times), you may later find that your price will be higher than you expected. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask for a guaranteed estimate before any work is initiated. By signing a guaranteed estimate, the translation company cannot charge you more than you were quoted originally (not including applicable taxes and other charges such as a long distance or photocopying) regardless of whether the translation company has made or lost money. As a client, would you not prefer to receive a higher estimate and then get a smaller bill, rather than be unpleasantly surprised with a bill for twice the amount expected. You do not want this kind of trouble, especially if you happen to be a purchasing agent of a company with a fixed communication allowance. Furthermore, you may also be "ripped off" when the total number of words is calculated. Therefore it is wise to agree on and mention in the contract the computer program that will be used to calculate total number of words. From our own experience we have found that different computer programs are producing different calculations of the total number of words in the same text.
- When signing the contract, watch for any hidden charges. Some translation companies will sign the contract with you only for the translation services. Data entry of the translated information may not be included in your contract and may later be considered as an extra charge on top of translation. Furthermore, please also make sure that the cost of revision of the translated text is also included in the translation contract. In other words make sure that your translated text will be in the ready form when you receive it.
- Make sure that your translation company is using the software, which is compatible with the software used by your company and that it can be transmitted by e-mail if necessary.
- Ask for specific references, since there are many so-called translators who make false claims such as saying that they can meet your needs or that they have previously done some specific translations where in reality, they have never done such work.
- Make sure that the translation company stands behind its work, and when translation of legal documents is being done, they have the necessary expertise and/or authority to certify your translation and guarantee that it is true and correct in all material respects. In other words, your translator should be transferring messages and meanings of your text, rather than translating the text word by word. This becomes critical when a translation of legal agreements, legal documents or manuals is done. This also is very important when you translating legal terminology such as any provincial or regional legislation, as every country in the world has its own set of legal terms and some of them may not correspond or do not have an equivalent of each other. In these cases a legal advice on such issues will be needed.
- Always leave the name of the person whom the translator can consult in the event any difficulties arise or if any other explanations are needed. Also discuss who will cover your long distance or other communication expenses.
- Always set a deadline with the translation company and discuss any hidden fees they may want to charge you in case if you need your translation to be done earlier than expected. Some translation companies may refuse to perform the work if emergency situations arise and some may charge you double if you need the translation earlier than expected. This issue must be discussed in the translation contract.
- Please also be realistic when ordering translation services. Remember that there are only 24 hours in a day and during a busy season you may not get your translation done on time. In most instances your request for cost estimate(s) is processed as soon as possible. It is important to consider the time zones and holidays as well. All of these can make a difference in the time frame required for the translator to fulfill your expectation and providing you with the quality service.
- It is also important to discuss a retainer fee, terms of payment, interest, and service and financing charges. These may vary depending on the translation company. Invoices for translation services are considered to be intangible assets as translations cannot be repossessed or resold and therefore some translation companies may ask to pay full amount before any work can be initiated, especially if you are hiring a translation company in another country. Usually when negotiating large translation projects valued over $5000.00 it is normal for the translation company to ask that 1/3 of the total value of the project be paid before any work is initiated. The rest of the amount can be paid while work is in the process of completion. Other charges such as a long distance can be arranged to be added onto the final bill after the work has been completed. Some companies may ask you for a credit card authorization before any work is initiated. You should also consider the consequences thereof.
- Always raise any concerns you may have before the final payment is issued. Make sure that you are getting your money's worth and the translation company lives up to its promises. Discuss situations such as non-performance issues, price reductions or compensation in the event the translation is not delivered on time. Ask your translation company to define the issue of "force majeure situations" (otherwise know as the situation beyond your or your translation company control). These include without limitation: strikes, natural disasters, communication problems, riots, wars (declared of undeclared) power failure, etc. In some instances where these situations arise, even though you have not received your translation on time, you may be asked to pay your bill in full.
- If you are working on a multilingual project, use a translation company that is in the position to assure that all your needs are met under "one roof". For example, if you need to have a legal document translated and certified by a notary public, commissioner for oaths or a lawyer, it may be more convenient to choose a translation company that can undertake the responsibility of translating and certifying it at the same time. Getting everything done in one place can loosen up your busy schedule. Most companies should be in the position to offer this service.
After all, you are the customer who is expecting high quality translation services and you are paying for it. So make sure that you get the best value for the money spent. Choose the translation company that makes the client's satisfaction its top priority.