Overall experience of the consumer is a defining factor that describes quality of any service. A pleasant overall experience is reflective of certain systematic practices observed by vendors. In order for any practice to be considered as ‘best practice’, it must provide satisfaction to the customers and help meet their requirements in the way they’d want it to be met.

When it comes to translation, below are some best practices followed in the industry:

1. Requirement Understanding

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Although not directly related to translation, it is this stage that actually decides how the entire scope of work would be. Professional companies will make sure they ask clients a bunch of questions to help get a clear understanding of the translation requirement. Some of these questions are listed below:

  1. Language pair – The information about source and target language is acquired at this juncture. It is essential to know if the target language is needed in a particular variant or it has to be kept neutral. For instance, if the translation is required in Chinese, does the client need it in Simplified or Traditional Chinese
  2. Target audience – To understand the target audience, it’s vital to know their geographical location; their educational, professional and cultural background; purpose of translating the document. This is because the translation of an employee handbook cannot be done in the same way as a technical instruction manual or a market research questionnaire.
  3. Volume – Knowing this helps in setting the turnaround time for the translation. The company along with the client will decide if the translation will be delivered in a day, a week or on rolling basis depending on the volume of documents and number of languages involved.
  4. Document format – Depending on the content, clients have different types of documents. A good company will be competent enough to provide the output in the file format desired by the client.

2. Work Process

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A professional company follows a set process for every translation requirement from start to end and below are certain aspects that are noteworthy:

  1. Response time – A quick response time by the translation company shows that they’re ready to assist every customer who approaches them, whether it is an individual or an organization.
  2. Communication with client – Setting the right expectations with respect to deliverables for an assignment, having a primary point of contact, promptness in problem solving and most importantly communicating to the client at every stage about translation progress and possible delays or technical issues, if at all; these are some practices that a professional translation company will live up to.
  3. Thorough quality check – The document cannot just be delivered post-translation. The process of proofreading is crucial towards providing flawless translation as it leaves no room for errors or inconsistencies in grammar, punctuation and context.
  4. Glossary building – For large volume translation requirements, creating glossaries and other such reference documents enable translators and proofreaders to maintain consistency throughout and thus help in enhancing the overall quality of translation.
  5. Strong production team – Responsible for working on the document at various stages, the production team can well be called the backbone of any translation company. Apart from translators and proofreaders, there are people who work on preparing documents correctly for translation and then for delivery by maintaining the files as per their original format. For instance, if there were 12 documents for translation wherein 5 were in MS Excel and 7 were AutoCAD drawings, then the same number and format of files will be delivered to the client.

3. Resource Management

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Upon confirmation of an assignment, the Projects team decides on how many resources (translators, proofreaders, DTP–ist) will be required in order to successfully complete the job. When it comes to any assignment irrespective of its volume, professional companies use different screening methods to narrow down potential translators and proofreaders. This is done by checking C.V.s, examining online presence on different public domains for reliability and experience, evaluating skills by giving translation tests, etc.

4. Pricing Methods

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  1. Accepted payment methods – Translation is needed by different types of clients (individuals, Banks, SMEs, MNCs, NGOs, etc.) and not all of them may be able to make payments with one single method. Therefore, a company would offer alternative modes of payment to help make this process convenient for the clients.
  2. Transparency in pricing – Documents for translation vary as per their respective domains and so there cannot always be uniformity in the way they’re charged. The pricing given should be proportionate to the content. Certificatescontracts and posters fall under different categories and page formats; therefore their rates would differ accordingly. The types of costing found in translation industry are per source word, per page, per character and so on.

5. Regulatory Compliance

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  1. Agencies could sometimes consist of a group of freelancers who’d take up translation assignments owing to their proficiency in certain languages; however, this doesn’t ensure that the documents will undergo thorough quality checks, formatting and other necessary steps apart from translation.
  2. Companies on the other hand possess various kinds of certifications and memberships which are a mark of their reliability as service providers. Usually, professional translation companies are ISO certified and are a part of several translator’s associations.