Offshoring Translations

Yes, of course, why not. But like with all products or services acquired from lower-middle-income countries, some aspects need to be considered:

  • Is the price the only criterion you base your decision on?
  • Are you familiar with the translation business?
  • What do you expect from the text?

Generally, you should never just pick the first provider in, say, India or China that comes along, even though there are plenty. But then again, this is true also for language service providers (LSP) in your home country.

So, the really decisive criteria apparently are the two others. (1) ‘Do you know your way around in the translation industry’ and (2) ‘What do you expect from the text’.

If this is the first text that you need to have translated, you should be very careful who you pick. Better ask around whether someone you know can recommend a good translator or agency. Chances are higher that you will get what you want.

Which brings us to the third criterion: This is probably the most important one. Do you just want to get rid of the task without putting too much emphasis on the result? Then go ahead. Not much can go wrong in this case.

On the other hand, if you want a high-quality result and a properly managed, smooth-running translation project, you might want to proceed as follows:

  1. Pick a translator (freelance or agency) who gives you the impression that s/he cares about you, your company, and your text.
  2. Check the translator’s credentials and experience in translation in general and in the text type and subject matter at hand.
  3. Provide as much background information as possible in terms of terminology, existing bilingual texts, details on the author and the target group, etc.

And, please, beware of translators whose only reply to your initial request is: “Yes, I can do it. How fast do you need it done?”

It is better to plan translations ahead and pick your translator with care. You get better results from true professionals, whether they live and work in your own country or somewhere else.

Think globally, act responsibly


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