This guide is designed to help you improve your decision making process when it comes to navigating your options for translating your materials, whether they are intended for the local Australasian or global market. AALC members are welcomed to provide feedback via e-mail.
Are you a …
Government Traveller Charity Service Provider Business Migrant Not For Profit Writer
Multinational Company Bank Financial Services Provider Legal Services Provider
Do you need to …
Interact with your clients sell to customers promote policy inform deal with government export
Then you need a translation
The table below summarises the recommendations of this guide depending on your requirements: ✓ Good choice. ✓ Possible choice, with considerations to be made. X Not recommended
|Your Requirement:||Use Language Service Provider||Use Professional Translator||Use Very Low Cost Translator||Use Bilingual Speaker||Use Google Translate|
|Get the gist of a sentence, a few words||X||X||X||✓||✓|
|Get the gist of a document, form||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Medical, legal, business context||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|Professional quality of text||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|Certification of doc||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|Liability, insurance etc||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|Use of tech for consistency, efficiency||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|Safeguard your corporate image||✓||✓||X||X||X|
Communicating in the recipients’ mother tongue creates buy in that you cannot get in any other way. Whether you are a government agency or social service association, get the whole message across correctly and communicate tax compliance, immunisation benefits. If you are in business, increase your sales potential by having your customers understand your message.
75% of customers want products in their native language.
Mobility and technology are changing the way we all communicate and interact with each other as neighbours and on a global scale. With the rise of multiculturalism, social media, network marketing, smart phone and computing technologies, it has never been easier to get your message out there – and it has never been harder to be heard.
Governments, Services, Not-For-Profits
Communicating in the recipient’s language gets the message across to create awareness and compliance.
In Australia, almost a quarter of the population speaks a language other than English at home – that is 6.4 million people (the most common being Mandarin spoken by 600,000 people) .
In New Zealand, 4% of the population does not speak English and nearly 20% identify as being multi-lingual – communication in their native language is more effective . Add to that large numbers of tourists and business visitors.
Communicate effectively with your target audience.
Businesses, Contents Providers, Exporters
Communicating in the recipient’s language gets business done to contribute to your bottomline.
Whether you need to facilitate communication between employees in-house who speak different languages, or reach customers in new markets, online or on paper, the need for translation is evident for attracting attention and building trust around your brand, your business operations and your products. Consumers respond much more readily to information provided in their own language; not only is it diplomatic and inclusive to engage with them this way, but providing information in specific languages can also be a legal requirement in some countries.
Globally, the language services market has grown at a rate of 7% over the past few years and is worth nearly US$50 billion . Your competitors are busy targeting local markets. Are you?
Some of the largest global markets have low English proficiency.
The Professional Choice: Using a Reputable Language Service Provider
Language Service Providers (LSPs) are much more than translation agencies. Using an LSP can be of considerable benefit and provide you with a full service for all your language needs.
- critical to your brand
- from or into multiple languages
- of large volume
- requiring use of technology
- long term relationship
- value added services
- embedding in supply systems
- preferred providers
- corporate structure
LSPs are in a unique position to bring together people, technology and processes to deliver superior outcomes.
LSPs have access to the right in-house talent and large pool of professional translators who are
- Ensuring confidentiality
- Subject-matter experts
LSPs have the skill and scale to deploy technology effectively and efficiently.
- Translation Memory software ensures consistency across projects and translators and improves the efficiency of the translation
- Desktop Publishing services ensures that the translation is not only accurate but also well presented
- Content Management System integration ensures the translation is correctly rendered when published
- Machine Translation systems to prepare translations for human verification
LSPs provide significant project management expertise combined with established quality assurance processes, as well as technical expertise and linguistic knowledge in order to complete translation projects of any size in a timely manner. LSPs also have the scope to offer value added services related to translations. LSP project management:
- Client feedback
People + Technology + Processes: client outcomes with superior return on investment
The Language Service Provider Added Value Chain
A dedicated person at the LSP (the Project Manager) will assume responsibility for bringing all the strands of your project together, from accurately scoping its size and timeline, to bringing in trusted translators with the correct specialist knowledge for your particular text.
Having a dedicated person screen and select the best translators, ensuring their availability and suitability, is especially valuable in projects where a text is going into multiple languages and there may be a large team involved.
The Project Manager will also be your point of contact, managing the file handling, formatting, drafts, questions, stakeholder feedback and translator queries until completion and delivery.
LSPs have size and skills to employ technology efficiently.
Translation Memory (TM) and Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools to ensure consistency within and with past translation as well as across translators. Well-managed TM and CAT tools ensure that translations are consistent even if done by multiple translators.
Many LSPs have Access to Machine Translation (MT) technology, if warranted by size of job, and the necessary resources and skills for post editing.
LSPs ensure the quality of translations first and foremost by utilising a trusted team and having good relationships with their translators, who are open to feedback and criticism. Translations are routinely proofread and any necessary corrections or alterations can be ironed out.
In the case of multi-language projects, the LSP will ensure consistency of delivery across languages, and will also act as a communications consultancy, alerting you to any potentially culturally unacceptable elements of your text or images as they arise.
Often the process does not end here. Text in new language is shorter / longer and doesn’t fit intended layout anymore. Special characters appear funny on a website, or on print. Subsequent small changes to documents throw everything out.
Many LSPs offer Desktop Publishing Services (DTP) and have experience in the target language. No need to learn DTP nuances in other languages and fight text to fit the layout. Receive your translation professionally presented.
Many LSPs also offer Content Management Services, rendering the translations appropriately in the target language, and managing subsequent changes.
LSPs have the size and scope to be part of your supply chain.
Quick Technology Reference Guide:
- Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools are tools designed to assist a translator in doing his/her work with increased efficiency, accuracy and consistency.
- Translation Memory (TM) software remembers word, phrases and sentences and previously translated and offers them as a suggestion to the translator for review.
- Machine Translation (MT) uses algorithms and large databases to draft large volume translations for subsequent review by an editor.
Using a Professional Freelancer:
Professional translators have the writing, research and presentation skills to produce translations that are fit for purpose. They are trained, their skills are tested and they continue to participate in professional development programs aimed at language professionals throughout their careers.
Many successful freelancers will specialise in a particular niche of the industry, such as legal, medical, engineering, scientific or technical translations, and most will translate exclusively from other languages into their native language, although there are still many who can translate in both directions. Some linguists come to the profession through studying and working in a specialised area combined with a multicultural background, so a relevant degree can also be a good indication of ability if you require a specialist in a certain niche.
Certification alone denotes a professional level of competency although not necessarily a level of quality assurance. Freelance translators operate individually so you may wish to contact several for quotes in order to get a feel for them and their own quality assurance processes, their responsiveness and professionalism.
Using a freelancer requires you to consider their accountability and liability if something goes wrong; you can check to see if they have professional indemnity insurance, and ask about their quality assurance processes such as proofreading and revision.
Using a Very Low Cost Translator: In these challenging economic times, it’s important to be cost-conscious, but getting the best value for your money involves more than just being able to identify a price that is too high — it’s also about knowing when a price is too low. We know this instinctively; products and services being sold far below commonly accepted rates naturally raise our suspicions. When we see a too-good-to-be-true price, we immediately wonder “What’s the catch?”
Using a Bilingual Non-Professional Translator: Using a bilingual non-professional to work on translations can be done in circumstances where the quality of the translation is not paramount. Typically, this would happen when the translation is only needed for the purposes of gaining a general understanding of a text and if it is not to be used in an official capacity. While bilingual people are able to take their own thoughts and ideas and express them orally in two different languages, they are not necessarily trained at grasping the meaning of a text and rendering it accurately, effectively and without distortion into another language.
Quick and Easy – Google Translate and similar online tools: Google Translate is such a well known service that even though it can produce some very strange turns of phrase, it should be included as an option if you just want to understand the gist of a few words here and there. Even then, it can produce some aberrant results, so watch out! Google Translate looks for patterns in millions of online documents to generate its best guess at a translation without human involvement.
Checklist to a successful translation project
- Consider translations right from the beginning of a project, rather than as an afterthought when your project is ready in its original language. LSPs are happy to assist.
- What does the translation need to be.
- Rough understanding of text
- Translation: communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text.
- Certified translation: translation that is certified to be accurate by a person qualified to do so.
- Transcreation: adapting a text from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.
- Identify the purpose of your translation.
- Who will use the translation?
- What do you need the translation to be (certification, transcreation, rough understanding)?
- Where will the translation be used?
- When do you need the translation?
- Why do you need the translation?
- What is your budget?
- Use this guide to choose your preferred type of provider.
- Select your provider on the basis of your requirements. Whilst cost will be a determinant, it should not be the only selection criteria.
- Work with your provider. When working with professionals and LSPs there is things you can do to aid the process.
- Plan ahead and start the translation early
- Discuss with your provider the intended use and purpose of the work to be translated
- Provide materials in editable form (eg text files), rather than scanned images
- Have reference materials ready, including past translations and Translation Memories if consistency with prior work is important
- Prepare to manage 360 degrees feedback between the translator, project manager, yourself and other stakeholders in your organisation
- Receive your translation and start to communicate with your stakeholders and customers.
- If you are satisfied with your deliverable, consider a longer-term business relationship with your language service provider.
Distribution and intellectual property: Translation Buyers’ Guide, version 1. This document may be distributed freely in one of the forms published by the AALC without changes. © AALC, 2018-2020. www.aalc.co.nz
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