Which Way Should You Go: In-House Translators or Outside Translation Partner?

More businesses than ever are branching out into multilingual communications as a way to expand their customer base. So the question these days is not so much “Should we translate?” as it is “How should we translate?” The answer is an important one.translators proofing documents
After deciding it’s time to target a more global audience, the next step is to determine whether to use internal staff to handle the work or partner with an outside language service provider (LSP). There’s certainly a cost either way, and any budget-conscious business leader should factor that into their analysis. But there are also many other pieces that go into creating and maintaining a successful translation program. That’s why any results-oriented business leader should weigh the pros and cons of both sides.
We put together some things to consider when deliberating the question: in-house translators or outside translation partner?
Multilingual Employees Aren’t Substitutes for Professional Translators
It’s a mistake for employers to think they have their translation needs covered simply because they already have on staff an employee who speaks another language. Being multilingual does not mean a person is qualified to be a translator. The ability to accurately and fully capture the essence of your corporate message requires refined language skills. Relying on an existing employee, who has their own workload, pressures and deadlines to meet, is a risky way to entrust something as precious as your corporate brand. LSPs, on the other hand, employ a diverse team of native-speaking, professional linguists whose intricate knowledge of languages, dialects and cultural preferences guarantees your message fits in whatever country or region you’d like to reach. With a full-service translation partner, your audience is not limited by the one or two languages your employees happen to speak.
Translation is a Process, Not an Isolated Task
A high quality translation project involves a sophisticated workflow to ensure the final product achieves the results you want. Any worthy LSP relies on a quality control process that carefully carries the translation job from beginning to end. For example, here at ASIST Translation Services, we have a 4-step process that includes multiple editing, proofreading and verification stages to confirm the final translated text matches your original source document, including any page layouts, graphics or specialized data. LSPs provide the project management expertise needed to bring your job in on-time, on-budget and on-message.
In-House Translation Staff are Vulnerable to Ebb and Flow
Due to fluctuating volumes of workflow, maintaining a staff of in-house translators may not be the best way to allocate your resources. Most companies have only periodic translation needs—a website this month, a marketing brochure next quarter, a user manual next year—which means that many times your internal translators would sit idle, waiting for the ebb to flow again. It’s more economical to partner with an LSP only when you need to, and use only the services necessary at that time. LSPs can also apply technology to further reduce costs and speed your translation process. For example, the use of Translation Memory allows language service providers to access previously translated words and terminology so you don’t pay for the same translation work twice.
LSPs Offer Resources to Fit Your Specific Needs
The depth and breadth of a full-service translation agency provides an array of native-speaking professionals who possess varying degrees of specialization and expertise. Translation jobs often require delicate and precise wording for complex topics, like those in the legal, medical or technical fields. LSPs have the flexibility and versatility to pull translation team at worktogether the right resources for you and your project. You’ll be assigned translators who are knowledgeable about your particular subject matter and who are attuned to the language and cultural sensitivities of your target audiences. Plus, they’ll work closely with you throughout the entire translation process to ensure any terminology or concepts unique to your industry are conveyed in the right way. Websites are a good example. For most companies, translating, localizing and editing a website can take months, especially if you’re a large company with a lot of information to share. And since many languages have slightly different variations depending upon the region—Spanish, for instance, differs in Mexico, Central America and Latin America—it’s cost-prohibitive for you to employ enough linguists to handle all of the possible variations. Instead, an outside translation agency, serving as an extension of your company, has proven translation teams specializing in the subject matter as well as project management resources needed to complete the specific job at hand.
Companies and organizations serious about going global and serving more foreign-speaking customers will find that outsourcing their efforts offers many benefits—among them high quality professional linguists, project management expertise, and time- and budget-saving opportunities. If you would like to learn more about the advantages a professional translation agency can offer your company, give us a call. We are happy to assist.

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