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.