This may be a question you are considering when you are watching your budget and not sure of the benefits of using an external translation provider for the translation of your content. Perhaps you have hired a marketing firm to help you with your strategy. Many companies come across this when they acquire other companies and want to come together as one organization so they put a strategy in place to find the common purpose, values and behavior of the new larger organization. Because those companies joining together are in locations other than the U.S., it will be necessary to translate the strategic collateral so that you can communicate this to the various organizations. So what is the value of engaging an external translation provider for this task as opposed to reaching out to the various associates in those organizations to provide you with the translation.
An external translation provider helps you with success in localization maturity
Organizations benchmarking their success with Localization Maturity can rely on objectives we offer in the Global Readiness Scorecard in the area of Strategic Readiness. The main objective that would support an organization relying on the expert services of an external translation provider would be “Control and ownership of messaging to protect your brand reputation and identity.” In a SWOT analysis, we look at opportunities and threats. The opportunity with this objective is to centralize and set expectations for which concepts you want communicated and subsequently translated. While your local affiliates or associates can be valuable in the review process to identify specific terminology to your organization in their language, they can also be a threat if they have too much influence over the messaging and rewrite it or change the concepts you thought you had agreed to in the English strategy concept stage. How are you to evaluate what your associates may have translated? Are you sure that they have not misunderstood a concept and perhaps introduced a potential for negative impacts on the brand identity which may leave you open to liability at the most or at the very least, a missed opportunity.
An external translation provider gives you a partner
The benefits of an external translation provider would give you a partner that focuses on the mechanics of good writing, grammar and voice. You may still engage your associates to review but your translation provider can then review those edits and provide you with commentary in English to let you see what edits have been made. You may decide to reject any edits where there has been a change to the meaning of the concept or an elimination of copy that you felt was important to include. A well managed client review process can definitely add to the quality of the overall translation process.
The other objective to focus on for the benefit of using an external translation provider is “To customize your strategy for communication in each market.” The Initial translations of approved copy remove the heavy lift for stakeholder assets or associates to translate everything. It also allows engagement of assets to identify cultural aspects of their locale which create opportunities for the client to differentiate themselves from the competitors. The external translation provider is to focus on overall structure and communication of all concepts in the English.
Many clients turn to a professional language service provider when they experience pain within their processes or with another provider. You can’t change what has happened in the past but you can learn from it to improve on future outcomes so it may be worth it to investigate a new language service provider before the pain!
So if it’s about budget, you may want to think of the costs of getting it wrong and the impact on your organization. It is best practice overall to engage your associates in the development of the English copy first so they have buy in. We find this eliminates them deleting copy or revising it. Communication of “approved” copy is key here to also ensure they do not change it. You can learn more about eliminating pain points in the translation process here.
As a translation provider, we are a partner in your success and we bring a variety of tools to ensure that. Give us a call to see if we are the right fit for your team.