Ensuring Top Quality Work by Language Service Providers


It is desirable to work with “tried and true” language service providers to avoid unpleasant surprises. However, there may be times when these providers are not available and new providers may have to be found in a hurry. If referrals draw a blank, during the recruitment process, no effort should be spared to ensure that the new language service provider is capable of providing top quality work. When deciding to use new providers, if the client is agreeable, it is not a bad idea for the project manager to involve the client’s input as much as possible in the selection process. This way, the client may tend to be more receptive to the work of the provider that the client helped to select.

On the very rare occasion on which a project manager may have to rely on the forgiveness of the client when a less than perfect quality project has been delivered, the project manager will need to buy time from the client in order to provide a fix. Sometimes, however, this just is not possible, especially in the case of super rush jobs and delivering a poor quality product can create very negative results down the line.

Following are a few reasons why a translator could deliver a bad quality translation:

Inadequate Time in Which to Complete a Project:
This occurs when a translator is overly ambitious about how many words he/she can competently translate. The results can be less than desirable, even when the translator has the very best of intentions. The project manager should convey to the translator the importance of only taking on the amount of work he/she is sure to competently finish by the deadline. The project manager in turn should err on the side of caution when assigning work with tight deadlines to translators or when accepting work with tight deadlines from clients.

Inaccurate Resumes and Claims about Experience and Qualifications:
Unfortunately, there are providers who are not accurate or honest about their expertise or native languages. The project manager must be extremely vigilant and learn to decipher little red flags that point to inconsistencies during the recruitment process.

Poor Work Ethic of Translator:
It can be very upsetting for a project manager when translators provide sloppy work. While translators should take pride in their work and do everything possible to produce a high quality project, it is up to the project manager to see to it that all stages of the quality assurance process are completed to the satisfaction of the client.

Lack of Respect for Deadlines:
It must be conveyed to the translator that it not acceptable to accept a job unless the translator is sure to be able to complete within deadline.

Following are some steps that may be taken to deliver projects to the client’s satisfaction:

Share Editor’s Comments with the Translator:
This enhances dialog and learning among providers and allows a translator to respond to the editor’s comments. A translator may either stand behind his/her work or accept the editor’s changes.

Let a Third-Party Reviewer Settle Disputes:
If there is a complaint from the client or a dispute between translator and editor, an objective, competent third-party reviewer should be introduced to settle the dispute. If it turns out that the initial translation was improperly done, the initial translator may be paid the difference between the previously agreed to amount and the amount to be paid to the third party reviewer.

Offer a Discount:
If the client has justifiably complained, promptly offering a discount to the client may soften the negative impact of the poorly done project.

When translators deliver a work product that is less than top quality, it can certainly become a nightmare. Such an event is likely to shake a project manager’s confidence as it will the client’s confidence in the project manager, if left unchecked, especially in fairly new working relationships. The saying “prevention is better than cure” is very apt in this case!

The Importance of Superlative Medical Translation


In addition to attending and interpreting at various appointments, consultations, conferences and even surgeries, medical language service providers are required to accurately convey the meaning of medical documents including doctors’ notes, reports, test results, invoices, outpatient sheets, correspondence between medical practitioners and health care professionals or documentation regarding medical procedures and tests from one language into another or even from an audio-visual format to a written format and it goes without saying that the medical language service provider, be it a medical translator or interpreter or transcriber needs to display a mastery of the terminology used in each respective field of medicine. The medical language service provider also needs to be able to accurately convey information shared between health care provider and patient as failure to do so can result in misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and/or mis-prescribing, which can further result in the patient’s lack of trust in the healthcare provider, the medical facility and the language service provider. This can lead to the exacerbation of the illness and even death. Hence, it is vital for the medical translator to be superlatively qualified and experienced.

Medical chart on clipboard with stethescope
Medical chart

In compliance with legislation requiring healthcare facilities to provide translation and interpreting services for non-English speakers, many healthcare facilities in the United States are now making it a requirement that in order for a healthcare provider to provide translation, interpreting or foreign language services in the healthcare facility the provider must have medical experience in countries in which the foreign language is spoken. Therefore, a medical language service provider who also has a background in the healthcare profession in a foreign country is a major asset to the healthcare industry.

Continuing education is of extreme importance to the medical translation professional since technology and expertise continue to expand at a rapid pace and our global community is becoming increasingly borderless.

Translators interested in launching out into this area of expertise should not be daunted by the enormity of the responsibility that a medical language service provider has to shoulder but should understand the commitment that needs to be made to provide superlative medical translations. Health care facilities do well to continue to employ high-end medical language solutions for their reputation’s sake and more importantly, to enhance the health and wellbeing of the community at large.

Choosing Your Language Service Provider

Choosing your Language Service Provider

How do you choose a language service provider when there are so many clamoring for your attention? It goes without saying that you have a lot on the line and require an error-free product that is appropriate for your language needs. Below are some guidelines to take into consideration when choosing a language service provider.

Your language service provider should be knowledgeable and adept
at meeting your needs, be they:
Translation: the transference of documents into a second (target) language so that they have the same meaning as the documents in the first (source) language. Source documents may come in typed format as well as in audio or video format.
Interpreting: the transference of speech from one language into another.
Editing: the revision of a document that has been translated by a second person comparing the translation against the source document. Translation projects should be edited by a second language professional for missing text, missing lines, missing or inaccurate numbers, dates, etc., errors in spelling, grammar and style and inconsistencies in formatting.
Proofreading: the revision of a finished project to ensure that the language flows and is flawless. Only the target document is reviewed and no reference is made to the source document in the proofreading process.
Transcription: the transfer of audio material into a document. This can be in any language.

Experience: Your language service provider should have a proven track record providing the services you are seeking. However, the length of time in the business will not always guarantee that the work being done is accurate since a language service provider can repeat the same mistakes in each project. Your language service provider will be able to provide you with references who should attest to the good service they have provided.

The cost for the service should be within your budget. Try not to cut corners, though. The lowest price should not be your sole motivation for selecting a language service provider and the highest price does not necessarily mean that the quality of the service is the highest.

Your language service provider should keep you informed. A good vendor will explain to you the details of your project and provide you with options and give you an idea of how your project will be completed, if necessary. You can ask for as much information that will make you comfortable that your job is in the right hands.

Timeline: Every project has a beginning, a middle and an end. You should be provided with a schedule for the completion of your project. This should be realistic and it should serve your corporate goals.

Team: You can ask for details about the team who will be handling your project. Remember that all work should be handled by native speakers of the target language(s) and experts in the area of specialization under which your project falls. For extremely rare languages, this may not always be possible but language service providers should have near native proficiency in the target language through solid experience, time spent living, being educated and working in a country where the target language is spoken. They should also have a background in the area of expertise of the project.