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When to start outsourcing translations

mar 02

With cheap airlines, online gaming, social networks and music videos everywhere, practically everyone can communicate in international English now. Having free online translations and hover over phone translation apps makes us feel we can do it all in one click. Just like we can all make artistic pictures with our tiny phone cameras. Who would need a DSLR anymore? So when would be the situation that a smart company should outsource its translations?

All our staff speak foreign languages

Perfect, this was probably one of the hiring criteria but do you really pay for experienced professionals to proofread and translate large files? Even if your company could afford hiring a whole department of skilled translators, there are only few businesses that would actually need it and make smart use of their time. So, just as you rent a van to relocate the office or call a professional maintenance service to maintain your venues, you could use specialists to have your international website finally translated, your product descriptions localised and your contracts usable for foreign markets.

We use highly specialised vocabulary no-one else knows

Yes, you noticed how absurd this title itself sounds. Because there is no-one else on the market, except those couple of dozen competitors and hundreds of their suppliers. Unless you operate in some really innovative niche or in some dying industry, you are less special then you think and there are people that can help you. Open up and maybe learn something from the others because, if you really deliver superior customer value, no-one can really copy you.

We can have this done much cheaper

Sure you can. Just like with any other service where you provide suppliers handling, quality assurance and deadline control yourself. However, if you really want to cut costs you will be better off with a larger agency that makes a global profit even of small margins rather than a single specialist that would like to make as much as possible on the single client. Last but not least, you probably have serious documents to translate like contracts and confidential product materials – in the worst case scenario a professional business partner is always better to deal with than some my-friend’s-son-can-do-it supplier. Just like buying an insurance policy – the cheaper you go, the more you will pay later.

Are you ready yet?

Maybe you wanted to get your documents translated ages ago but never made time? That’s fine – choosing a right supplier is a work on its own. First, have your content ready and in order. This employee of yours that you thought could be translating things for you – make him/her rather put the stuff to translate up to date and in the right folders, do the internal consulting with all departments as to whether the website, product description and whatever you’re planning to translate is as you want it. When you feel you are ready, find someone who has a proven business record. Someone that not only claims the year they started or puts fancy customers’ logos on the website but can provide written references, hires the actual staff in a physical office and, most importantly, specialises in translation and not other areas like language teaching or business training. In short, you should feel as confident with your choice as with a car dealership or a restaurant for your family dinner.

(SW)

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