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5 Common Translation Pain Points & How to Overcome Them

Your translation project has to be completed on time, on budget, and with flawless accuracy and precision. Content must be properly localized for the target audience, and both the meaning and intent of the original must be preserved. Finally, the translations must be clear and comprehensible. Because so much has to go right, it’s easy to worry about what could go wrong. After 17 years in the translation business, we know that there are common pain points that make partnering with an LSP (language service provider) frustrating, time consuming, or even anxiety inducing.

To help combat any stress you might encounter during your next project, we’ve outlined five common translation pain points along with practical solutions for how to deal with them. We hope this little cheat sheet helps you move into the New Year with confidence when it comes to your 2018 translation projects.

1.  High costs

If your LSP doesn’t explain what services and steps are included in your translation, any price may appear high, and you won’t be able to perform an apples-to-apples cost comparison between two vendors. One provider may include proofreading and editing as a standard part of the translation process, another vendor may not. You should always ask what you are paying for. A reputable translation company should be able to provide an itemized quote broken down by language, word count, and process steps. Make sure everything in the quote is something your project actually needs. For example, mirror-image formatting is important for client-facing documents, but for internal purposes, translating text only might be sufficient.

2.  Long turnaround times or missed deadlines

First, make sure to partner with an LSP that has a proven track record of delivering work on time. If your project has a tight deadline, ask them if they can help you identify any project areas where time can be saved.

Second, look for a company that offers a secure online portal. A portal allows you to check the status of your project from anywhere at anytime, so you can track progress and confirm that your project will be delivered by the deadline.

Third, it’s best to use a company that provides a dedicated account manager who you can collaborate with to ensure that all deadlines are met.

3.  Quality concerns

If you aren’t fluent in the target language, two forms of security can help ensure that you are receiving a high-quality translation from your LSP. First, make sure to hire a translation service that has a reputation for quality and that works with leading companies and brands. Second, only work with a service that is ISO-certified. ISO 9001:2015 is a recognized worldwide quality standard that requires regular auditing and reviews of a company’s quality processes. Only firms with a reliable quality management system qualify for this stringently enforced certification.

4.  Constant content updates

If you update your website on a regular basis, keeping everything current from your company’s CMS (Content Management System) can be a nightmare. This is where a translation proxy service (TPS) can make a huge difference. TPS is a technology that acts as an intermediary between your original English website and the various foreign-language versions. The proxy works as a layer on top of the original website that dynamically swaps source language content for the translated content that your end users need. Instead of localizing the content within your CMS, this content is pulled from translation memory stored in the TPS repository for your website. This system is a huge time saver that allows your end users to browse online content in their own language without you needing to re-translate a webpage every time an update is made.

5.  Projects involving multiple languages/countries

When you are dealing with large projects involving multiple languages, countries or products, it is critical to partner with a translation service that can handle complex, multilayered projects with many moving parts. Ask for a dedicated project manager and a single point of contact, as well as clear timelines. Also, keep in mind that for big localization projects, translation is just the beginning. You may also need other services like multilingual desktop publishing (DTP), voiceovers, post-production and more. Ideally, the LSP that you hire will offer these additional services, along with the expertise and experience to help guide you through the process as painlessly as possible.