Posts

Selecting a Language Services Provider

Entering a new market can be challenging—from unfamiliar cultures and languages to different laws and regulations to localization considerations. How can you be sure you are selecting a translation team that has the experience and the training to accurately convey your message in the target language and culture?

Welocalize Life Sciences offers the following tips for selecting the right language services provider to ensure a successful translation process:

Price is only one factor. Quality, skilled translators cost more. However, selecting the higher priced language services provider does not guarantee the best translation or accuracy. Other factors to consider include experience, quality, technology and more. And, while the lowest price doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive a poor-quality translation, rock bottom pricing could mean providers are cutting corners. For example, they may choose not to follow a multi-step quality process. Instead, they use one translator and skip the editing and proofreading stages by other team members. Find out more about the true cost of translation.

Commitment to quality. Make sure that a defined workflow and documented quality assurance procedures are in place and are used at all times.  Look for a provider with a firmly established project management process involving different team members (translation, editing, proofreading). Don’t be afraid to ask the provider how they ensure quality. For example, Welocalize Life Sciences implements lean methodologies to create an efficient system of continuous improvement.

Staffing decisions. Just who is really doing your translations? Are you working with a one-person show, or does the provider have a large pool of translators to pull from? Were all those translators carefully screened and tested during candidate selection process? Does the agency require its translators to be degreed? Does it have an in-house certification program? Translator selection criteria should include native fluency in the target language, a linguistic degree from one of the world’s major universities or language schools, industry specialization demonstrated by an advanced degree or specialty translation experience and more.

Industry expertise. Not everyone who speaks a foreign language is a translator. Ensure your provider has experience in your industry, understands the regulations and nuances of your business or service, demonstrates an efficient quality process and can supply a reputable client list with references.

Local market knowledge. To resonate with a local market, sometimes translation needs to be taken a step further, which is where transcreation fits in. Transcreation is about taking a concept in one language and completely recreating it in another language – it is normally applied to the marketing of an idea, product or service to international audiences. The experienced translation agency will address region-specific cultures and dialects. Brand names may need to be adjusted to avoid different connotations in the target language that might not make sense or even be damaging or offensive. For example, Coca-Cola sells a lot of Diet Coke in the U.S. However, the company renamed it Coca-Cola Light to market and sell it in many countries where the word ‘light’ means fewer calories.

Use translation memory (TM) tools. Translation memory (TM) software analyzes repetitive text in the source documents and then queries a translation memory database to identify previously translated segments. TM ensures consistency of terminology, expedites future revisions, and reduces translation costs. Consistency is improved because the TM software will always propose the same translation for the same source sentence. Even a large group of translators, working from different locations, can produce consistent translations, provided they work from the same translation memory. TM, together with other tools such as computer-aided translation (CAT) tools and machine translation (MT), provide distinct advantages that create powerful tools to streamline translation and localization processes. Find out how Welocalize Life Sciences uses technology to speed up the translation process.

Centralize the translation process. Successful translation is also an internal initiative. Often time, global companies with several offices around the world rely on their distributors, agents and representatives in other countries to do the translations.  By “centralizing” translation management via one department, a core contact team, or even a designated project manager, companies can streamline all translation efforts and communicate their messages across to various countries more consistently, effectively and, often, less expensively.

If your materials, products or trials are crossing borders, contact Welocalize Life Sciences for more information about our professional translation and transcreation services for highly regulated industries.