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Corporations: Why You Should Consolidate Your Third-Party Translation Costs

October 10, 2018

When doing business globally, it’s not uncommon for international corporations to employ an assortment of law firms to meet different local and regional legal needs. In doing so, a great deal of money is inevitably spent on legal translation services for cross-border or multi-country dealings.

Oftentimes, companies simply leave these legal translations to their attorneys’ offices to handle. While this may seem the simplest solution, it actually forfeits an opportunity to simultaneously keep costs under control and ensure absolute quality across all legal translations. This is where a centralized language service provider can make all the difference.

Three downsides to uncoordinated legal translations

A corporation that allows outside counsel to handle its legal translation work faces three distinct challenges:

1.  Cost — We know of one corporation whose third-party attorneys contracted 72 different translation services in 2017 alone. That’s a significant annual spend. Unfortunately, with translations spread out in this way, a corporation is left with no chance to benefit from the discounts that such a hefty billing should merit.

2.  Quality — With each law firm (presumably) vetting and hiring its own translators, the corporation has no way to guarantee consistent terminology or accuracy in the translations upon which its business activities depend. In addition to bearing the potential for undermining the success of current activities, imprecise translations in legal documents can lead to significant future problems. As has been proven time and again, word choice can mean everything in litigation and, with each local law firm hiring a different translator, the corporation lacks the means to comprehensively mitigate such risks.

3.  Vetting — Lastly, there is no way to be confident that third-party agents are selecting translators strictly on the basis of quality and pricing, and not due to some unstated relationship that has nothing to do with the corporation’s interests.

Five benefits of a consolidated translation strategy

A corporation that chooses to consolidate its legal language services under a single LSP benefits in the following five ways:

1.  Translation projects gain enhanced transparency — On a micro level, the corporation gains the ability to track the progress of translations during production, and to make last-minute changes should a legal strategy shift occur. On a macro level, the large amount of work being tracked across the organization, when combined, can qualify for significant cost savings.

2.  Accountability becomes straightforward and simple — By selecting a certified translation service that has rigorous internal quality control processes, the corporation recovers control of translation quality, thus ensuring that all legal translations are produced at the highest level and with the maximum protection as they guard against future issues.

3.  The corporation gains control of consistency — Corporations can work with LSPs to create customized glossaries that will ensure the constant and correct use of preferred terminology for products and other common references, in every relevant language.

4.  Translation memory discounts — Over time, an LSP will be able to incorporate dedicated translation memory tools for further cost reduction through the efficient re-use of previously translated material. The longer the relationship between the corporation and the LSP, the larger the company’s translation memory grows and the greater the savings that can be achieved.

5.  The LSP can provide guidance — An LSP’s account services may be able to lead the corporation through each project, consulting on best practices and providing advice that helps ensure friction-free, strong, and successful legal translations.

Taking control of translations

International corporations who use outside counsel can make use of these benefits without making any difficult internal changes or creating any additional work for counsel. Simply choose a reliable and experienced LSP to handle organization-wide translations and then tell each law firm under contract to obtain all future legal translation services from that LSP. Outside counsel can instruct the LSP on your behalf, which will immediately achieve greater efficiency, consistent quality, and cost savings for your corporation.