Language Service Providers – So Much More than “Just” Translating

Language Service Provider

Society today is a truly global one, where businesses are expected to operate around the clock in order to succeed.  Organizations range from individual enterprises to multinational corporations and yet they can all have a reason to look to the language industry to help them across national boundaries through translating and interpreting their content for all types of audiences.  There are approximately 7000 languages spoken in 260 countries across the globe today — that is some potential market.

It is Not Just Translation but a Lot More!

The service that a good Language Service Provider (LSP) gives must go far beyond the word for word translation you get from a search engine.  Colours, images and symbols must be culturally appropriate and metaphors and imagery need to be suitable for the country setting.  LSPs can provide expertise on the language, culture, customs and other characteristics of the market that your company is seeking to target.  This can help give you the edge or indeed avoid costly mistakes.

So What Will an LSP Deliver for You?

LSPs will

  1. Ensure that all your websites, product documentation, labelling, marketing communication etc is delivered to a professional standard that reflects the calibre of your business.
  2. The translations will be done by a native speaker of the target language, who is located in the target market and can therefore ensure that your message is understood as you intend. This will also naturally allow them to make cultural assessments, adaptations, and adjustments if required to marketing copy.
  3. File preparation and preparation of instructions and reference materials for the translators to ensure that your requirements are clearly understood.
  4. Ability to meet all your translation needs and to identify better and more streamlined ways of completing your translation work.
  5. An understanding of all your varying file formats and how to best handle them and preserve their quality when reproducing the text in a new language.
  6. Language strategy consulting to help you understand which markets to target, which languages to compete in, and which materials to localise.
  7. A scale and breadth of resources that you cannot build or manage internally unless this is your area of expertise. An LSP can scale up or down at any time for each client as many of its translators are contractors, enabling it to meet your fluctuating demands.  This in turn allows you to focus on your company’s core products and services and leave us to worry about the languages.

Add Value and Help You Get the Right Message across

LSPs work with professional translators.  They will usually have expertise in a field e.g. IT, retail, financial services as well as in the language and they will save your company time and money as well as help maintain your brand.  An LSP will handle all the peripheral tasks such as checking formatting and style.  They will help you to build a programme that ultimately saves time and money and improves quality as well as helping to sell your product abroad.

The web is replete with examples of poorly translated material, when it goes wrong; it tends to go horribly wrong.  A great example of why just translating the words themselves doesn’t always work is Audi in May 2009, who rather than celebrating lots of PR over the launch of an upcoming car were left scrambling to explain that their PR firm had mistranslated the name of its car from German to English as “White Power”.  This term is obviously synonymous with racial hate and white supremacy as well as neo-Nazi movements in the English-speaking world, clearly not the best image for a German car maker.

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