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Written by Russell Winterbotham
on December 03, 2013

As companies begin to work beyond their own national borders, there comes a time when the inevitable happens – some content; whether the company website, a sales email, a contract, a training course, a mobile app, a piece of software or even a video needs to be provided in a language other than English. Often, this will land on the lap of a marketing or product manager, or whoever else draws the short straw when the calling for volunteers has come up empty. If you’re lucky, this person may have experience from a previous role, or knows someone with some knowledge. If you’re not so lucky, where on earth are you going to start?

Doing it Yourself

Most companies might initially look internally for possible resources. Employees who can speak another language, or possibly partners/distributors who may have suitable bi-lingual staff. Hopefully they have the skills in the languages you actually need. For companies with multiple international offices, this might be easier to organize, but for smaller companies heading overseas for the first time, it probably isn’t going to be viable.

If you follow the internal method, the translation work will be in addition to the "lucky" person’s standard workload. The work might be fairly light to begin with, but if your organization is serious about “going global”, the amount of content will soon pile-up, and soon they’ll be crossing you off their Christmas card list for sure. There’ll be a breaking point sooner or later, and it’s going to hurt your business.

Just being able to converse in another language doesn’t make you a translator. Professional linguists have specific experience in different subject matters, along with qualifications or a related educational background. Marketing, software user interfaces and technical materials all require different skills, and if you’re using people to translate who have never worked in any of these areas before, the quality will be sub-standard.

Have you thought about how the translations will actually be conducted? Will the lucky staff member be given a stack of word documents to go through and be asked to type out the content again in the target language? There’s huge inefficiencies here which will push up internal costs and delay delivery as well as impact quality.

There is always the option to seek out freelance translators and have these professionals work directly for you. The problem is how to find them? How to evaluate them, and how to know their rates are fair? If you’re handling more than one or two languages, just managing the sending and receiving of content from all the linguists will take up most of someone’s day. There’s also the work of reviewing translations, applying corrections, answering linguists’ questions, dispatching international payments and replacing poor or unreliable linguists.

“There’s always Google Translate I suppose!” Yes, that’s true, but in terms of business materials, you’d be committing corporate suicide if you choose this method. The quality is just too poor to use in any corporate sense and would damage your international image beyond repair.

Using Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) Tools helps leverage and store repeated content and aids consistency of translations. Repeat content attracts discounts and can be leveraged on future translations to the same language. Note that any freelancers working directly for you will be using these tools. Someone will need to get up to speed on the use of CAT tools pretty quickly.

Developing termbases and style guides enforces consistency, but do you know where to start in developing these effectively and deciding on how you’ll store and manage translations?

The internal method will work to a point – where content is simple, volumes are not huge and the headache of handling an additional work-load has yet to kick in.

Reaching out to the Experts

The pain barrier will arrive at some point. Whether the internal costs become too much to bear, the volume is too great to handle or the quality is hindering sales, the time soon comes to seek out expert advice. Here’s where vendors like Andovar can help:

    • Linguist Recruitment and Selection

Triple-screening process to recruit, test and evaluate subject specialist linguists for each type of content that you need to translate.

    • Process Assessment and Advice

Different project types (UI, design files, websites, multimedia) need different processes to maximize project efficiencies. Andovar can consult at every stage to ensure processes are streamlined to reduce costs and ensure quality.

    • Use of Technology

From CAT tools to Translation Management Systems (TMS) technology can be used to leverage repeat content, store translations for future use and automate content routing for high volume workloads.

    • Language Assets

Develop glossaries and style guides which are living documents, designed to ensure consistency and accuracy across a range of projects and materials. Translation memories (databases of previously translated content) are generated by CAT tools and TMSs, and they are updated and maintained for the duration of your collaboration with us.

    • Quality Assurance

Linguist screening, language assets, 10% review milestones, terminology enforcement through technology, proofreading and linguistic QA by native speakers – each phase of a project is backed by industry standard QA processes.

    • Experience

Andovar understands the pitfalls of localization, whether it’s for a website, software or mobile application, eLearning, documentation or design files. With thousands of projects under our belt, we’re able to predict where issues may lie and deliver a solution which matches your quality expectations.

For further information on how Andovar can assist with your global expansion plans, please get in touch.

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