Managing translation and localization vendors is a hard task. Doing it right, though, can nurture a fruitful relationship.
The good relationship with your language service providers has a tremendous impact on the quality of localization projects. Just add some extra time, consider the following hints, and implement at least one of them. It will definitely make a difference.
#1 Vendors are people, too
When you’re thinking about managing localization vendors, try not to think of them as vendors. Think of them as partners. The best approach is to change your in-house wording - no more ‘get the vendor to do that’. Translation project managers and translators don't often get to see the people they work with, but video calls and face-to-face communication are just as important to them as it is to any other partner of yours. They will feel closer to your brand and get a better understanding of who you are and what your company does.
#2 Choose transparency
Transparency is a key word when choosing localization partners. Transparent processes provide a safe environment where everybody can focus on tasks, they are good at. If you find a partner who is not only an expert in their field but is also trying to sustain the economic environment – for example by paying their translators in seconds – it could lead you to a fair-trading environment you should feel good about.
#3 Find out the specialties
Language service providers usually say they own every language in every country - and most of them will promise you the world, literally. In reality, many of them are not specialists in all those languages and only have experience in a few of them. Don’t forget that in a strong business relationship, you can always ask your translation project manager to keep you updated on the fields and language expertise they have. Get them involved in your business area and give them chance to get know your expertise and processes. Never underestimate a face-to-face meeting in your plant where you can show your value added in your processes.
#4 Give translators time
Quality is everything when it comes to your business. One of the main factors affecting quality is time. I know it’s not a big surprise, but when it comes to processes that are not core business-related issues, people tend to underestimate the time needed to get to a solution that fits your requirements. Again, if you keep your communication clean and your partnership transparent when you’re scheduling ask the opinion of your language service provider. It doesn’t mean you can’t get a tight deadline, but to estimate the actual time needed for a translation project you need to rely on your expert partner. If there’s a way to get the translation sooner, they will find it.
#5 Share your resources
Sharing is good. It doesn’t only mean bonding and trusting each other, but it also provides a strong basis for quality when it comes to localization. Translation memories, glossaries, or style guides are super important for translators. I know what you’re thinking - do you want to share basic information about your company, about your processes, or even about who you are and what you're doing? I bet you have internal trainings for employees or for vendors connected to your core operation. Actually, it’s the same with your translation provider. The better the translator understands, the better your translation project manager understands your business processes or your values, and the better the translation quality gets.
Make sure that your localization partner knows a lot about your company. You sure have priorities when it comes to localization and translation - as you should have. Sometimes the deadline is a priority over everything, while other projects require extra quality or technology. If you have transparency, you should feel free to tell your translation service provider your priority list in the case of each project. Don’t worry, if your partner is a language service provider expert, they’ll know how to reach the given priority goals in your projects.
#7 Fair trading
The timing of payment is a sensitive issue, but transparency creates an environment in which you can freely discuss practically everything with your translation agency. Let me share my experience: payment may be painful, but data shows that paying promptly or even upfront makes the buyer more involved in the process and creates better quality in the end. Naturally, you need to trust your translation provider that their translators are also paid promptly. This way, nobody worries about when to pay, and all energy is focused on the task itself.
We do hope these tips will help you to choose wisely when seeking a solution to your localization projects.