Category Archives: Translation

The Importance of Quality Standards

The Importance of Quality Standards

The Importance of Quality StandardsIt has been said that translation is more of an art than a science. Though aspects of translation require craftsmanship, the procedures and protocols of carrying out quality work have important parameters. When selecting a translation partner, you want to ensure quality standards and protocols are in place but how can you insure this?

ISO 9001 and 17100

One method for ensuring quality is to look for a partner who has obtained an ISO certification. The International Organization for Standardization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. Two certifications which apply to the translation industry are the 9001 and the 17100.

Many are aware of the ISO 9001 which is an international standard of a quality management system. A quality management system (QMS) is a set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution in the core business area of an organization. Production, development and service protocols impact an organization’s ability to meet customer requirements.

The ISO 17100 is a new internationally recognized standard for the translation industry which addresses requirements related to the essential processes for providing quality translations services including the capabilities of the company’s resources. Machine translation and interpretation protocols are not included in 17100.

The 17100 not only evaluates an efficient management system but also assesses file security, staff development and general working practices. An independent ISO audit is required to maintain and ensure adherence to these specifications.

LISA

The Localization Industry Standards Association or LISA was an organization based on standards created to address the translation of computer software into different languages. Though LISA is no longer an active organization, their work still drives many translation and localization standards. Adobe, IBM, Cisco, HP and Xerox were members. LISA represented its partners at the International Organization for Standardization. The Termbase eXchange (TBX) was developed by LISA, which became an ISO standard. Many LISA standards are used by the OASIS Open Architecture of XML Authoring and Localization.

LISA’s quality control system involves a series of ratings. There is a scoring system with levels set for translation style, accuracy, consistency and language rules. LISA is also used during the localization process. Localization applies to adapting websites, apps, videogames and other translated texts to fit a target audience’s culture and style.

QA the QA

Though these are a few standard control systems that translation companies rely upon, they are not the only ones in use. A thorough question and answer assessment of a translation provider about their quality assurance will uncover the protocols and procedures in place to ensure your company receives quality deliverables.

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Terralingua is an ISO 9001 and 17100 certified professional translation agency utilizing LISA standards. If you would like to know more about our services, or you need help with a translation project, please visit our website for further details.

The Importance of Localized Content

The Importance of Localized Content

The Importance of Localized Content The digital age has made it easier for consumers to purchase goods and conduct business transactions all over the globe. This has been a boon for companies who strive to grow sales by marketing goods in other markets.

Consumers are also much more aware of their purchasing power with multiple choices and options. If a company wants to do business with them, they expect to receive the appropriate brand communication and engagement. If they don’t get it, then they will go elsewhere.

What is the best way to keep current customers loyal while attracting new ones? It’s all about meaningful content. Content should be the lynchpin of all marketing activities. However, it needs to be managed properly to be successful. It is all about localization and how you communicate with your customer.

The most important consideration if you are in the global marketplace is, of course, translation. Studies show that most customers buy a product because it is advertised in their own language. That means you need to speak to them like a native, and not like a machine with hard-to-understand phrasing. Professional translation will show your potential customers their worth to your company, as well as properly convey your product and brand message.

Once your content is created and translated, think about how it is received by the user. Consider your website’s user interface and how it is viewed on other devices such as mobile phones. How is your content distributed through email marketing campaigns and social media?

Always consider the audience. Ask yourself these questions: Does your content pass by multiple departments, or are the decision makers a few key people? Are you properly addressing this audience? How does your company reply to needs in all languages? What is your response time to email or social media inquiries?

Review how your content aligns with your marketing objectives. What countries are you currently doing business with? From their viewpoint, what is the level of ease to interact with your company? When looking at your short and long-term goals, who is the target audience? Are you creating content that appeals to and engages this audience? Is your content relevant? It is often quoted that a website needs 21 languages to reach 90% of its web users. A strategic plan will help your company narrow in on your desired target market.

Educate your content creation staff as to these goals. If you have creators in many different countries or offices, ensure you organize and communicate a consistent and culturally relevant message throughout all markets. In order to ensure quality control and a clear message, a company will often rely on a translation partner to localize content in other languages. Feedback is obtained from local offices to confirm any preferential terms in their market.

Planning content creation with your global audience in mind will mean efficient productivity and active customer engagement. This will not only improve sales, but also give customers a better experience.

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Terralingua is an ISO 17100 and 9001 certified translation and localization provider to global business leaders in all industries. Visit our website to find your local office and obtain a quote online.

Spring Cleaning Your Content

Spring Cleaning Your Content

Spring Cleaning Your ContentIf your organization spends a considerable amount producing content, then it is probably time to schedule a content spring cleaning. Starting 2018 with a clear vision and strategy will allow you to fully analyse and create a structured approach to ensure consistency and maximize asset use.

Where to start?

First take stock of your content and production protocol. Have you compiled and catalogued all available documentation? Are there pieces that require updates or improvements? Before creating new content, have you reviewed what is currently distributed and in use? Can you find production and distribution efficiencies to implement?

Do you produce content that is required by different departments or in different formats? Through the implementation of an organizational review, substantial savings could be found by repurposing content used in brochures, user guides, training material or repair manuals. Though the expense of a content management system may be outside the scope of your current needs, there are many ways you can repurpose material without one. Review your documentation practices, explore content repurposing efficiencies that could be applied, and determine when a content management system (CMS) investment would be needed. Centralizing the documentation process will significantly impact affect translation expenses as well.

Avoid the translation silo

Even though each department may have a separate translation budget, it does not mean that your company’s translation procedures should have a “silo” approach. Create a centralized method for the sharing and distribution of your company’s translation memory so that each department can access the benefits of already translated content. Even if you do not use the same translation provider for each project, ensuring consistency and maximizing reuse can be easily obtained through a centralized method of simple steps. If you have several translation memories from many different providers, taking the time to consolidate the memories and reviewing terms will result in time and cost savings for all departments. Style guides and controlled language are also two useful tools to review.

Keeping everyone in line

Creating style guides, approved glossaries and templates for all content creators will mean a consistent company message and easier implementation of reusable segments. Whether it is with your internal documentation team or a translation partner, having a documentation protocol is essential. Also discuss the company’s tone of voice, images and typography for your brands to safeguard consistent use across departments and through contracted and outsourced work.

Controlling the message

When repurposing text, especially text concerned with safety, many implement a controlled language tool. This provides your content writers guidelines and a limited vocabulary to reduce the risk of ambiguity and clarifying text. For example, after a company-wide documentation review, you may find the same safety message written in many different ways. Limited approved options ensure a safer message and cost savings.

Explore content management options

A Content Management System (CMS)’s purpose is to store, organize and repurpose your content. There are many options to explore which will make your content easier to search, organize and locate. The expense and learning curve of a CMS often keeps companies from investing but with an ever-expanding content library, it is important to evaluate pros and cons of different systems. Each company’s needs vary as well as the cost of each system.

If you are writing technical content, then a useful system is the Darwin Information Typing Architecture or Document Information Typing Architecture (DITA). DITA is an XML data model for authoring and publishing. DITA software allows content writers to write in segments. This means that they build up the content bit by bit, segment by segment. Each part of the text is separate, meaning editing and reusing text is seamless.

Have you heard about Typefi?

Typefi is a publishing platform that allows any XML based content and produces formats for online, mobile and print within minutes. It can be used by authors and editors as well as by your design team, so that, with a click of a mouse, both teams can view the design and content quickly. It is ideal for multiple language publications and it can save you a considerable amount of production time.

Despite the fact that there are many considerations, having clear documentation goals and taking a hard look at your current content production methods can help you streamline procedures to achieve more in less time. A spring cleaning is worth its weight in gold any time of year.

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Terralingua is a professional ISO certified translation company specializing in localization and desktop publishing. We implement XML based solutions and work with content management systems for many global industry leaders. To find out more about our services, please visit our website for further information.

How to Reduce Translation Costs with Controlled Natural Language

How to Reduce Translation Costs with Controlled Natural Language

How to Reduce Translation Costs with Controlled Natural LanguageIf your company produces a high volume of content, you know the costs involved in writing, editing and translation can be high. Global companies can have documentation translated into more than 20 languages. So a common concern is how to produce documents at a lower cost without losing the clarity and quality customers expect.

Many companies seek to repurpose as much content as possible, especially with instruction booklets or product descriptions. A solution many utilize is a Component Content Management System (CCMS) which can efficiently manage content by minimizing volume and, therefore, reducing the costs. With a CCMS, the amount of content that can be repurposed is affected by the format, industry standards, and the system used.

It is important to ensure that the content is structured and that style sheets are created to improve the publishing process. Many authors shy away from this method of content creation because it lacks flexibility, but, by using a template, you can ensure conformity. This method also means that accidental new material created by authors is avoided. New words and phrases cost money to create and translate. By ensuring authors use the same terms and expressions, accidental content will be reduced and therefore related costs will also go down.

For example, you may have various authors writing safety instructions that convey: “Don’t disconnect until the green light is illuminated.” Each author may write this instruction in a different way, such as “only disconnect when the green light is on” or “when the green light is illuminated, you can disconnect”. If each author would implement the same wording, you would have conformity across all the documentation and, therefore, it would be easier to reuse content. Instruction manuals, brochures, product descriptions and marketing materials would all use the same phrasing.

Many find that, by implementing a Controlled Natural Language (CNL) style, this can be achieved. Examples of styles are ASD Simplified Technical English, Caterpillar Technical English, and IBM’s Easy English. These CNLs are not only used to increase the readability and quality of technical documentation, but, also, to reduce the amount of required translation, optimizing the process. These rules have restrictions such as using short sentences, avoiding pronoun use, using only the active voice and utilizing only dictionary approved words.

By using Controlled Natural Language (CNL), you can improve the consistency and quality of a technical translation. Conventional CAT tools will pick up matches at a higher rate and this, in turn, will make human translation faster. CNL’s are efficient because they use less than 1% of vocabulary, bringing the number of words that can be used to between 2,000 and 10,000.

The advantage to this method is that the limited vocabulary means authors use fewer words, so the text is sharper and easier to understand. Ambiguity and confusion are avoided, and the technical information produced can be used by professionals and layman alike. Whether it is a user manual, instructional leaflet or marketing brochure, the content is clear to the customer.

Using tools such as a content management system and a controlled language will improve consistency and quality, as well as lower the overall costs of producing technical documentation and translating content for the global marketplace.

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Terralingua is a professional ISO certified translation company specializing in localization and desktop publishing. We have been working with many of the world’s industry leaders. To see how we can assist with your company’s global communications, please visit our website for further information.

Quality Control - “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”

Quality Control – “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”

Quality Control - “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”A focus on quality is a “given” basic requirement when working with providers. Quality control assurances are a common mantra in marketing materials. However, how do you truly know the right procedures are implemented and functioning every day? It becomes more complicated with the translation industry. There are many different diplomas, degrees, and certifications a translator may obtain. A translator may be extremely qualified, with extensive experience and assured against errors and omissions. Even so, how can one ensure the daily workflow reflects this? Enter industry standards – an objective way to oversee that controls are effectively in place.

The ISO 9001 and the ISO 17100 are quality management systems designed to make sure that organizations meet certain standards and can best serve customers’ needs. There are many benefits to ISO certification, especially ISO 17100, which applies directly to translation services.

You may have heard of the ISO standard 9001, but the relatively new translation agency standard ISO 17100 applies specifically to translation industry procedures. This international standard replaces the European EN 15038. It is important to note, though, that it does not apply to machine translation or interpretation.

What does this mean? A translation provider with ISO credentials has annual independent audits performed to ensure efficient management operations. These objective evaluations benchmark the agency’s operations to see if they are correctly performed and, therefore, allow an organization to maintain their ISO certification.

One of the important pioneers of translation industry standards was the LISA organization. The Localization Industry Standards Association or LISA existed from 1990 to February 2011. The standards set by LISA raised the bar on translation memory management, term base management and the use of the XML authoring and localization framework. A focus on accuracy is the highlight of a LISA approved workflow. If a translator or agency has a LISA structured control in place, consistent quality should be expected.

GALA – the Globalization and Localization Association is a useful source of information and includes details about these standards on their site.

Something important to know (apart from the fact that your provider has quality controls in place) is what kind of quality control is used specifically. Look at your own organization and find out what you consider to be the important requirements to entrust a provider with your global message. An ISO certification or adherence to a LISA standard does not guarantee 100% perfection, but helps to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Terralingua Translations is an ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certified translation agency that has implemented an internal in-house evaluation program built on LISA standards. You can find out more and contact a local office at www.terralinguatranslations.com.

”For Your Eyes Only?” Online Documentation Safety Considerations

”For Your Eyes Only?” Online Documentation Safety Considerations

”For Your Eyes Only?” Online Documentation Safety ConsiderationsIt was reported last year on a CBS News website that there are more Americans worried about their data privacy than about losing their income. 56 percent of the people are concerned about their privacy and trust the companies they deal with will keep their data from falling into the wrong hands.

With the recent security breaches of large companies including Equifax, individuals are worried that their names, addresses, social security numbers and a host of other bits of information will be stolen and used in identity theft. It has unfortunately become a common concern among individuals, but how aware is your company of privacy breaches?

Your company may have policies in place regarding email communication and social media, but what about your documentation safety? You assume that the companies you work with will treat your files with the same amount of care and online security that you use, but what assurances do you have?

This issue came to the forefront in the translation industry with a massive security breach of documents used through a free online translation service. Potentially confidential information related to company communication, contracts and products were posted in good faith by employees seeking free and quick translation, which, unbeknownst to them, exposed their content unprotected on the internet. When using free translation tools, you might find that the text you have entered becomes available on the internet for anyone to access. A Norwegian company that used a free translation service discovered that some sensitive information was available to anyone who used Google. In response, many companies took action, including the Oslo Stock Exchange, which blocked all free online translation providers in their company, including Google Translate. (See this article.)

This incident raised an issue to many minds – what steps are being taken to ensure my company’s online documentation safety?

There are four important general considerations when transferring your documentation online. Of course, if your documentation is subject to government or ITAR considerations, the level of care should be higher.

  1. 1) A secure website. Look for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to ensure internet traffic is encrypted. There should be an image of a lock at the beginning of the web address. The URL should start with the letters “https”, which is used for secure communications. Qualys SSL Labs has a free test to check any domain to ensure it is secure and it only takes minutes to complete. Look for an “A” rating before sending any confidential files.
  2. 2) Individual Passwords. When uploading or downloading files, make sure there is an individual access code or password to enter a site. When creating passwords, confirm that each account has its own password, which is a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  3. 3) Non-Disclosure Agreements. Ensure anyone working with your files has signed a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement. This should not be only between you and the translation partner. Make sure the translation agency also has protocols in place with their translators to protect content confidentiality and enforces a privacy policy.
  4. 4) Documentation Protocol. Ensure all hard copy documentation is properly destroyed by your translation partner and that sensitive documentation is not open for access by unauthorized personnel within your company or theirs.

Rather than blindly trusting protocols are in place, ask your translation provider for their policies regarding client documentation. As it may be noticed through recent headlines, there are those who seek to infiltrate even the most secure systems. Therefore, due diligence is required. Checking that even basic requirements are met will help ensure safer documentation handling and lessen the risks of content breach.

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Terralingua is an ISO certified professional translation company also specialized in localization and desktop publishing. We invite you to review our client privacy policy. Please visit www.terralinguatranslations.com to test drive our secure extranet and obtain a non-binding translation quote.

How to Make Your Language Choices for Website Translation

How to Make Your Language Choices for Website Translation

How to Make Your Language Choices for Website TranslationIf you’re doing business globally, it’s important to have more than one language on your website. If you want customers from abroad to buy your products or use your services, then you need to be able to speak to them in their own language.

Granted, large global companies don’t have this problem. They have the budget necessary to add plenty of language options to a website. Take a look at Delta Airlines, for instance. They have more than ten language choices covering the six continents they fly to and from.

Apple also has numerous websites in various languages because they know the importance of being able to communicate with their customers. They want these customers to share their enthusiasm for their products and to engage with Apple themselves. This can only be achieved properly if you are speaking in their language, not yours.

What do you do, though, if you’re a smaller company with less to spend on your marketing strategy? The first thing you should do is to consider your customers, where they are from and what language they speak. Once you know this, you are able to make a choice and pick the language or languages that will capture the majority of the people you want to attract.

Africa

English is widely spoken, but there are also other languages, such as Swahili, French and Arabic. If you’re on a budget, English and French might be good choices. French is spoken in Northern, Western and Central Africa by around 115 million people as a first or second language.

Europe

Europe covers a large area and there are around fifty different languages. Depending on what parts of Europe you are targeting, you could think about English, French, German and Russian. Logically, if your customers are from Spain or Italy, you’ll have to think about adding those languages, too.

North America

It’s easy just to think about English for a North American audience, but the fact is that there are large Hispanic and Chinese communities here. If you want to attract customers from these groups, you’ll need Spanish and Chinese.

Asia

Asia is a huge continent with a wide range of languages, the most popular being Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian and English.

South America

Spanish is spoken in most parts of South America. However, in Brazil, the official language is Portuguese and there are many Portuguese speakers living and working in other neighbouring countries. You will, therefore, need Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

Localization

Don’t forget that it’s not just the language translations that will attract and engage your target audience. When they click on their own language, the texts and images should be relevant to their community. Therefore, make sure you use images and colours that they can relate to and that won’t cause offence.

Your social media pages should also be localized and, if they are, you will reap the benefits. Customers are more likely to engage with your brand and share it with their friends if they can perfectly understand your message and if they can see images of people and places from their own country.

It’s very important to have the translation work carried out professionally. A good translator will have lived in the target country and will understand the nuances of the language, as well as its colloquialisms and idioms, which you might want to use on localized pages.

Making your audience feel valued by providing content they can understand without a doubt will make them more likely to use your brand and to become loyal customers.

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Terralingua is a professional translation company that has worked for some of the world’s leading companies. If you would like our help to get your message across to the rest of the world, please visit our website for further information.

The Language of Safety

The Language of Safety

The Language of SafetyAccording to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), more than 13,000 workers in the United States are injured at work every day. Many of these accidents could have been avoided if health and safety rules had been followed.

The object of the AEM is to help workers stay safe. That is why in June, which was National Safety month, they partnered with the National Safety Council. Their goal is to inform and educate workers and employers about safety risks and how to avoid them.

English as a second language

One of the largest groups of workers who suffer from injury on the job is in the construction sector. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the sector with an informative website about regulations and safety standards. Despite OSHA’s best efforts, there are still employers and staff who either choose to ignore the rules or have difficulty understanding instructions.

The OSHA website is available in English and Spanish. Two million workers in the US construction workforce are non-native English speakers, this corresponds to 23% of the workforce. Many of these workers are native Spanish speakers, but many speak other languages as well.

Lack of language skills is not the cause of all accidents, but it is a significant contributing factor. If workers do not understand written or spoken instructions, they are at a disadvantage and possibly at risk of suffering a life threatening injury.

Getting the message across

Though construction businesses employ non-English speaking staff, they not always think to provide translated materials, most importantly safety documents, to their staff in their native tongue.

A good example is The Fall Prevention Campaign on the OSHA website. It outlines the actions workers need to take to reduce the risks involved in working from heights. This includes creating a plan with a risk assessment of the area and a list of the correct tools and equipment to be used. These plans and lists should be available in the workplace and understandable for all users. They usually are available in English only, which begs the question – will all workers understand the risks?

Unless a company ensures materials are available in other languages, some workers may not understand the warnings or instructions. A plan prepared in both English and Spanish, for example, helps more workers to understand essential information and apply proper working procedures.

Instructions often do not require a lot of text to ensure comprehension. Look at the infographic on the AEM website. It is a clear poster giving workers information about equipment safety. Small icons with very brief user explanations make them clear, easy to read and simple to translate.

The importance of translation

Translated materials are of the utmost importance when workers are handling dangerous equipment. Most heavy machinery users are required to read the official instruction manual before machinery use.

If the manual has been translated into their native tongue, then they will easily understand the required safety precautions before using the equipment. They will also be fully aware of the risks involved. Offering important documents in another language is priceless, as it might save a life.

Addressing this one change is one of the most crucial decisions a company will make. Knowing essential information is available to protect lives as well as your company’s reputation will mean great peace of mind. Nothing is more important than safety, and nothing has a greater price if not considered.

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Terralingua is a professional translation company specialized in localization and desktop publishing. We have worked with many of the world’s industry leaders. Please visit our website for our local office’s contact information if you would like asssitance with your company’s translation projects.

Is Controlled Language the End of Human Translation for Technical Documents?

Is Controlled Language the End of Human Translation for Technical Documents?

Is Controlled Language the End of Human Translation for Technical Documents?Simplifying technical language to improve comprehension is not a new concept. In the 17th century, a book by Sir Thomas Urquhart contained his plans to construct a new language using simpler terms for tradesmen. He emphasized the benefits of writing in a style that a ten-year old boy would understand.

By the end of the 18th century, English was the main language used in technical documents, but nobody seemed to have listened to Thomas Urquhart. Author and linguist David Crystal points out in his book English as a Global Language that “a foreigner would have to know English very well to learn about British technology”.

By the late 19th century, a period of mass production began. As consumer goods were sold to a growing population, the need for technical publications was once again recognized. In 1932, C.K. Ogden published a dictionary called Basic Words: A detailed account of their uses. The book only had 850 words. He said it would reduce the time to learn English to just a few weeks versus the five years it normally required.

Fast forward to the 1970’s and a language especially for technical documents was created called Caterpillar Fundamental English (CFE). The North American machinery manufacturer Caterpillar developed it in the hope of eliminating the need for translation altogether. Though many documents have been written using the system, it has not put an end to the need for human translation.

A new system was developed in the eighties by the European Association of Aerospace Manufacturers (AECMA). It was created for the aerospace industry to help engineers who were not native English speakers to understand the documentation and to read instructions. They called it Simplified Technical English (STE) and it is still used today.

Another controlled language was developed in the 90s called Bull Controlled English (BCE) by a computer and electronics manufacturer to reduce time to market. It is very simliar to CFE and has ten rules:

The rules are:

    1. Make positive statements: avoid the passive voice; avoid the future tense.
    2. Keep sentence length to a maximum of 25 words.
    3. Use valid terminology; do not invent it. Use the Controlled English vocabulary.
    4. One thought per sentence.
    5. Use simple sentence structures.
    6. Use parallel construction.
    7. Avoid conditional tenses.
    8. Avoid abbreviations and colloquialisms.
    9. Use correct punctuation.
    10. Use the tools available (maximize grammar checker and spelling checker).

Though developed by different industries, all methods harness the desire for consistent and easily understood language. Though it may reduce the need for human translation, professional translators find a great benefit from its use in the translation process. With the use of translation memory tools, more segment matches occur with controlled language, which means quicker turnarounds and reuse of material, which, in its turn, means lower costs. It also reduces the risk of confusion in semantics and syntax. Translations are consistent and of a better quality when rules are applied and language is standardized.

As stated above with BTE, there are a number of rules to be followed when using any controlled language. Short sentences are preferred to wordy sentences. The use of the active voice rather than the passive voice, and nouns in the place of pronouns are required. Writing that is concise and reads clearly are the hallmark of this method.

While controlled language works well withtranslation memory tools, it can have some issues with machine translation. A machine translation cannot understand context and it is still required to have a set of human eyes to confirm the documentation to avoid ambiguity.

There is no denying controlled language has helped the technical translation process enabling better comprehension and consistency. However, there is still a need for human translators with the skill and technical knowledge to spot costly errors and prevent embarrassing misunderstandings. As with all industries and processes, technological advances allow us to work smarter and safer and this changes the way we do things. They still require the human touch, though.

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Terralingua utilizes only the most qualified technical translators for our clients’ projects. We value the trust our clients place in our ISO certified translation services and guarantee our work. If you would like more information about our services or to obtain a no obligation translation quote, please visit our website or contact your local Terralingua office.

Looking for Localization in All the Wrong Places?

Looking for Localization in All the Wrong Places?

Looking for Localization in All the Wrong Places?Searching for a reliable professional translation partner is often like dating. The relationship starts well but often things don’t go quite as you expected.

One of two things usually follows. One may choose to “speed date”, vowing to never be in the same situation again. This choice is based on the belief that having many different relationships will avoid disappointment when a provider does not perform as expected or is not available. Though this may cover the bases for rush needs, it is not a long term solution for achieving consistency and building a trusted partnership. This approach may cause confusion if a translation memory is not properly maintained and distributed, as well as more work with version tracking and revision needs.

The second choice has the “once bitten, twice shy” approach. This choice consists of ensuring proper vetting before entering into a work relationship. Companies that select this approach desire not only consistency with their material, but also within their entire organization — requiring all departments to use a trusted partner. Though this approach can take time, especially if your company wants quality with competitive pricing, there are four upfront checkpoints to ensure you are not wasting your time.

Service Offerings

Selecting a translation partner upfront who can handle all current and future needs is a wise decision. Can the provider supply all localization and desktop publishing services (even if you don’t currently require them)? How many languages and programs/platforms are supported? A provider’s capabilities can save you time and money. For example, you may have an in-house art department, but what if there is an urgent need your people cannot complete on time, or a language font they cannot work with? You may need only Spanish now, but what if you require Chinese a year from now? Confirm how many languages the provider offers as well as their technical capabilities with different formats, platforms and software. If you only have a PDF, can they recreate a translated version? Knowing you can call on your provider for assistance whatever the multi-lingual need arises can save many headaches and heartaches.

Accreditations

Look for industry accreditations and certifications, especially ISO. Achievement of an accreditation shows a commitment to quality. ISO in particular is an important management quality system which demonstrates that the company adheres to a specific set of standards which are continually monitored and analyzed. This standard can also assure that qualified translators are completing your work. Ask your potential provider what checks and balances are in place and if there is an annual test or evaluation to ensure standards— not just that they are writing a check to obtain credentials.

Expertise

Reviewing a potential partner’s client list can give you an idea as to their areas of expertise. Many providers have translators with varying backgrounds. Therefore if you require specific expertise you can request samples from their top qualified translators or review CVs. However, please note that a quality provider will complete this task without your participation before assigning work to a team. If your company requires medical, legal or technical translation, ask the provider about their experience and client list in that field. Also remember that if you have specific preferred jargon, it is best that your provider, no matter how qualified, creates an approved glossary before work begins.

Workflow

Question your potential provider about their workflow and what you can expect when working with them. Listen for native speaking translators in the qualification requirements, on-going testing, a quality assurance process, as well as expectations with project and document handling. Do they use a team approach, with both a translator and an independent editor, or is the job handled by just one translator? Is translation memory used? Check translation memory maintenance practices as well as ownership. Will they release your updated memories if requested? Remember not all companies follow the same procedures. Some may charge project management fees or not allow a round of client revisions without an additional cost.

What can you expect as regards turnarounds for proposals and projects? How are rush requests handled? Some may test the waters first with a sample or a small project, but many providers can easily handle these tasks. If you have a potential need for a large scale project, ask for a case study or a client referral for a similar project they have successfully handled. This will give you an idea as to their tools and capabilities no matter the project size.

What happens when there is an issue? Even with standards in place things can go off track. What will happen if you encounter a problem? Expecting you will never have a bump in the road is not realistic. Issues arise and this is where a relationship is tested. Will your provider work to ensure your satisfaction and help overcome the problem? What if reviewers have their own preferences? How are potential problems addressed? The difference between a provider and a partner is the first will stand behind their work while the other will stand by you, as your concerns will be theirs as well.

Though these guidelines may help separate the wheat from the chaff, it does not eliminate the trial and error that may come from working with different providers. One thing is certain, when you find a provider who is true to their word, goes above and beyond to serve your needs (without charging an arm and a leg), and acts like a part of your team rather than just another vendor – you will have struck translation gold.

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Terralingua is a certified ISO 9001 and 17100 global translation agency which implements the LISA linguistic quality assurance system. We have worked with some of the world’s best-known brands and only use highly qualified native speaking translators. Terralingua would be honored to serve your company’s translation, localization and desktop publishing needs. If you would like more information on our services, please visit our website to contact your local Terralingua office.