Manage your very first translation project like a pro: Who should be your supplier?

Aug 5, 2016

If you are the lucky one assigned to manage, say, translation of an annual product catalog, and you have never managed any translation project before, don't panic.

  1. Search for translation resources. You could save a lot of effort.
  2. Map the suppliers thoroughly. The difference is night and day.
  3. Document your company's language management.
  4. Establish a translation management workflow in your company.

In this mini-series, we already explained the first steps of the process and the issue of translation resources search. Now, let's focus on the second point – mapping and choosing your translation supplier.

Map your potential suppliers. It matters more than you think.

There are numerous suppliers out in the market and they are available virtually by a few clicks on the Internet. The general issues, however, are quality, rates, as well as workflow and featured services, and then of course for what purpose the translation will be used. For anything you want to publish and which will be used in the public domain, make sure you make the right choice.

There are basically 4 types of translation suppliers companies tend to choose from (although sometimes the final choice might seem – and often is – illogical), including these general pros and cons:

A. Friend, or friend of a friend, who speaks the target language

+ usually friendly price

+ no need of thorough market research

- not a professional translator

- no translation software or CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools

- no complementary services, aftercare or indemnity insurance

- usually no non-disclosure agreement

B. In-house employee who speaks the target language

+ no extra cost

+ no need of thorough market research

+ familiarity with subject field

- not a professional translator

- often no translation software or CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools, or lacking experience if a license is bought

- no complementary services, aftercare or indemnity insurance

C. Freelance translator

+ professional translator

+ potentially uses some CAT tools (although usually to limited extent)

- the rates depend on the language and sometimes also the project scope

- no complementary services, aftercare or indemnity insurance

- limited availability (think sickness, holidays, family issues)

D. Tanslation agency/LSP

+ has access to qualified professional translators

+ often apply a quality assurance process (the top standard is when every project is translated by one native professional translator, reviewed by another native professional translator, and then proofread and checked using CAT tools and internal LSP employees)

+ usually includes complementary services including translation resources, such as creation and storage of memories, DTP and layout services, or aftercare services (post-editing, back translation, professional project management, etc.) as well as other attractive services like indemnity insurance and other assurances.

+ usually attractive pricing for volume projects and regular work.

How to pick a suitable translation supplier?

It is pretty obvious which type of supplier we would recommend.

If you have cooperated with an LSP before and you find their current services and rates attractive, this is the cleanest option for optimized handling and probably the easiest way to manage the translation process. If you handle translation differently, do your homework and carry out a market research, while focusing on:

  • rates and prices in general
  • LSP's references, certifications and terms & conditions
  • services included in the price (mainly translation memory and access to glossaries and special terminology)
  • ordering process

A lot of LSPs offer to supply you with a free quote and an estimate of delivery terms. Requesting a quote is a natural way to engage with potential suppliers, find out the necessary facts and get supportive reason for making a decision.

To know more about establishing an efficient work-flow for your company's translation management, read our next blog --->