Every organization will have a need for translations at some point. That need may be a one-off, such as translation of one document, or recurring, such as translation of a company’s communications or a frequently updated multilingual online store. When there’s a one-time need for translation, the material is usually translated internally, such as by an employee who speaks the language, or a freelance translator. Internal translation may be a good solution if translating comes naturally to the employee and sufficient time has been reserved for it. In our other blog article you can read why good language skills still won’t necessarily guarantee a fluent translation.
When there’s a frequent need for translations, it’s best to turn to a skilled translation partner. The company can either choose an external Language Service Partner as a translation partner or hire its own internal translator. Below we compare the two options.
Specialities and company style
Translation topics and terms may be very specialised. Translators usually cope well with this challenge, as they specialise in certain fields and types of text, such as marketing texts or software translations.
An internal translator will usually get to know the company’s subject matter and specialised vocabularies very well. Usually, they will also know the company’s tone better than an external resource, in which case the translations and other materials will be similar in style. If the company has only one translator or one translation team, it is easy to maintain the terminology and style for all texts.
The translator networks of Language Service Partners have many translators who are specialised in different fields, so there is no doubt that there will be translators who are familiar with the customer’s field of expertise. With Language Service Partners, translations are directed to the translators on the basis of their working languages, knowledge, specialisation and experience. Customers may also be assigned one or more translators to be used in all of their translations, as far as is possible. In this way, the tone of the translations remains consistent. In addition, Language Service Partners maintain the customer’s translation memories and term bases, which can help to ensure consistency of style and terminology.
Translation schedules can pose challenges to translation work, whether it involves an internal translator or an external Language Service Partner. On average, a translator translates approximately 250 words per hour and around 2,000 words per day. Translators can’t do the impossible, no matter how urgent the work may be. The schedule should also take into account, for example, reviewing reference material and proofreading, which increase the length of the overall schedule.
The resources of internal translators are limited. If the working day and week are already fully booked with translation assignments, new translation assignments can only be accepted after they are finished. Of course, prioritising translations can make a difference, but it is important to remember that the pace of translation cannot be accelerated indefinitely, and quality suffers easily when work is done in a hurry.
The trump card held by external Language Service Partners is a large pool of translators. If one translator isn’t available to accept the assignment, there will be a large number of other translators ready to take the job. In addition, in the case of urgent orders, a translation can be sped up by dividing the work between several translators.
Nowadays, many translation tools are used to help with translations, such as translation memories, term bases and different integrations. The range of tools is very wide, and choosing the right tools requires expertise.
The company’s internal translator may not be aware of all the tool options available on the market, their pros and cons, or the opportunity to test different tools and their suitability for the company. Sometimes, the company that hired the translator simply doesn’t want to put money into translation tools.
Language Service Partners often have a wide range of tools, as well as the necessary expertise in the selection and use of these tools. The tools are used according to the customer’s needs and the aim is to improve both the quality and the speed of the translation process.
When using an internal translator, it may be a problem if there is no one else in the company who knows the target language of the translation. It is always good for the style and fluency of the translation that the text is read by another person. If there is no other reader, it’s a good idea to contact a Language Service Partner and order proofreading for the text.
Language Service Partners have a wide range of linguistic experts at their disposal, and often have precisely defined the processes related to the quality of translations and customer feedback. Quality and feedback are closely monitored, and poor quality and negative feedback are reacted to quickly. In addition to translation, the range of services may also include various proofreading and copy editing services.
Translation needs are the decisive factor
When a company makes a choice between an internal translator and an external partner, it is worth considering what kinds of translation needs the company has and into which languages. An internal translator is an excellent solution if translation is only needed for one language. If the text needs to be translated into many different languages, it might be best to turn to a Language Service Partner. Internal translators’ resources aren’t enough to handle on-going translations for many different languages, but Language Service Partners will quickly supply you with translations for various languages. On the other hand, the best solution for a company could be a combination of the two: an internal translator takes care of regular single-language translations, while the rest are bought from a Language Service Partner.
Delingua offers translation services for all the translation needs of companies of all sizes – big and small. Whether it’s a big localisation project or a one-page translation, we’re here to help. We can also provide you with proofreading for translations that are ready.