a translation provider
brochures or hard-hitting sales
pitches aside, you must
get an accurate idea of the work that
translation providers can actually do.
Two steps that typically come to mind are: get work samples and references. These are natural steps, but here's what to ask for specifically to get more accurate results. Ask us (or your potential translation provider) for a free translation of one of your documents, of about 500 source words, into the language/s you need. Doing so allows you to see your own material processed in real time by the translation provider's own, current management system and translated by their own, current translators. Otherwise, the work samples may be from past project managers and translators no longer available to work on your specific project.
If this is not possible, the usual sample request involves documents already translated by the provider -- not
just client names, but
specific texts they have produced and are pleased
with. If a supplier is bidding on a foreign-language version of your web site,
ask to see web sites they have
already produced. Ditto brochures and speeches.
Run samples past a trusted,
language-sensitive native speaker (perhaps a foreign
subsidiary or partner) for
an opinion, or have it back-translated by an independent party.
Regarding references, we learned quickly that all references are good ones, as providers and translators naturally want to put their best foot forward. It is still helpful to speak to these references and get an idea of the provider's overall competence, response time, and adaptability. Still, a way to more accurately check on the quality of a provider's service is to request a free sample translation, per the above instructions, and see how you work together throughout the process.
A final tip: Tell your translation supplier that their name will be listed in the project credits.
Printing or listing translation provider's credits in your document costs
nothing and encourages suppliers to deliver top-quality work.