You have spent a lot of time designing your web site, your documents, your brochure and now you realize that you need to have all those translated in a foreign language such as French, Spanish etc. When you start your search, you will become quickly overwhelmed by the task in front of you. Google alone will give you 3,660,000 hits under translation company or 2,920,000 under translation companies so you decide to narrow it down by being more specific and choosing your target language and to your surprise the list does not seem to shrink. In fact it is about the same than before. Under French translation services, you still get a 3,010,000 hit and under Spanish translation services, Google returns you 2,890,000 results.
Chances are that you do not have time to go down the list one by one and compare them with each other. You might be even thinking that all agencies are the same and after all who is going to know the difference. First of all, not all agencies are the same, and for the second part, your customers from that targeted country will know immediately if the job was done by a professional or not. This means that if the job was done poorly, instead on gaining customers, you will lose more than you can imagine. Think about the following, would you choose your lawyer or accountant blindly without asking questions. Of course not! How about your surgeon? Again, the answer is of course not! Translation agency should be picked with the same care than your lawyer, accountant or surgeon.
Do not be afraid to ask the agencies the following questions:
What do they specialize in: legal, medical, marketing, general, tourism, finance, etc? No one is an expert in everything and not only the jargon but the structures of sentences can be different in different fields.
Do they have a database? This can speed up the translation considerably.
Do they have a translator and a proofreader? It will insure accuracy.
Is the translator, a native speaker? This is a must as the idioms and expressions of each language are unique and a non native person might not know the exact differences.
Can they format your translation in the format of your choice? Words, Excel, PDF, HTML?
Will you be able to communicate with the translator?
Do they have a confidentiality policy? You want to make sure your materials are kept secured
Can you see a sample of their work in a targeted document? Even if you do not speak the language, you will see what the final product looks like.. So if you want your brochure to be translated, ask to see a sample of a brochure, if you want your website to be translated, ask to see one, etc.
How long will it take? An average translator can translate about 1000-1500 words a day.
How much will it cost? The cost varies in function of the length, the complexity, and the formatting of the document. Agency can charge a fee per original word, per page, per hour, per project. Most agency charge on a per word basis. To get a good estimate, send a sample of your document and give the number of words or pages that need to be translated. On many occasions, the total cost will affect your judgment; you probably needed the product translated yesterday and at the lowest cost possible. Choosing an agency because it offers you the lowest rates is not a good business decision. Remember the saying: you get what you paid for.
When it comes to translating your document, do your homework, ask questions and choose an agency that can provide you with quality, flexibility, a native speaker and a competitive rate.