Corporate Translation Services - Finding the Right Agency

By: Armando Riquier

Whether you are running a small business or a large, established one, if you have an offshore presence, you would in all likelihood have to deal with the effort of bilingual communication. It becomes critical to your business success to locate and hire a reliable translation service provider if you are looking to stabilize and expand your business on foreign shores. There have been many instances in the world of business and politics where an ineffective translation service has put a spoke in the proceedings.

On one occasion, the negotiation process between U.S. and British counterparts came to a standstill when the American company suggested that they would proceed to "table" certain key points. To the Americans, the phrase "tabling a motion" signifies that no discussion is warranted, while the British use the same phrase: "bring it to the table for discussion" when they wish to specifically discuss the very points!

In the above example, the same phrase used in the same language, viz., English, conveys the exact opposite meaning, because the cultural usages of the same phrase are at variance. When such is the case, imagine the high possibility of errors arising when sentences or phrases are translated to a different language! This is where the right choice of translator or translation services agency plays its part. It is imperative that you select a company that offers the expertise of a well trained team of professional translators who have industry exposure in addition to language skills and certification. The time and money spent in the exercise are well spent, when you consider the possible tribulations that you may have to contend with if there were to be one or more mis-translations in an important official document or contract.

The following are some useful tips that can help you identify a reliable professional translation service provider for translating your documents, manuals, website, advertisement content or other important written communications.

Most service providers/firms in the translation business have membership of a recognized professional translation association such as American Translation Association (ATA).

The translator/team must be qualified, certified professionals and should ideally be native speakers of the target language.

The team of translators must be qualified and experienced in rendering translation services in the target language/s, but must also possess subject matter expertise if they are to be really effective.

The translation agency must accept responsibility for proof reading the final translated document before it is delivered. In many cases, reliable translation service firms have a second, and sometimes even a third translator, all of whom are fully competent to proof-read the translated text and perhaps perform a back translation wherever it is warranted.

If your document runs into a number of pages and where the deadlines are close, reliable translation service firms will press into action more than one professional translator to complete your work to your complete satisfaction.

If you happen to directly hire a translator to do the job for you, it would be advisable to check for any references he can provide in respect of past projects completed to the satisfaction of clients.

It may be worthwhile to compare prices of different translation service firms to get an idea of the current pricing structure. While cheap is not necessarily the best, price may sometimes be a deciding factor when all other things are equal.

Meeting deadlines is a very important aspect of the service, but this may become known only when the agency delivers its first completed project.

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