Choosing a Localization Provider

How to Choose a Language Services Company | Part Two: Choosing a Localization Provider

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If you’ve already read part one of this series “How to Choose a Language Services Company”  and you’re feeling like you’re revving to go — wait! Although you’ve already done most of the hard work, there are still a few points worth considering before you settle on the perfect vendor. If you haven’t read part one, it’s best to go back and read it before diving into this post.

While many aspects of choosing a translation provider and localization provider overlap, there are a few, slight differences that are important to keep in mind: your purchasing department might assume all localization services offered by various providers are fairly equal and therefore that you should choose the cheapest one, while your management department might disagree and request only the best localization provider that provides excellent service and high ratings.

In this case, both are correct, to some extent. While your localization provider should offer a good value, it should also provide only excellent services. To ensure your company checks off both marks, it’s best to revisit some part-one topics in further detail.

Consider the Localization Provider’s Location (Again)

When choosing the right vendor, it’s imperative to think about how your potential localization provider’s location impacts the outcome: for instance, if you are localizing a website for Spanish-speaking audience in the US, you may not want your localization vendor to be located outside the US. While an out-of-country vendor may offer great quality of work, it’s less likely that they would be intricately familiar with in-country terminology, especially industry jargon and acronyms.

Tools and Resources

Just as you wouldn’t bring your car into a dilapidated garage to be serviced, you should inquire about your potential localization provider’s tools and resources. While some vendors use a particular set of fixed tools, other vendors might work with you and use the tools of your choosing.

You should also inquire about whether the provider utilizes translation memory or CAT tools. A translation memory is simply a linguistic database that continually stores your translated words and expressions for future use. All previous translations are stored and reused to cut time when translating the same sentence or phrase in the future.

The employment of this method can save companies between 5 and 20 percent in costs, says The Federation of International Trade Associates. Of course, this is not always applicable or even possible, depending on the format and content of your materials. However, it is worth a conversation with your vendor.

Other questions you should ask a potential localization provider include the following:

  • Do they provide desktop publishing and artwork?
  • How much software and localization testing will be executed?
  • Is multimedia work, like voice recording, an option?

Quality Control and Process

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect localization provider for your company, you should still inquire about their quality control and process. The service might sound fantastic on paper, but how will they ensure your project is finished with the same enthusiasm as it began with? And, if there are quality issues, how will your vendor assess and fix them? What about tools and materials the localization provider outsources to translation subcontractors and other outsourced resources? Keep in mind that a good vendor should provide and explain the following types of tools and processes they employ:

  • Materials
  • Instructions
  • Standards (which may vary per country)
  • Style guides and glossaries
  • Automated or manual quality-control checks (including those executed by non-production teams on samples for jobs already under way)
  • Reconciliation processes to handle disagreements
  • Fixes for non-language-department errors in various files

While choosing the best localization provider might seem like an inordinate task, it’s more than manageable, once you’ve taken these questions into consideration. If you’re still gathering information on how to find the best provider, feel free to look back at part one of How to Choose a Language Services Company. Or, if you’re ready, embark on the process of finding the best translation and localization services for your company by contacting the knowledgeable team at Bromberg & Associates.

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