Your company is expanding into international markets. Congratulations! This is a time for celebration. You are preparing to take your business to the next level, but before you throw the company a party there are a lot of logistics to work out. Legal matters galore need to be taken care of and everything from contracts to advertisements will need to be translated into a language that you don't speak or know anything about.
There are several ways to ensure that you obtain accurate translations.
1. Person versus Machine: Your business is too important to leave to the hands of a machine. Yes technology is great and we should use it to our advantage but online translations just can't capture cultural innuendo or even the natural flow of language. For example take the simple sentence, "I am twenty years old" and run it twice through an online translator from English to Spanish and back again. Here's what you end up with.
I am twenty years old.
Tengo veinte años de edad.
I have twenty years of age.
You can still understand the gist of the sentence but a native English speaker will pause to think about the funny phrasing. This distracts from the message you are trying to convey. Some thoughts simply don't translate, a human can adjust with such situations, a computer can't.
2. Native language: A good translator will speak the target language natively. You want someone with a full handle on both the language and culture to take care of you. This can help you avoid potentially expensive mistakes.
3. Writing Skills: Hire someone who can write well in both the source and target languages. Grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph flow all contribute to better communication.
4. Specialization: Hire someone with firsthand knowledge of your business. If you are in the car business, hire a translator that understands cars. Think of it your company as being a third language. Quality translators will speak source language, target language, and business language.
5. Deadlines: Deadlines are important to you and they should be important to your translator. Choose someone who will stick to your time scale.
6. Proofreading: The final stage in any written document is proof reading. The best translators will have a means of proofreading their work. The proofreader should be a second translator who is also native in the target language.
Good language translation is a must in international business, so make sure you check credentials and portfolio's before hiring someone. When hiring you can either hire a free lance translator through an agency or you can hire a translation service. Translation services provide the translator, the proofreader, and are very strict with deadlines. Both options can give you good results, as long as you do your homework and hire the right person or company.
So, going global is probably pretty intimidating, but relax, take one step at a time and get ready to celebrate, all that hard work is paying off and you just might be the next big success.