How to Choose a Translator: Part 2


Yesterday, we looked at the different types translation options for common projects like documents and web content. Today, we’re going to look at the solutions for translating complex documents like legal contracts or technical user manuals. We’ll also address an often-overlooked field: marketing translation.


Translation Agency

Translation agencies are similar to online translation platforms in that they centralize everything in one place for you. The main difference is the price because they often manage the entire translation process for you. They often have a network of experts for very specialized fields like medical or legal translation and can also take care of managing the visual integration of text (called desktop publishing) in brochures or infographics. Here are a few points to keep in mind about working with an agency:

  • Look at the price/service trade off: Translation agencies are great at managing complex, high volume projects with many steps, but they also have minimum order requirements. If you only need translation of a small paragraph into one language, a freelance translator or an online translation platform may be better options for you.
  • Ask about expertise: like freelance translators, translation agencies often specialize in a few specific fields. If you want all your projects to be handled by one agency, make sure you ask if they have experts in your desired areas of expertise.

When to use it: Translation agencies are best for projects that require significant account management, very complex areas of expertise or visual integration.


Marketing Transcreation

While this isn’t a separate solution per se, it’s a topic that few businesses think about. Marketing transcreation involves the adaptation of marketing material to another language. Notice that we said “adaptation” and not “translation”? That’s because transcreation is about taking marketing text and adapting it to resonate with the audience in another language and region. Often, when you compare the two texts, entire sentences or even paragraphs might have different meanings. That’s because the transcreation professional knows what kind of messaging will be persuasive and effective.

Where to find it: transcreation depends on the translator’s ability to be a good writer. This can be a freelance translator, some members of an online translation platform or experts working in a translation agency.


One More: Machine Translation

You’re probably wondering why we saved machine translation for last. That’s because we don’t consider this as a real option for translating business documents and web content. While it’s fast and free, it also contains a lot of errors, which is why we do not recommend it. With all of these different options at different price levels, there’s really no excuse not to use professional human translation.

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