When Is It Time To Change Your Translation Agency?

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What you say as a company can speak volumes to your customer – no matter where they're found on a map.

Reaching international markets comes with its own set of challenges, with the need for a host of translated collateral in your marketing arsenal. So, your relationship with a translation agency is key to being heard the world over.

If you’re at a sticking point with your agency, it’s not necessarily time to throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’. I’m here with some tried and tested advice on what’s essential for your translation needs so you can ask the question: is it time for a change?

Turnaround Times
Have you found that your translation agency always pushes back on your requested delivery date?

Sometimes it is simply impossible to produce high quality work unless you have time, a healthy budget, or both.

However, if you find that your agency is often late or doesn’t seem to understand why you are asking for a specific date, it may be time to move on and find a partner with industry experience that understands your targets.

Industry Specific Linguists
After nearly 12 years in the industry, there is one phrase I have heard a lot from clients: “My terminology is really specific and highly unusual”.

This can be the case, but don’t despair. It’s unlikely (although not impossible) that someone else hasn’t produced content for your industry in a language other than yours. This means we can confidently find translators across the world who areindeed familiar with your terms – but is your agency using them?

A great agency should have a constantly moving, organic recruitment process where they have real conversations (via video link, for example) with linguists around the world, to ensure they have the correct resources. They must also be able to react quickly to any requirement that may be more out of the ordinary…

Translation is a digital industry. There may be some resulting formats that are hard copy media but essentially, for the parts that your agency is getting involved in, it’s all digital.

But your whole relationship needn’t be…

Now I like the efficiency of an email as well as the next person, but picking up the phone and talking through your issues is far better. Having a dedicated Project Manager is key to effective communications – especially if they’re on hand to talk whenever you need.

Who is the human being in your agency who knows your brand inside out and can offer proactive suggestions to make your life easier? If you don’t know, find an agency that wants to do this for you.

Privacy and Security
Any business, let alone your translation agency, should have their confidentiality and technical security sewn up.

Great agencies will be all over this – test them! Ask questions about where your data is stored and how it is communicated.

There will be areas in which you may need to request additional security (bearing in mind that the translation industry standard is sending content via email) but your agency should respond well to this, given its importance.

If it doesn’t, then securing your content is essential and a change is your best course of action.

It’s All About The Money…
We’re all in business, so we all must cover costs and hopefully make profit. My point here isn’t about finding the cheapest agency – we all know that will result in bad translations.

However, your Account and/or Project Manager should always understand your side of the process, so that they deliver value for money, tailored to your specific requirements.

Do your budgets change throughout the year? Are they set per market, per product or both? How much are you likely to spend over the next 12 months?

The answers to these questions should enable your agency to provide you with their best deals – and like any business, the more you commit to them, the better prices they should offer.

It’s time for a change of translation agency if they don’t deliver on time and on budget with culturally astute content. If you want to discover more about how what’s needed for effective translation then download our free eBook.

If you need tailored advice about your translation needs, then contact me on 0114 470 1075 or le@talkingheads.co.uk.

Laurianne, Director, Talking Heads.