15 reasons why it’s important to choose the right translation company
Back in 2009, global banking giant HSBC spent an estimated £6.8m rebranding its private banking arm. Their previous ad campaign’s strapline ‘Assume Nothing’ was mistranslated in some regions as ‘Do Nothing’ – obviously not the message the bank was intending.
It is important to note that language errors don’t just cost money. In 1977 US President Jimmy Carter visited Poland on a trip that was remembered more for linguistic gaffes than East-West relations. On tour the President said he was happy to be in Poland: his translator said he was happy to grasp the country’s private parts. The media had a field day.
History (and the internet) is littered with examples of how mistakes in interpreting and with mistranslations/language errors have resulted in costing countries, companies and individuals dear. Some are funny – others tragic – you can read about other examples here but one thing is certain: choosing the right translation company for your needs is crucial if you want to appear credible, reputable and professional… and avoid potentially costly mistakes.
However, many organisations do not seem to view translation services as having liabilities, which is strange bearing in mind that documents requiring translation can often include court documents or papers required for high-level international meetings. Even documents needed for information purposes need to be completely accurate.
The risks of choosing the wrong translation company
The bottom line is poor translation comes with risks. These include:
* wasted time
* wasted resources
* monetary losses
* legal implications
* accusations of malpractice
* loss of credibility and professional standing/reputation
* delayed treatment/diagnosis in medical cases
* delayed (and potentially lost) legal cases
In an era of cost-cutting it’s tempting to simply look for the cheapest deal when searching for a language service provider. But as the above examples illustrate, this is a very risky strategy. When words matter, translation mistakes can have serious consequences, and as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. ‘Good value’ isn’t necessarily the same as ‘good service’.
“Selecting the right translation company is vitally important and it’s a decision that cannot be based on price alone,” says Robert Manik of Language Link UK Ltd. “Any company can say they have a unique selling point or that they can provide X,Y and Z, but when looking to appoint it’s crucial to meet the director or MD in order to establish whether you can build a strong, on-going working relationship. You can also use this time to establish that you really are getting the right kind of service that you and our business needs: with no sacrifices made in terms of quality and experience.”
Benefits of choosing the right translation service for your needs
Getting the right fit, right from the off, brings multiple benefits. These include:
* concise, accurate translations
* time and money saved
* the avoidance of confusion and misunderstandings
* improved safety/efficiency/performance
* risk management/avoidance of professional liability claims
* improved communications with customers, clients and employees
* guaranteed professionalism and customer service
What to look for when choosing a translation agency
When you are looking for professional language services a well-established, experienced, professional translation company may not necessarily be the cheapest option, but will:
* provide a certified translation service
* have vetted and reviewed processes adhering to Quality Assurance such as BS EN 15038:2006
* adhere to the highest levels of confidentiality and be willing to sign your NDAs in addition to their own confidentiality agreements
* offer an encrypted, secure service to ensure your files and information are safe at all times
* have a good track record of providing language services in your sector
* be prepared to work alongside you with a personal, tailored service
“Cutting corners to save what is often a small amount of money can end badly,” says Robert Manik. “And by spending a little time in the early days you can save headaches long term. Know who you’re dealing with, understand what they do (and in some cases, don’t do) and take the time to meet with management-level staff to ensure a smooth, complication-free service. By doing it this way, you will know which senior personnel to go to should an issue arise.”
Robert Manik is Managing Director of the full-service translation and interpretation agency, Language Link UK Ltd and he’s been in the translation services industry for over 20 years. If you’d like to find out more about choosing the right agency for your needs, drop him a line here