Ever been confused about where to insert the screws for your new dresser drawer? You’re pulling your hair out because the translation of the instructions doesn’t make any sense! You wonder why the manufacturer didn’t use professional translation services to write them.
On a more serious note: we need all types of personal and professional communications to be in the language a person uses. It’s unacceptable when they’re not. There are many translation services available, so there’s no excuse.
At INGCO International, we receive many questions about how to get business documents translated into other languages. Let’s deep dive into the whole world of professional translation services and answer those questions. First, we’ll define what we’re talking about.
What are Translation Services?
Your information can be in any format. For example, different file types or different ways of presenting information such as braille, screen reader scripts, subtitles, or an app.
Top Translation Service Companies are Skilled in all Formats and Languages.
- Your contract to send to a supplier
- A French datasheet needed by your engineer in India
- Your prize-winning German novel that your publisher wants to co-publish in Brazil
- Your office rules to suit a multicultural staff
- A website, app, presentation, or user manual
All of these tasks are done by translation services.
Why are we stressing translation services? After all, it would save you upfront costs to use a colleague who speaks the language.
The chief reason is that translation is quite a technical task. Your fluent speaker is not necessarily a good translator. For instance, what if they don’t quite understand some part of what they’re translating? How will that affect the outcome for you?
- Ethics of translating (not bringing in their own views)
- Legal issues involved (What can you say or not say? What’s suitable for the target country?)
- Culture where the language is spoken (e.g., South America, where several countries speak Spanish)
- Idioms of the target language (usually the translator’s own language)
- Business context of the original document, video, or spreadsheet (most translators will be subject matter experts – SMEs – in a particular arena, as well as translators).
What’s the Difference Between Translating and Interpreting?
There’s been a huge rise in the use of interpreters and translators recently, due to the growth of global ecommerce. Yet the difference between these two titles can be confusing – because interpreters are translating, in one sense. How so? What does each offer?
Interpreters work in a live situation. They translate what they hear a few seconds later into the target language. In that few seconds, they’ve considered the meaning, the idioms of the first language, the culture that will make sense in the second language – and the demeanor of the speaker!
Quite a task! And the most noticeable things include their:
- Speed of response
- Accurate reflection of the atmosphere in the room
- Inability to write anything down or look anything up
- Inability to consult with a colleague
- Risk of making a slip-up (this goes with the job!)
Overall, interpreting is nearly instant, and pretty much “one and done.”
In contrast, your translator at the translation service will not only be an SME in your business arena, but also have the chance to carefully study the text you gave them.
They can then use their skills to make an accurate translation, using revisions and edits. In addition, they can, when necessary, consult dictionaries and their colleagues.
What they produce for you will be of a very high, “finished” quality. It’s often accompanied by a certificate guaranteeing that the translation is accurate. Translating and interpreting share some similar skills, but there are significant differences.
Why are Language Translation Service Specialists Important?
Anyone who’s studied a language at school will remember trying to learn how and when to use certain words and phrases and not others.
A translation service will, therefore, have skilled fluent native speakers for your task. These translators will also be fluent in the language of your source material.
In addition, they’ll have expertise and familiarity with your business or industry sector.
In other words, they don’t just put your original words into another language. Professional translators are specialists who understand the intention of the original. They then make it serve the same purpose in the target language.
Why is This Use of Specialists Important in Business?
There are three main reasons:
- Once you’re working globally, your documentation and other “foreign” communications need to be perfect. If not, your brand lacks credibility. We’ve all seen badly written documents in our own language. Imagine a bad translation into another language with additional errors in business knowledge!
- Your communications in business are often goal oriented. You need a specialist who understands both the business and the cultural norms for copywriting in the target language.
- Your specialist has the skills to write well: The target language is their own, they’ve trained as a translator, and they’re a subject matter expert in your business world. Your communications are, therefore, in good hands.
What is Corporate Translation?
Corporate translation refers to inter-company communications between (and to) various departments such as:
Your employees and your internal and external shareholders may come from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. They may live in another country and work remotely. As a result, you need to make sure your corporate translation solutions are equally suited for them.
Do Public Sector Services Need Translation Services?
Yes. It’s perhaps even more critical that public sector services (community services) have materials in appropriate languages.
That’s because anything that creates a hierarchy among the public is unacceptable. If there are no translation services in the public sector, there will be:
- Those who can read the communications
- Some who have a family member to translate
- Those who can’t access the information at all
This is not acceptable in today’s world.
Some of the public sector services that need a community translation service include:
- Education (letters sent home to parents)
- Health care (visiting nurses and mental health teams giving out information leaflets)
- Social services (communicating with families with children who are at risk)
- Police and armed services (communicating in every aspect of their work)
- State and local government (official notices in a pandemic or new laws)
- Non-profit organizations (ensuring maximum reach among their target audience)
The best translation services will have experts in all these areas of expertise in a variety of relevant languages.
What Kind of Language Translation Services Exist?
Probably as many kinds as you can imagine needing! Think of the paperwork arriving in your business or home. It might include a legal notice, a letter from an investment firm, a scientific document related to a new boiler installation, and many others.
- Technical translation involves user manuals and those instruction leaflets we mentioned in our introduction, financial reports, reports on data analysis, etc.
- Scientific translation often involves research articles, theses, conference materials, and medical information.
- Legal documentation is a huge category including:
- Court rules, law court reports, writs, and summonses
- A country’s laws and jurisdiction decisions that are legally binding, along with legally binding contracts and policies
- Finance, banking, and fintech firms publish white papers, annual reports, official quarterly statements, and shareholder materials.
Literary translation services are rarely recognized by the public because the author’s name stays on the cover. But the translator is responsible for writing that book in the new language and making it read convincingly. Language translation services employ skilled translators for all these topics and more. They can ensure:
- The native speaker in your target language is also fluent in the language in which your document is written
- The document is proofread and/or edited by subject matter experts experienced with these topics and languages
Not all companies cover all topics. To get the best results from your investment in translation services, you might need to make inquiries as to what skills are available in the company that exactly meet your needs.
That’s because, for both corporate translation solutions and community translation services, you’re looking for the best possible return on your investment.
How Do Top Translation Services Work?
Many companies will have a range of employees in-house, plus trusted freelancers working remotely. They may live in their own countries or be native speakers now living in other countries.
The important thing about using freelancers is that word: trusted. The best translation companies use translators they know well and whose work is exemplary and timely.
In addition, top companies will have an organized series of actions, so you know exactly what’s happening and when to expect results.
The sequence might be:
- Investigating your needs and the size of the task
- Selecting a team that matches those needs exactly
- Organizing a transparent, detailed schedule allowing everyone can track progress
Obviously, the more complex the task (like adding voice-over or subtitles, etc.) the longer it will take to do well. But the emphasis with top translation services is on quality and transparency throughout your time with them.
They’ll give you a project manager, an account manager, and milestones you can track – especially if your project is a long one.
Translating Companies or Translation Agencies – Which Should You Use?
A top translating company will usually have paid staff in-house plus a range of regular, trusted freelancers throughout the world. Their standards are likely to have become well known as their reputation has grown. If you need translation services, contact INGCO International today. Our innovative translation team consists of translators, editors, proofreaders, creative experts, and a dedicated project manager to ensure 100% accuracy for your content – enabling you to focus on the content itself.