It’s good to talk – how to get the best from your translation service

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It’s good to talk – how to get the best from your translation service

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We recently talked about the rise of AI, and how new technologies are improving machine translation. 

But what about other ways that technology is changing how people work with translators?

No matter what sector you work in, you’ve probably heard (or made) the same complaint. Everything is so fast these days. There’s never any time to think, and everything has to be done yesterday or it’s too late…

Sound familiar?

If you can take a minute or two, let’s think about how that impacts on how we work with other people


Translation is communication

Language is about people, and most people communicate better with each other when they know each other, and there is some kind of relationship. 

But we’ve all got used to doing business, and living much of our lives without ever talking to another human. We use the internet for research, and can buy many of the products and services we want online. Many companies actively make it difficult to speak to a real person, steering us towards chat bots, FAQs and help pages in the hope that we can resolve our own problem (yes, we hate that too!). Even when we go into a supermarket, we’re often guided towards self-checkouts, and only get to speak to one of the dwindling numbers of staff if there’s a problem. 

How much nicer is it when we’re on holiday? We might take a trip to the local market, take a few minutes to browse, and practise our Spanish/Italian/Greek with the person who wants to tell us the local way to prepare that unfamiliar, knobbly fruit?

It’s unrealistic to imagine we can all do business as though we were on holiday, but taking the time to talk can be really valuable.

As Rob says. “We had an email enquiry from a new customer the other day, for quite a substantial piece of translation work.  It was a complex project, with lots of variables, and with our experience we knew that there could be several things needed. A quick phone call would have clarified it. But the customer wouldn’t speak on the phone, and would only communicate by email.”

“We understood,” says Rob. “Maybe they were worried about getting a hard sell (which just isn’t us). Maybe just busy. But it’s really frustrating when it’s the best way for us to help!”

We got a reply to our quote to say that we seemed a bit expensive…we pride ourselves on being competitive so that was puzzling. Finally we managed to get hold of the potential client and run through things on the phone. 

At that point it became clear that the competitive quotes were missing a few things that the customer was going to need further along. Once we were all talking the same language (pardon the pun) we turned out to be not only the most transparent and comprehensive, but also the most competitive.

So our advice if you’re looking for translation, interpreting or transcription services, is to take a deep breath and pick up the phone, especially if you’re new to commissioning these services, or not sure exactly what the process is.

Talk it through. An experienced translation service will be able to ask the right questions, guide you through what you need, make sure you know what you need to provide, and what you’ll get at the end. A few minutes now could save you time and money later.

Plus, if you call us at Language Link UK, you’ll discover that we’re genuinely interested in what you need to achieve, and it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Fancy a chat?