You can have a document translated into practically any language with a 24-hour turnaround, and there is a chance that the translation will be of at least acceptable quality. We can’t deny it: speed and simplicity are wonderful benefits for many businesses. But this model may not be so well suited when you have multiple files that have to be translated into multiple languages.
When launching your startup, you have both immediate and long-term goals before you. Chances are very good that localization will play a part now and into the future. Automating and outsourcing l10n services right away opens the doors to growth. When localization can keep up with you, you can maintain the kind of growth that localization makes possible. It’s a delicate cycle full of infinite opportunities. Finding a top-notch language services provider (LSP) will make it possible to lay a robust framework for localization strategy, technology, and long-term partnership.
Finding the right software translation service is hard. The biggest players in the game have bulletproof marketing strategies that make each one seem even better than the last. Every per-word rate might seem lower than the one before it. And every service claims to use the best localization technologies currently available on the market.
There’s actually quite a range of capabilities presented by software translation services across all pricing bands. Most are using tech like computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, translation memories (TMs), and style guides. But those basic tools are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the technology you need to build a truly continuous localization engine.
Language service providers (LSPs) are notorious for being untrustworthy. Every couple of years, a localization manager will outsource localization to another service, hoping this one will be better than the last. Maybe the last LSP charged your company thousands in hidden platform fees. Maybe they presented translations that were on point in the beginning but slowly spiraled into unacceptable territory. Heaven knows you’ve been burned before.
If your history with LSPs reads like a bad breakup, it’s time to take appropriate steps to make sure your next partnership is a good one. You need a long-term relationship that’s based on trust, accountability, and transparency.
It’s true that the sooner you can get your product to market, the sooner you’re opening the doors wide to let consumers in. But whether these are English-speaking markets or those you can reach only through translation, quality matters. While speed and low upfront costs might be tempting in the rush to localize, you may not realize how the integrity of your product and your brand are at stake. Choose product translation services carefully with your company’s long-term success in mind.
More than just specs. More than just nuts and bolts. Think about how long it took to develop your brand and perfect your product in the first place—including the language that makes it accessible to users.
Freelance translators deal with a lot. Some project managers assign jobs based on favoritism and familiarity. Sometimes, it’s the case that you get work only if you’re the one responding to their emails the fastest.
You end up wasting time on menial tasks that divert you from the linguistic work you take pride in. Worst of all, you are constantly squeezed into lowering your rates (again, again, and again).
How do you mitigate these challenges?
Most content localization services aren’t being transparent with their offerings or their operations.
Language service providers (LSPs) across the board market themselves as full-scale solutions. But the localization tools they offer range from woefully basic to impressively high-tech. It’s almost impossible to spot the differences without actually sitting down and talking with them.
Even worse, many of the big players in the localization industry still operate behind a thick curtain of obscurity, never revealing to clients what they’re doing behind the scenes with translation, with technology, or in the interests of their own bottom line.
It’s easier said than done: when in Rome, do as Romans do. And what about when in Japan? Or in China? Or in South America? Or all of these places at the same time? Implementing localization strategies has the potential to bog an enterprise down or to elevate it to the next level in global business. Your next steps may mean the difference between stagnation and success.
Connecting with audiences takes more than getting literal translations right. Finessing a translation into messaging that resonates with native speakers and, ultimately, promotes your brand or product is both an art and a logistical process.