Effective business communication may be the single most important factor determining success in a crucial project. In the global economy, a business cannot afford to communicate exclusively in English. Thus, businesses of all sizes must rely on foreign language translators to ensure that messages are communicated clearly, concisely, professionally, and meaningfully throughout the world.
But as the demand for multilingual language services increases, the challenge for businesses is to satisfy this need efficiently, while maintaining information security and improving response times. A common consideration involves developing a high quality in-house translation department or outsourcing translations needs. Whichever direction the business chooses to take can affect the quality, reliability, efficiency, security, and turnaround times of translated information. While there is no best answer for all businesses, this article explains the advantages and disadvantages of in-sourcing and outsourcing translation services.
WHY SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE YOUR LANGUAGE TRANSLATION?
Today, companies must communicate in more than one language. A Purchasing Manager may need to send a message to a vendor in Chinese. A Human Resources Director may want to produce an employee handbook for Spanish-speaking employees. A corporate lawyer might need a sales contract translated into French. Regardless of the reasons, the global economy and multilingual workplaces are forcing businesses to communicate multilingually.
Most businesspeople accept this new reality. However, a common problem is finding the right talent in your business to translate email messages, reports, handbooks, or other documents when you need them. Another concern is whether the translator has native-level speaking skills and the technical knowledge to complete the translation effectively.
Also you do not know if the person is even available to complete the assignment. If a person you consider has multiple projects that are coming due, they may rush the translation. Alternatively, an overworked employee’s mind may be too cluttered, leading to a careless completion that will satisfy no one.
Of course, co-workers may have inflated perceptions of their skills and abilities too. They may not be capable of providing a high quality translation of any business, technical or legal document. Perhaps the worst surprise would be to find out at the last moment that the legal translation or official translation that you thought would be perfect is seriously flawed.
There is no doubt that American translators play an important role in ensuring communication flow among employees, intermediaries, customers, and other stakeholders. Aside from helping managers communicate with non-English-speaking employees, they may also be able to assist from time to time when urgent matters arise.
Bilingual employees also serve an extremely valuable role in leading non-English-speaking teams. But despite their immense value to an organization, a business should strongly evaluate the practicality and efficiency of using internal employees to produce professional or legal document translations. Often, they cannot provide the lowest rates.
Outsource or Insource Translation Services?
Deciding on whether your business will rely on outsourced language translation services, in-house multilingual employees or a dedicated translation team is an important decision for a business. Both outsourced translation agencies and in-house translators have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Many factors must be evaluated to decide which of these options is best suited for your business.
In most cases, the choice is determined by the business environment, size of the company, growth stage of the business, frequency that translators are needed and number of target languages required. The most critical aspect is what the business can afford. For most companies, having a staff of professional translators is too expensive in terms of finding qualified applicants, supplying adequate training, ensuring oversight, and retaining them. Other businesses review case studies on outsourcing translation to determine if it makes sense.
A company might also focus on departments in which employees are underutilized for temporary translations projects. While this might be reasonable for very small projects, a professional translation agency will usually prove to be a more efficient, higher quality and more suitable alternative.
Reasons Why Translation Projects Should Be Outsourced
When comparing in-house vs outsourcing a full-time translator, outsourcing translation services is often the least expensive option. This is particularly true for small and midsize companies that may not have an adequate amount of work to keep someone busy full time.
When there isn’t enough work for a full-time translator, a company may consider sharing the translator’s duties across different departments for work unrelated to translating . Switching back and forth between assignments and obligations can cause fatigue and burnout. As an employee is pulled in different directions and receives new assignments, deadlines become increasingly difficult to achieve.
Translators with shared responsibilities are rarely efficient. They are unlikely to develop the skills that lead to higher quality work that is completed quickly and efficiently, or have a plan for advancement. Turnover is a risk. The other disadvantage is that these types of translators are less likely to have access to bilingual proofreaders to review their work, identify and correct errors and supply consistent, professional results.
While an internal employee may have acquired specialized knowledge and vocabulary, this same level of knowledge can be handed over to a professional translations agency in the form of glossaries. Therefore, it is possible to achieve the same level of experience at a fraction of the cost by outsourcing translation services.
A translations agency is better equipped to manage large projects and multiple projects at the same time. With their teams of specialized translators, they can split a project among multiple persons and complete it in a fraction of the time that an inhouse team might require.
An Asset to the Business
Outsourcing translation to an agency can offer substantial benefits that could never be achieved with an internal team. Over time, the agency will become increasingly knowledgeable about the business, it’s operation, products and people. As the agency engages with different departments, they gain a better understanding about the complexities of the business. The culmination of these experiences will enable their translators to provide their service in a more resourceful, efficient and effective way.
Permits the Company to Focus on Strengthening Its Competitive Advantage
Recruiting, training, setting up, monitoring and growing an effective and efficient translation department takes considerable investment in time and money. By outsourcing translation services, the management team can focus on issues that directly impact the bottom line.
Bilingual employees who were being used as temporary or part-time translators can perform their regular duties that they have been academically and professionally educated and trained to perform. They will function more efficiently, because they can focus on their primary duties with an uncluttered mind. Freeing these employees to perform their primary job duties will allow the entire organization to run more efficiently.
An outsourced translations agency is likely to have access to technologies and translators who are trained to take advantage of all resources available to reduce completion times, improve accuracy and supply a higher quality translation overall. Translation Management Systems (TMS) and specialized dictionaries and reference guides require ongoing training to use because they comprise technologies that most businesses and the lay translators do not have available to them.
In conclusion, outsourcing translation services can help an organization by improving its efficiency and overall management capabilities. Outsourcing can prove financially beneficial from both an employee and a sales perspective by expediting work assignments, improving quality and providing flexibility and broad expertise. When translation services are managed by a professional translations company, employees can focus on their predefined responsibilities, helping the business achieve its mission.