In 2022, globalization is no longer just a buzzword. Today, the advanced improvements in technology, travel, and internet access directly contributed to making the world one, big marketplace. There are, however, barriers that remain in place even nowadays. Not being able to communicate freely with people who may not speak the same language as you are still a great challenge.
As a result, agencies that supply professional translation services in the UK are becoming more and more popular, not only among businesses and companies, but also among private clients who need to convert their documents, papers, and other materials into another language to use in a foreign country.
Choosing the best provider can however be a tricky and difficult process, especially if you do not have any previous experience working with professional translators. Although being able to find someone who can officially translate and certify your document can be problematic, you can have a better understanding of the process and make it a little easier by simply reading our guide!
Make Sure They are Officially Registered
The very first thing you should do when approaching a translation supplier is to make sure they are actually able to officially translate and certify your documents.
For the translation to be legally recognized, it must be completed by a provider which is registered with an official body in the United Kingdom or abroad. Otherwise, your translated document won’t be recognized by official institutions such as the Home Office or Courts of Law, or educational establishments.
In the United Kingdom, we recognize several official parties that associate translation agencies and freelance linguists. For example, the ATC (Association of Translation Agencies) monitors standards within professional translation companies, and so any agency which is an official member of the ATC must meet very rigorous criteria. Freelance translators, on the other hand, can be members of the CIOL, also known as the Chartered Institute of Linguistics.
Do They Translate Your Language?
Different translation providers may specialize not only in different types of services offered – e.g. written translations, interpreting, localization, etc., but also languages and dialects they cover.
Although the majority of the largest translation companies are able to cover practically all of the major languages, such as French, German, Spanish, or Chinese, it’s important to ensure that the provider you have chosen is actually able to translate your papers into the required language, otherwise, they might provide a semi-accurate translation based on a machine conversion.
This is perhaps especially true if you decide to work with freelance translators, as, unlike agencies, generally speaking, freelancers are able to cover a single language.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews…
In the digital era, online reviews play an important role within the business environment. Often, you can learn a lot about a company or organization simply by looking at their reviews. Are they fast and accurate when it comes to translating documents? Do they offer a wide range of services? Is their customer service professional and friendly?
There are plenty of independent resources, where you should be able to find reviews and feedback about the translation provider you wish to work with.
For example, Google Reviews, Trustpilot, or Good-Companies are only some of the independent review sites that you can visit when searching for the best provider.
Similarly to looking into the company’s reviews, it’s important to also take a look at the past clients of your chosen translation agency to make sure that they can in fact cover documents from your particular business sector or industry.
For example, some translation providers might specialize in converting documents for the legal sector, and so if you wish to translate your company’s website, they might struggle with accuracy and reliability. Marketing translations often require a lot more creative flare from the translator. Frequently, the direct word-for-word conversion simply doesn’t work for advertising or digital content, although it might be perfectly fine within legal documents.
As a result, it’s key to ensure that your chosen supplier offers translations not only by native linguists but also works with translators which have a deeper understanding of your industry and the type of content you wish to convert into another language.
Check Their Turnaround Times
Professional translation services take time. Depending on the content you need to render, it can be a very time-consuming process.
This can be especially true for marketing or digital content, such as websites. The text will not only have to be carefully translated but then also proofread again by a second independent linguist. This is usually done to ensure that any mistakes or types are fully eliminated before presenting the content to your potential clients.
If the turnaround time for your documents seems too good to be true, it may be.
A translation agency that offers to translate your entire website in just a day or two might be using machine translation software.
When approaching the company, make sure that their turnaround times are reasonable. Don’t expect your documents, projects, or data from your platform to be completed within a few hours. Ask the provider whether they use professional human linguists or if they rely on machine translations.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint!
If you need to translate your documents for your business, finding a professional translation provider that you can work with can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
In fact, many companies work with a single language provider for many, many years.
If you partner with an agency, not only they will be able to fully understand your requirements, preferred linguistics, tone, etc. which can be key in keeping a consistent brand image, but they will also create a translations memory, also known as TM.
A TM allows the agency to ‘recycle’ some of the previously translated content to offer much more competitive rates. For example, if your text or content is similar to something you have already translated with them a few years ago, the TM will kick in and let the agency know.
As a result, finding a comprehensive agency that offers a wide range of services and covers several languages will allow your business to successfully partner with them and work together for several years, bringing some fantastic long-term advantages.