If you’re on the lookout for a translation agency or partner, there’s no shortage of options. Many agencies boast super-speedy translations, sometimes at an extremely cheap price. It may be difficult to identify a good translation partner - one who is able to deliver a professional, reliable and accurate service.
Don’t make a decision based on promises of unbelievably low-priced translations, done at breakneck speed.
Here are five key hallmarks of a good translation partner - one that will be able to deliver quality, accuracy and consistency:
1. Mother tongue translation
A translated text needs to read authentically - as if it had been created in the target language. Good translation partners will go to every length to ensure this. As such, a good translation agency will guarantee that its translators only work into a language of which they are a native speaker. This is the translator’s mother tongue - the one they grew up speaking.
Irrespective of how proficient someone is at writing in a non-native tongue, there are usually giveaway signs that someone is operating in a second language. Writing in a native tongue, on the other hand, gives the translator the strongest possible grasp of vocabulary and command of language - and allows them to create a 100% authentic translation.
If you weren’t already convinced, we’ve actually written a whole blog on the mother tongue’s importance for professional translation.
2. Subject matter expertise
If your translation project is for a pneumatic drill instruction manual into Canadian French, a good translation partner will ensure that the translator used is from French-speaking Canada, but also has expert engineering knowledge in the relevant technical field.
So, coupled with ‘mother tongue translation’, any translation company worth their salt will ensure that the translators working on your project have impeccable subject matter expertise. You want industry experts working on your essential documentation, marketing materials, product brochures and safety details; this guarantees that translated material contains all the correct technical terminology.
3. Expert project management
A good translation company will be prompt and professional in communication with all of its stakeholders. They will assign an account manager to your translation project; this person will, ideally, be a postgraduate linguist themselves with plenty of experience managing and directing complex translation assignments.
This person will prepare and assign your project to the most suitable translator(s), and work closely with them. A good translation company will have project managers who are able to facilitate a highly-accurate translation delivered to an agreed deadline, which doesn’t risk compromising on quality.
A good translation partner will invest in a specialist project management system that guarantees that deadlines are met and the project runs on budget. For the client, this makes the translation process a seamless, stress-free experience.
A good translation partner will make the effort to secure accreditation and certification. You know you’re probably not dealing with a rogue agency when you see ISO9001 accreditation. ISO9001 demonstrates that the agency complies with international quality management standards in its entire business process - and certifies that you’re dealing with a professional outfit.
Membership of translation trade bodies can prove credibility, too: look out for the ATC (Association of Translation Companies) in the UK, as well as the EUATC (European Union of Associations of Translation Companies). Membership or affiliation to other relevant trade institutions or organisations can never be a bad thing.
5. Sensible use of technology
A good translation agency will make a careful decision to invest in the latest technologies to boost their work. The use of this technology affects how translations are carried out - and can save time, money and boost accuracy when done correctly.
One such piece of technology is SDL Trados® translation memory technology. This isn’t machine translation; it’s software that assists professional translators in their work. SDL Trados® incorporates translation memory technology to increase the speed, consistency and accuracy of translations. This type of technology accommodates all manner of file formats, including those from complex design programs.
At Alexika, we provide a professional and reliable high-quality translation service, and have been doing for over 20 years. As you’d expect, all of our translators are experienced, certified native speakers of their target languages. They have all the latest cutting-edge technology and subject matter knowledge at their disposal, co-ordinated by an experienced team of project managers. Get in touch to discuss your next translation project!