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How to streamline the translation process

By Neil Gauld, 

Streamline your translation process – pronto!

If you haven’t already centralised your translation services, it is highly likely that inefficient translation processes are holding back your business. Using multiple translation services providers – including inhouse resources – exposes your business to challenges surrounding turnaround time, quality control and time spent managing multiple people and businesses. Not to mention financial inefficiencies around variable costs. Let’s look at why and how you should streamline your translation process.

Why you should streamline your translation process

Each time you approach a translation services provider, you are likely to be presented with the same options. They will offer you one or all of the following:

  • High-quality, timely translation at a price
  • Affordable, high-quality translation with a later delivery time
  • Fast, affordable translation of a lower quality

It is rare to find a translation services provider who can consistently deliver on all three – time, cost and quality. So, once you find a translation services partner who can, hang onto them like gold dust, and centralise your translation processes. As the saying goes, don’t water the weeds.

The best technology for translation memory

Your translation services partner will take responsibility for managing and updating your translation memory data, so you can make efficiencies on repeat translations, speeding up future productivity and reducing translation costs. Check out this blog: What is translation memory and how does it work?

Centralised terminology glossary management

Similarly, your translation services partner will manage your glossaries, ensuring consistency of brand and industry terminology, even when different translators are used on different projects. You might find the “Your terminology glossary” section of this blog useful: How to write translation-ready copy

You know what you’re getting and when

With one supplier you know what to expect, when, how and at what cost. You avoid the murky waters of the unknown, which will make your life a lot easier and your translation quality a lot more consistent.

How to streamline your translation process

There are four key steps to streamlining your translation process.

Get manager and stakeholder buy-in

Work with your translation services partner to build a business case for management buy-in to this consolidated, longer term, cost-saving strategy. If you can demonstrate simply the increased quality and reduced costs that come with centralising your translation costs, you’ll find it much easier to secure a translation budget.

Be clear when you present your case that cost-cutting attempts such as free translation services – (Google Translate, for example) and in-house staff with knowledge of your required languages, will only create frustrations and quality issues which could jeopardise your brand. Ultimately choosing free translation or in-house staff can end up costing you more if you end up losing business or missing out on new business.

Take a look at this blog: The risks of using your bilingual colleague for business translations and this one: How can I be sure of getting a good quality translation?

Other stakeholders may include heads of departments such as finance, HR, legal and marketing – as well as any number of your organisation’s business lines. You’ll often find that they’re all using different translation services when the need arises. Consolidating them will cut costs right across the business. You could be the hero of the day.

Refine your translation strategy

What is your translation strategy? Maybe you don’t have one, in which case now is a good time to write one. If you do, refine it. Analyse your market and think about what languages are important for your business, and which materials require translating as a priority. Work out timings and deadlines.

If, like most businesses, your website is your strongest lead generation platform, then prioritise website localisation and multilingual SEO. Discuss your strategy with your translation services partner. Your account manager will advise you on options and realistic timeframes.

Define what a successful translation project looks like

Determine some targets so you can monitor quality assurance, consistency and whether deadlines are being met. A service level agreement (SLA) is key.

Choose the right translation services partner for your business

Know what you need in terms of for example quality, security, costs and technology. Identify your priorities and choose a partner that can match them, and help you succeed in what you want to achieve.

Remember Henry Ford’s words? “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

Get in touch if you’d like to chat about consolidating your translation projects – we know our onions and we’re happy to help.

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