Official Translation Services: Know Before You Buy

When attempting to overcome language barriers, buyers often get what they pay for with top translation companies and professional translators.

¿Do you know the Spanish version of the word “partner” in the following sentence?

ACSI is an ideal partner for governmental organizations.

Depending on the context, “partner” may be translated as “socio”, “colaborador”, or even “pareja”, which can be translated back into English as “couple”.

ACSI is an ideal couple for governmental organizations.

You can see how well that works out.

The Value of Official Translation Services

When it comes to official translation, there is no substitute for a top-tier translating company.

Last week, we saw a similar scenario play out in the recent U.S. healthcare website debacle (albeit on a much larger scale).

In that instance, the Spanish version of was telling users, “IF YOU CAN FIND: GET COSTS REDUCED.”

We’re not sure what users were supposed to find in order to get costs reduced, but we’ll tell you what they probably didn’t find – the information they needed.

Here’s why top translation companies need to be involved in projects with multiple languages, and what you should look for before you buy from them:

  • Bilingual or linguist? A bilingual person is not necessarily a linguist who studies foreign languages at an accredited institution and is certified in the linguistics of that language. When an official translation is important to your project, the services of a linguist are your best bet.

  • There’s power in three: Professional translation should include editions from two linguists, with a third linguist who is focused on proofreading each edition for accuracy.

  • 2,000 words per day: Perhaps you’ve visited websites that promise to translate 10,000 words in a day – or maybe you’ve even used one. Top translation companies that employ real human beings for plain language can complete approximately 2,000 words in one day. Rule of thumb: quality over quantity.

  • Audience consideration: Does your translation company factor in the demographics and sociographic of your target market before translating? If not, then you could end up using American Hispanic idioms with a Mexican Hispanic audience, which can differ greatly.

  • Machines cannot replace professional linguists: The problem discussed earlier in this article was due to computer-generated translations. Only human translators can help you communicate in a plain and proper language that real people will understand.

  • Last-Minute Should be Your Last Resort: Official translation services take time, so plan ahead and coordinate the process with a top-tier translation agency. Rush jobs are possible but are often accompanied by unnecessary and exorbitant fees.

Communicating in another language presents enough barriers; with these official translation services buyer tips, you can be sure your agency isn’t one of them.