Every business wants one thing—growth.
And today, businesses are starting to look past their own borders to achieve that growth. Translation services have become a major partner in this goal, enabling businesses to communicate past language and cultural barriers.
But how exactly do they help?
In this article, we give five major reasons why you should outsource translation to language service providers, and tips on how outsourcing translation services works.
We’ll even throw in five different kinds of translation tasks you can outsource, to give you a full picture of the possibilities.
Interested? Then let’s dive in.
Why outsource translation services?
In order to survive the contemporary business landscape, companies are becoming more agile, and more focused on bringing out the best in their core offerings.
More often than not, language isn’t something that falls under that category. But at the same time, it’s something that businesses seeking global growth can’t ignore.
Consumers around the world prefer businesses that are willing to meet them on their own terms—according to a study by leading market research firm Common Sense Advisory, 65% of consumers prefer to engage with brands that have content in their language, and fully 40% refuse to buy from those that don’t.
As such, it’s clear that language is an important factor in the global growth of businesses, and that companies would do well to keep it into consideration in their expansion strategy. But it’s an investment that’s more often than not expensive, time-consuming, and a drain on manpower to do by themselves.
That’s why they decide to outsource translation services to help fill the gaps.
The most obvious benefit to outsourcing translation, and outsourcing in general, is that it makes things easier for the company to manage. But this isn’t the only advantage that outsourcing can provide. There is added value in outsourcing that helps businesses grow beyond just putting less strain on their resources.
1. You don’t have to build your own team
Assembling a team of translators is hard work.
In general, you need translators for each language pair that you want to work with.
Let’s say you’re an American company looking to expand your business to Europe. You need translators for English to French, English to German, English to Spanish, and so on for different languages in the region.
Translators are primarily bilingual or versed in their native language and another one they spent a lot of time to become fluent in. Perhaps they’re fluent in three languages. It’s rare to find language professionals who can do more than that (and their asking rate will probably be steep).
You’d need at least one translator for each language pair, and possibly more depending on the size of your project. In fact, you may need at least two translators per language pair, so they can check each other’s work for quality assurance.
If you’re trying to build your own in-house team, you’d need to find each one of these translators and have them undergo your hiring process. This can take a long time—unless the pay and benefits are stellar, many translators prefer to work as freelancers or with language service providers rather than be tied to just one company.
You’d also need to ensure that each translator has a consistent flow of work going to them. After all, there’s no point in hiring them if they won’t have anything to do, and they still need to be paid as full members of your staff.
By outsourcing your translation projects, you do away with all of those hiring worries. Translation services already have contact with a diverse range of professional translators in many different languages, and will be able to tap the right ones for your specific projects.
You also end up with greater savings in the long run. Maintaining a permanent language team can be expensive. By outsourcing translation, you will save on costs by spending on a per-project basis.
2. It makes project management easier
Aside from saving you the trouble of maintaining a whole team, outsourcing your language project means that you don’t have to use additional manpower to manage it.
Every team needs a leader, and that leader needs to have the right experience to manage it. Otherwise, the team won’t be able to work at its full potential.
Translation services come with their own project managers who ensure that every step of the project is carried out properly. This includes preparing the material before work is carried out, the translation process itself, quality assurance checks, and ensuring the final output is ready for delivery.
Clients are usually assigned a dedicated account manager who will be the point person for communicating with the translation team throughout the process. This account manager will be your single contact throughout the whole project, who will learn all of your needs and ensure that high-quality output is delivered to you in a timely manner.
All you have to do is to route your instructions through the account manager, who either manages the team as well or is in touch with the project managers. Account managers ensure that all instructions are communicated effectively and followed.
3. You don’t have to spend on expensive translation tools
The work of translation has come a long way in this digital age. Translators are expected to work with ever greater volumes with faster turnaround times in order to keep up with the pace of the industry’s demands.
In order to keep up with this pace, translators use a wide variety of tools to help them work more efficiently. These tools are called computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Below are a few examples.
Translation memories are databases that contain words, phrases, and sentences that have already been translated. This not only allows translators to avoid redundant work but also helps maintain consistency wherever necessary.
Terminology management software
Terminology management software takes things further by helping organize terms that need to be translated in a specific way, such as company-specific language, or technical or scientific terms.
And of course, there are digital dictionaries and thesauruses to provide translators with a quick reference as they go about their work.
Companies that provide translation services would naturally invest in these tools. They also tend to ensure that they are using the most updated versions, as these help their translators work more efficiently.
If you build your own in-house team, you’d need to spend on these tools as well, and more often than not they don’t come cheap.
This is perhaps one of the most well-hidden advantages that come with outsourcing translation. If you choose to hire translators yourself, whether freelancers or your own team, they will not be able to work as well as quickly as translators from a language service provider, without advanced software tools.
By outsourcing translation services, you will benefit from the efficiency that comes from access to these tools without taking on the full cost yourself.
4. Professional translations give you higher quality
Reputable translation services will always make sure to send in the best language professional possible to translate for you.
Why, you ask? It’s in the first word: reputable.
When businesses offer a service, they put their name on the line. A good reputation helps them stand above the rest, especially in a competitive industry.
And language is a highly competitive industry. There are hundreds of small and large enterprises striving to offer the same services, and each has to make an impression on potential clients who want quality
Finding the right translation company
Here’s a little secret: when it comes to quality, size isn’t everything.
The largest names in the industry tend to handle many high-volume, high-value projects, which means yours might not get the right amount of attention. Many others have made a name for themselves in terms of quality and consistency, and more often than not they are also very eager to serve.
If you want to be sure of the quality of any translation services you hire, you can always check their ratings on accredited review sites such as Clutch, Trustpilot, and Goodfirms. Facebook is also a good place to find reviews for businesses.
It’s important to see not only how they rank, but also what other clients are saying about them. There are many companies with high ratings, and it can be difficult to choose from among them. In this case, testimonials can be the deciding factor.
A company with many testimonials is often a good sign. Clients who are very pleased will often leave testimonials with details about what they liked about the service. This would be valuable information in helping you decide between different translation services.
It could also be worth paying attention to negative reviews. These can show where the company could potentially be weak. You should also see how the company responds to such reviews. Is it a canned, generic response? Or are they making genuine steps to reach out and fix their mistakes? A company that does the latter is likely to produce better output, as it means they care about doing things right.
It’s also a good idea to cross-check among different review sites to ensure that you’re getting an accurate picture of the service. Results can vary, after all. Not only that, but you’d also be able to look at a wider range of testimonials from clients in doing so.
5. Translation services offer wider specializations
Translators aren’t just experts in the language. Often, they need to have in-depth knowledge of other fields in order to do their work as well.
Today, a translator might be working with legal documents, financial documents, and scientific papers. They might have to do highly technical translations or ones that require more creative flair.
These are skills that every translator develops differently. The best translators choose a specialization and hone it, or perhaps they already had a background in that field before choosing to become a translator. Either way, each translator has a role they are best suited for, that translators working in a different field cannot match.
Translators of today also need to be adept at translating for different media that language appears in, whether it be websites or apps, subtitles for videos, or even advertising. Writing appropriately for different kinds of media also needs different kinds of expertise.
This wide variety of specializations is one of the biggest strengths that translation services can offer. With a diverse roster of translators who each have their own developed skillset, language service providers are able to quickly match clients with the right professional for their project’s needs.
6. You can focus more fully on your own growth
In the end, this is what it’s really about. Outsourcing any kind of work is a way to cut off all other worries so that you can focus on the things that really matter to your business, which are your products and services. Anything else is secondary to that.
Even so, these aspects of business are still vital to your company’s continued growth. Just because they’re secondary doesn’t mean they aren’t needed anymore.
In the case of outsourcing translation services, for example, taking your business to a global market really does entail taking language and culture into account. It means reaching out to your potential audience on their terms, otherwise, they won’t be drawn to you, no matter how good your products or services are.
There’s no going around it. It’s an investment that you need to make, the only question is where that investment goes. Will you invest it in starting a strong branch of your business that is secondary? Or will you go for expertise that is already there and that you can access just whenever you need it?
If you’re concerned about growing your business, you’d want to put your funds where they can matter. Outsourcing can seem like an expensive short-term investment compared to building your own resources, but by allowing you to focus on what’s important for your business now, you can achieve greater levels of growth more quickly, allowing you to recoup your investment in outsourcing faster than you imagine.
What translation tasks can you outsource?
The conclusion is plain—outsourcing your translation projects to translation services has many benefits. Not only does it help your business save on resources both in terms of manpower and budget, but outsourcing translation also provides a lot of in-depth value that you would have difficulty accessing otherwise.
This is more important than ever, as opportunities for expansion continue to open up for businesses in our ever-globalizing world. Outsourcing translation isn’t just about savings and benefits. It’s a partnership that can help you grasp greater opportunities for growth.
We’re beginning to reach into more abstract territory here, so let’s get back to the practical side of things. We’ve explained why outsourcing translation is beneficial and how it can help businesses grow. But what is the range of possibilities that translation services provide?
What exactly can translators do, and what kind of translation work can clients outsource?
This is, of course, the kind of task most people would be familiar with. Translators work on all sorts of documents every day.
As like mentioned earlier, the kind of documents translators work with can be highly diverse and specialized. There are translators who work on legal documents, financial documents, and official government documents that require certification. They may translate for scientific journals or news publications, or work on documents in the healthcare sector.
Many translate documents in the business sector, for a wide range of industries such as automotive, fashion, manufacturing, and even outsourcing.
And again, each kind of document requires in-depth knowledge in the field, which means translators often choose to specialize. Outsourcing translation services make it easier to find the right person for the job.
Translating websites is less straightforward than you might think.
For one, the translated text needs to work within the confines of the site’s layout, so some graphic and UX design consideration needs to be taken into the work.
Second, the work may entail having to extract all the text to be translated from the website’s code. Many language service providers also have access to professionals who can do this, allowing their translators to focus on translating.
This also means you can outsource work on the entire website, and not just on the text to be translated.
The third is one of the most important things—search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is what helps websites rank on search engines. It’s a finicky process that involves paying a lot of attention to important words and phrases for search.
Because of the precision required in SEO, website translators need to take extra care in their work. Often, they either work with professionals specializing in SEO or have expertise in writing for SEO themselves.
3. Apps and software
Translating for apps and software has a lot in common with translating for websites. It’s very heavy on UX, and the text also needs to be extracted, so translators work alongside technical professionals to get the job done.
Translators may also be involved in more technical translation for apps and software, in the form of code documentation. Translating code documentation helps programmers who speak different languages collaborate better, especially on projects that involve large teams from across the world.
4. Entertainment media
As globalization continues to expand people’s awareness of the world around them, the demand for multilingual entertainment has increased greatly. Movies, TV shows, music, and other forms of content from other countries have become very popular. And the demand continues to rise.
One of the most cost-effective ways to get media content out to a wider global audience, particularly videos, is through subtitles. Voice dubbing is another language service that makes content in different languages more accessible. The demand for both has grown significantly in recent years thanks to the rise of streaming services.
Translating marketing material is one of the most challenging tasks that translation professionals can do. It challenges their ability to think creatively, and to speak in a way that captures an audience’s imagination in a different language.
It is very different from website and app/software translation, where the language professionals can work alongside technicians to fulfill the project. Here, the translator needs to be a marketer as well.
Marketing is one of the biggest sources of translation projects today. It is a critical factor for businesses looking to expand past their origins, and effective use of language is key to success.
Language service providers are a major partner for businesses looking for growth, and outsourcing translation comes with many benefits in terms of the resources that it frees up on one hand, and the wider range of possibilities it opens up on the other.
To make the most of these benefits, businesses should take care to partner with reputable translation services that are able to provide them with the best quality of work and service.
So is your business ready to take on the world?