Official Translation Services: Know Before You Buy
Do you know the Spanish version of the word “blog”?
But a number of translation websites claim that it’s “informática,” which other sites then translate back to English as “computer science.”
ACSI Computer Science: The Computer Science about Top Translation Services
You can see how well that works out.
The Value of Official Translation Services
Caption: When it comes to official translation, there is no substitute for a top-tier translating company.
Last week, we saw a similar scenario play out in the recent U.S. healthcare website debacle (albeit on a much larger scale).
In that instance, the Spanish version of healthcare.gov was telling users, “IF YOU CAN FIND: GET COSTS REDUCED.”
We’re not sure what users were supposed to find in order to get costs reduced, but we’ll tell you what they probably didn’t find – the information they needed.
Here’s why top translation companies need to be involved in projects with multiple languages, and what you should look for before you buy from them:
Bilingual or linguist? A bilingual person is not necessarily a linguist who studies foreign languages at an accredited institution and is certified in the linguistics of that language. When official translation is important to your project, the services of a linguist are your best bet.
There’s power in three: Professional translation should include editions from two linguists, with a third linguist who is focused on proofreading each edition for accuracy.
2,000 words per day: Perhaps you’ve visited websites that promise to translate 10,000 words in a day – or maybe you’ve even used one. Top translation companies that employ real human beings for plain language can complete approximately 2,000 words in one day. Rule of thumb: quality over quantity.
Audience consideration: Does your translation company factor the demographics and sociographics of your target market before translating? If not, then you could end up using American Hispanic idioms with a Mexican Hispanic audience, which can differ greatly.
Machines cannot replace professional linguists: The healthcare.gov problem discussed earlier in this article was due to computer-generated translations. Only human translators can help you communicate in plain and proper language that real people will understand.
Last-Minute Should be Your Last Resort: Official translation services take time, so plan ahead and coordinate the process with a top-tier translation agency. Rush jobs are possible but are often accompanied by unnecessary and exorbitant fees.
Communicating in another language presents enough barriers; with these official translation services buyer tips, you can be sure your agency isn’t one of them.