Lost in Translation
A Primer for New Buyers of Translation and Localization Services
Common Myths about Translation and Localization Services
Myth: Translation is a quick, easy task that anyone speaking the destination language can do.
Reality: If any speaker of a language is equipped to write your documents in the language they speak, then why bother to hire marketing writers, technical writers or any other language specialists for projects that anyone speaking your native tongue should be able to do? This is because, just like with good writing, good translation requires more than simply stringing translated words together one after another. Good translation requires, as does good writing, a working knowledge of the subject, audience and culture of the reader, as well as a good understanding of the purpose of the piece.
Myth: My secretary can do the translation for me.
Reality: If she’s a linguist in disguise perhaps, or if the document she’s translating is for internal purposes and will not be presented to masses of potential or current customers. See Myth number one, above.
Myth: Computers do all of the work these days so the cost should be negligible.
Reality: Computers also do much of the work involved in sending astronauts to space as well—but TV stations don’t televise a room filled with computers during a launch. Instead, they show you a room filled with people—experts in their fields who simply tap the power of computers. Same goes for translation and localization services. Yes, we tap the power of computers to help make our jobs easier and to minimize your and our costs, but we do not rely on computers to produce final, translated documents for you. If we did, you’d know it in an instant—and you’d fire us in a hurry.
Myth: Interaction with your agency is not required—simply send it and forget it.
Reality: The truth is that, while it is possible to work up to such an intuitive relationship with a vendor, it won’t happen overnight. As with any relationship, understanding, intimacy and trust take time to develop and grow. Your agency needs to learn about you, your quirks, your requirements, your goals. And to get there, your agency should ask you questions. This is a good thing. It ensures you will get the best deliverable possible, which saves time, money and potential frustration due to a job that’s not quite what you wanted.
Myth: Because translation is a commodity, the lowest price is all that matters.
Reality: We realize, no matter how many times we or other translation providers advise against it, that certain firms will rush down the low cost road, no questions asked. Of course these same firms are the ones distributing marketing materials, software, help files and Web pages obviously developed by someone who clearly does not understand the target culture, reader or language. If you are considering a translation or localization vendor based on price alone, then perhaps we can sway you to reconsider. Is service important to you? Is there value to you in being able to turn over a translation or localization project to your vendor and—after the initial discussions—considering it done? Do you want the end user of your translated or localized deliverable to never even suspect that you are not just like them? If so, then, please, look beyond low price.
Five ways to ensure you get the most and best value from your translation and localization provider.
- Welcome questions and interactions with your provider, as questions mean that your provider will be well-informed about your products, services and audience—leading to excellent, on-target deliverables.
- Send requested information before the project starts, such as a list of terms or items not to translate, specific terminology to use, reference materials, etc. Your Stoquart project manager will tell you just what we need to get your job done.
- Trust your provider. Resist the urge to rewrite every sentence or to change headlines or add or delete certain parts. At the very least, to save yourself the embarrassment of publishing a product or document riddled with “editing” errors, run your changes by our team once more before you launch.
- Welcome and seek out a long-term relationship with your provider—this will greatly improve the process over time as we get to know you, your audience and your requirements.
- If you’re not sure of something, please ask questions. We are here for you and want you to feel fully confident in our translation and localization processes.
Take The Next Step.
Contact us today.