23 Jun/15

Multilingual Translation: Understand the Process to Find the Right Provider

Translating documents into multiple languages can be a complicated process. A user manual to be translated into 5 languages from English, for example, would consist of about 12 people: 1 project manager, 5 translators, 5 proofreaders and at least 1 translation engineer (see here to learn how translation engineers provide formatting and desktop publishing expertise). Unlike a translation in one language combination (Spanish into English, for example), the team for a multilingual translation is larger, requiring a greater level of coordination. What’s more, different languages present different format and design challenges, so a solid understanding of the issues that may arise is essential. Does your company have the resources and expertise to manage this project? Do you want to spend time coordinating individual freelancers? Most likely the answer is no. For a project like this, it makes sense to use a translation service provider, which will produce the content you need while overseeing the entire process. This saves you time, effort and, without a doubt, results in higher quality.

Does your translation services provider have the appropriate human resources to handle your project?

Looking for a translation service provider can be an arduous task and it’s difficult to understand the structure and organisation of translation service providers simply by looking at a website. They range from companies that handle the project management in-house but outsource all parts of the project to those that employ in-house staff not only for project management but also for linguistic and DTP work. For the latter type of company, a multilingual project should be relatively straightforward, but for providers that outsource most or all parts of the project, it could be more of a challenge; firstly, because they have to spend time assembling a team and, secondly, because problems arise more easily when the team is fragmented. A question you might want to ask a potential provider is: What kind of team would you have in place for this project? A well-established translation service provider has the proper human resources in place to ensure a good turnaround time and that a deadline can be met.

Does your language services provider offer appropriate design expertise and understand the issues posed by certain languages in your project?

Multilingual translations can be challenging because the range of languages in one project may present several formatting or design issues. One such problem is the expansion and contraction of languages in comparison to the source language. Chinese contracts in comparison with English source text (and the characters also need more space above and below) whereas French and Spanish expand. Translation engineers format documents for you so the final layout is perfect.

Creation of print-ready documents (user manuals, brochures etc.) requires desktop publishing expertise. Using a translation service provider that can offer this service benefits the client because the provider has the necessary linguistic expertise to guarantee the quality of the document’s final layout. Fonts also need consideration: some may not support certain languages because of special characters, so a substitute, such as Arial, may be necessary.

An experienced translation service provider will understand the issues specific to certain languages and discuss them with the client; so an absence of any questions and a focus on price could be a red flag.

The right multilingual translation services provider offers a reliable, comprehensive service

With in-house linguistic and desktop publishing staff at each of its international offices, EVS Translations offers high-quality translations with design solutions to global businesses.