Busted: 6 common misconceptions about finding a translation agency
Finding a translation agency that can help you to take your business global can seem overwhelming: where in the world are people going to be reading my documents? What languages do they speak? How can I know that my message is being conveyed accurately? Will the translator be able to post me my documents in time? What time is it there? What time is it here?!
Whoah there! Step away from the search engine. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find a translation partner – it’s actually quite simple! The perceived difficulties come as a result of a few common misconceptions. Today, we’d like to debunk a few that we sometimes hear from first-time translation buyers here at STB:
1. I should work with a translation agency based in the same geographical location as my company
Once upon a time, this would have been the case, but thanks to email and the hyper-connected world we live in, this is simply no longer a prerequisite. Nowadays, you can focus on finding a partner who is the best fit for your requirements, no matter where in the world they are based.
At Surrey Translation Bureau, our team of project managers are just an email or phone call away, ready and raring to take care of your translation project. They are well-equipped to do this, with a Masters degree in translation and many years’ experience managing a whole range of translation projects.
Email and phone calls are a fantastic way to communicate, but we love meeting our clients in person too, and are always keen to do so and to learn more about what they do! We’re only an hour away from London by train, and we regularly attend trade fairs, conferences and business events across the UK, Europe and sometimes even further afield. We would be delighted to arrange a meeting and put a face to a name!
2.I need to translate documents into Chinese. I have to use a translation agency in China, right?
Not necessarily! You don’t need to work with a translation agency based in the country where the language you are looking to translate is spoken. In fact, it’s best to just find a partner who you can communicate well with, and let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to communicating your project to the translators. That partner might be in the country your target audience is based in, but they could just as easily be in your country – or neither!
Here at STB, we have an extensive, carefully developed database of translators across the globe in almost every language combination and specialisation, from aerodynamics through to zoology, and pretty much everything in between.
Many of our freelance translators live in the country where the language they translate is spoken. This means you benefit from excellent communication and customer service, while still receiving expert translations handled by native speakers who are immersed in the market you want to tap into. The perfect combination!
3.I’m not sure I could work with a translation agency based in a different time zone.
You can! Time zones can be confusing, but you don’t need a wall covered in clocks like a newsroom from the 80’s. As a UK-based translation agency, we run on GMT, and as such overlap with most time zones. Essentially, this means that in a working day, we can communicate with clients and translators based in other parts of the world with different time zones.
This time zone map shows just how well placed the UK is for communication across the globe – our working day shares hours with both China and the West coast of the USA. As you move further away from the Meridian Line, this overlap moves too, making quick communication trickier.
4. I will have to send hard copies of the document I want to translate and receive hard copies of the translation back. That’s going to take days!
Only rarely; the vast majority of the projects we handle are digital documents, such as Microsoft Word or InDesign files. In an instant, these files can be sent by email for us to quote on. In another instant they can be passed on to a translator. Once completed, it only takes another instant for them to be delivered back to you. A far cry from the days of pen, paper and post!
Of course, on the occasions when hard copies of documents are needed, we can arrange for couriers to take your files wherever they need to go.
5.My project is important. I should send it to a big translation company.
Not necessarily. A smaller translation company might be a better fit for you than a huge corporation. Large translation companies have a lot of resources such as sites and employees, but can’t always guarantee that you’ll get the personal attention and detail that smaller, boutique agencies can offer. You might find that the guidance and expertise offered to you by a smaller agency is exactly what you need.
6. Can’t I just use an online translation app?
At your own risk! While a handy tool for getting the gist of a quick sentence or two, machine translation still falls a long way short of providing a professional translation service. Your customers will instantly be able to tell the difference between a text handled by a professional, highly-trained native speaker and the garbled, automated output of a computer. Just search for "Google Translate fails" to find the millions of funny – and sometimes very expensive –mistakes made by other companies. That’s not a list you want to be on!
So, finding a translation partner isn’t as difficult as all that after all! Have a read of our guide for first-time translation buyers if you’d like to learn more about ordering your first translation project, or get in touch with STB to talk through it with one of our team.
No matter where you are based, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we could be your go-to translation partner.