Need a translation? Here’s 5 key questions to ask your translation provider

Ordering a translation and can’t decide what language service provider (LSP) to select? You’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 key questions you need to ask your language service provider before ordering a translation from them.

1) How are you managing terminology?

According to translation technology market leader SDL, terminology is the greatest reason of serious customer complaints when the customer decides that the translation is not good enough and has to be done again.

Ask your LSP what terminology management tools they are using, what term approval/rejection workflows they have and how do they plan to ensure that the translation uses the customer’s (i.e. your) key terms. If you get positive answers to these questions, chances are that the delivered translation will be of adequate quality from a terminological point of view.

2) How do you measure quality?

Contrary to what many people think, translation quality is not subjective. With the right tools and procedures, it can be defined, measured, evaluated and analyzed.

Your LSP should be able to explain their quality assessment policy, what quality-related data they gather and what metrics they monitor. Should they be able to provide definitive answers, you can be assured that the quality of your translations will not fluctuate over a longer period of time and that you will be able to rely on your LSP partner.

3) What type of workflow do you suggest for my content type?

Different content types require different approaches. Translating a marketing brochure requires a completely different process than translating product descriptions on e-commerce websites.
How does your LSP approach different text types? Are they offering multiple quality levels based on text type, urgency and target audience? Approaching a low-visibility text, such as a product desciption, in the same manner as a high visibilty text, such as a brochure, means that you are wasting time and money.

4) Are you using machine translation and in what way?

Don’t be afraid of technological progress! Machine translation (MT) can help you drastically reduce costs, provided that it is implemented wisely.

Is your LSP using external MT providers or is it developing their own MT solution? They should also be able to tell you how they collect training data, what their data anonymization procedures are and how private data are handled.

5) How do you handle repetitions in the text?

Computer-aided translation (CAT) tools divide text into smaller segments, (sentences, titles, bullet points etc.) that can be translated separately. Some segments may appear multiple times in the text and CAT tools can automatically insert existing translations to reduce translator’s workload.
Ask your LSP how many repetitions there are in the text, how they handle them, and what kind of discount they can provide based on the number of repetitions.

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