Guide for Buyers of Translation Services

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Information about Guide for Buyers of Translation Services
Product-Training-Manuals

Published on May 23, 2008

Author: yndigo

Source: authorstream.com

yndigo translations : yndigo translations change the tone of your translations Translation Buyers Guide For Law Firms 2007 Slide 2: With anything you buy nowadays, educating yourself is important. Translation is no different. Misconceptions exist about what translation is, how translators work and what constitutes a good or bad job. Translation agencies make claims about their expertise, quality assurance, and turnaround times. How do you choose? We hope you select our agency. But whether you choose us or someone else, this guide will help you make a more informed decision the next time you’re buying translation. Slide 3:  some basics... Slide 4: Translation is still done by humans at an average output of 2,000 to 3,000 words per day. Translation done by machine, although improving steadily, cannot yet ensure accuracy or even intelligibility in many instances. Why? Because, contrary to widely held misconceptions, there are rarely one-to-one correlations between words and phrases in different languages. Machine translation is not an accepted practice in the translation industry. Computer Assisted Translation (CAT), on the other hand, refers to memory software used by a professional translator for certain projects and is in wide use. Slide 5: Translators write; interpreters speak. Translators cannot be court-certified; interpreters can, in three languages: Spanish, Navajo and Haitian Creole. Interpreting is divided into two types: simultaneous, used at the UN for example, in which the interpreter speaks at the same time as the speaker, often with the aid of audio equipment, and; consecutive, in which the speaker pauses after every few sentences to allow the interpreter to summarize. Because of its fast-paced nature, industry standards allow for 80% accuracy for interpreting, compared to 99% for translators. Slide 6: The US has no licensing authority governing who can practice translation. The American Translators Association (ATA), a member of the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs and the most recognized authority on translation competency, is a professional association that tests and certifies translators by language pair. Although some translation clients and agencies insist on this standard, there are many translators recognized by their peers to be among the best in the industry who are not ATA-certified. Slide 7:  Most of the translators working for the private sector are self-employed freelancers. And much of the work they do is for translation agencies. Project managers at the agency select from among thousands of translators around the world based on their language ability, experience in a given field, reputation, availability and price. Although an agency may provide many things in addition to translation such as localization, page layout or bilingual staffing, finding and choosing the right translators is arguably their most valuable service. Slide 8: Translators translate into their native language. This rule ensures written fluency so that the translation doesn’t read like one. The only exceptions to this are when translator supply is very low. For instance, there may not be enough native-English speakers who have a solid grasp of Albanian in order to translate it and a native-Albanian with near-English fluency must perform the work. To ensure a fluid final product, close collaboration between a native-English speaking editor and the translator is a necessary step in the process. Slide 9: Customers are charged by the word, either based on the word count of the original language, called the source text, or of the final translation, called the target. The trend in the industry is to use the source word count, because it is fixed, instead of the translated text, which may expand or contract depending on the language pair and subject matter. One major exception to this convention is law firms, which still handle lots of hard copy originals thus an accurate word count cannot be immediately known. Slide 10: Translators are skilled writers. They often go to school for foreign languages and then earn degrees or receive training in the fields in which they specialize. The primary skill they sell, much like the technical writer, is clear writing. Many also come to translation from careers in other fields such as medicine, law, finance or engineering. If they are able to combine this background with solid foreign language skills and an ability to express themselves in their native language, they become dream translators. However, career experience does not guarantee good translation. Are all agencies the same? : Are all agencies the same? Look for a translator or agency on the Internet and you’ll find hundreds of services with claims that can look very similar: Specialist translators: we speak your industry; Full service: all languages, all subjects, and more; Flawless results: letter-perfect QA process; Fast delivery: our deadline is your deadline; Cultural knowledge: communicate across borders. Quality : Quality The quality of a translation agency depends on the quality of its translators and on the agency’s ability to discern the right translator for the job. A quality-assurance process is important but without time-tested experience of each translator’s work, a file assigned to the wrong person can rarely be improved by even the most rigorous quality-assurance program. Price : Price To an unfamiliar buyer, translation prices can seem very high, however translators set their rates both to earn a fair wage and, just like any other industry, according to what the market will bear. Buyers should compare prices and not pay too much. But if an agency’s prices are well below the average, this is a warning that it may be using unqualified translators and editors or cutting corners in its process. Service : Service Good service is rapid, knowledgeable, and offered in a context of mutual cooperation. An agency that accepts any project, however, despite the difficulty or deadline, is not offering good service. To be a reliable partner, an agency must be both resourceful and honest so that it can offer a customer a frank appraisal of the situation along with all possible solutions at its disposal to deal with it. Focus : Focus When the focus is too narrow… a company promises to be the best at one and only one thing. If you need what it sells, look no further. The blinds store, for example: If you need just the right blinds and you can’t find them elsewhere, go to the store that does nothing else. You’ll likely get expert advice too. However, what the ultra-specialist offers in quality, it lacks in scope. If your time is valuable, it is often a worthwhile convenience to seek out a service that offers solutions in several situations. When the focus is too broad… a company promises to fulfill your every need. This one-stop-shop approach can be useful. The department store, for example: If you need light bulbs, motor oil, cat litter, a rake, and maybe a pack of gum, why make several stops? The department store has it all. However, in exchange for convenience, you sacrifice quality. Shopping for a fine-knit sweater, a stereo, or a new loveseat? The department store is likely the wrong place to shop! Slide 16: Some translation agencies offer hundreds of languages , from Amharic to Zulu and everything in between, and serve several marketplaces: law, finance, medicine, advertising, etc. These big agencies provide a great convenience but without knowing how focused they are on your interests or industry, one must proceed with caution before entrusting sensitive documents. Slide 17: Some places specialize in one language or one field: Japanese medical translation, for example. With the internet, these specialists can be found anywhere in the world. These small shops, run by talented individuals are a valuable source of specialized knowledge. However, they may lack the capacity to provide seamless service in a variety of situations. Slide 18: yndigo translations serves the legal industry and translates only the major world languages. We feel this is the right way to serve our customers. This strategy is based on our experience working with law firms and our conviction that it offers the best choice for this market segment: Serving one industry, we have knowledge of the documents lawyers need most: annual reports, civil code, complaints, contracts, discovery material, doctors’ notebooks, environmental studies, patents, pleadings, technical reports, prospectuses, etc. We have also adapted to attorneys’ unique schedules and deadlines. Focusing on only the major European and Asian languages, we can cover 90% of attorneys’ requests and, by not spending our time managing a large database of more obscure resources, we are able to carefully select and form relationships with those individuals that truly specialize in their subject matter. Who we are : Who we are Yndigo (pronounced “indigo”) Translations is an agency catering to law firms. I began it with the help of some terrific translators, attorneys, consultants and friends, and in partnership with experienced project managers, because I felt we could offer the legal community superior quality at fair prices. We know our clients have many options when buying translations, and we don’t claim to be the ideal choice in every situation. I hope this guide has helped you make a more informed decision on your next translation project. If you want further information, please consult one of the resources listed below or feel free to give us a call. Sincerely, Glenn Cain Glenn Cain President, yndigo translations Glenn received his B.A. and M.A. in French Literature and lived in Paris on a teaching fellowship awarded by the French Government. He returned to the US to specialize in translation at NYU . He has worked as translator, editor, proofreader, project manager, head of a legal translation division and now serves as President of yndigo translations. Glenn has given conferences to paralegals on the subject of translation and on how to navigate the translation marketplace. Other Resources : Other Resources American Translators Association (www.atanet.org ) The ATA’s booklet for the translation buyer called Translation: Getting it Right is invaluable and can be ordered on their website. New York Circle of Translators (www.nyctranslators.org), ATA’s New York Chapter. The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (www.najit.org). 4. ProZ, a free translator directory and forum (www.proZ.com). Read our blog and share your comments at: www.yndigotranslations.com/blog

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