Ensuring accurate, professional business communication is critical—but difficult to achieve in a foreign language. In today’s multicultural, international business world, businesses of all sizes and types have clients, employees, and vendors with limited or no English-speaking skills. If you cannot communicate in their language, you may encounter barriers that prevent achieving desired goals. Whether the barrier is related to a large acquisition, understanding the terms of a contract, responding to a technical request, or hiring a new employee, language barriers can prevent you from completing critical business activities. Language barriers can also create misunderstandings, costly legal issues and embarrassing mistakes that can endanger your company. That is why it is critical that you have a trusted and reliable resource for language translation who can facilitate the accurate translation of your message.
Unfortunately, finding the right translator for your needs takes time and effort. Here are insider tips for finding a translations company you can trust. These tips will guide your review and selection to pinpoint the best language translations company for your needs.
When you choose a translation services company, a large agency is rarely the best option. Excluding small and inexperienced translation companies, a local translation services provider can usually accommodate your multilingual needs. This is particularly true when a local translations business has trained and experienced professionals in your industry and an established reputation. Local agencies usually provide better pricing, faster service, personal attention, and greater value.
Local companies also take security and confidentiality more seriously. Often companies claiming to be large and operate internationally boast of their database of thousands of translators. Usually, they do not personally know the translators in their database. Once the translations company receives your document, they review it briefly and attempt to match it against the skills of hundreds of translators in their database. Most the of the translators in these databases were never tested or verified. Using such a company sacrifices control over your personal and confidential information, which, when circulated, may be leaked to hundreds of unknown individuals. You also lose the reassurance that someone with an established record of experience and success will be completing your translation. Since these companies are unlikely to have local employees in your area, certain services are unavailable, such as same day or expedited delivery, local pickup, and onsite notarization of your certified and legal translations.
However, local translation agencies tend to employ local translators who are validated, full-time translators as opposed to unknown and unaffiliated freelancers. A local company is also more likely to work harder to gain and keep your business. They work longer hours to meet your deadline, they will be more flexible to meet your budget restraint, and they will be available when problems surface. An established local translations company will evaluate your project and determine the most suitable translator to complete the work. If they are large enough to have their own team of translators, they will assign your project to someone they personally know and trust and have a work history with.
The livelihood of a local company depends on maintaining strong relationships with the local community. Local companies are more likely to work extra hours, provide pricing breaks and go the extra distance to earn and keep your business. Because your success is linked to their success, they will extend extra effort to deliver a fast, high quality translation at an excellent price.
Currently websites can be built in a day for little money. Unethical businesses have tapped into this knowledge and are using it to take advantage of people. They misrepresent themselves, make misleading claims, purchase fake customer reviews and, most importantly, end up hurting unsuspecting clients.
If you live in a metropolitan area like New York, Los Angeles, Houston or Dallas and search for translation services on Google, undoubtedly you will encounter many of these unethical businesses that falsely claim to be local. They have expensive office spaces with glamorous city views and impressive waiting rooms in some of the most exclusive office buildings in the city. The only problem is that the profit margin in translation services simply is not high enough to pay for the type of lavish offices being shown. So, what is really going on?
Shady translation companies follow a business strategy based on deception. The office spaces they claim to occupy are virtual offices, the equivalent of a post office box. By just having just an address, they can trick Google into giving them local business listings. Although the use of virtual offices violate Google’s policies, thousands of businesses get away with this deception because there is minimal enforcement. The real problem is that these businesses do not have any local employees, do not pay business taxes, and are not even registered with the state to provide translation services.
Their goal is to pull a sheet over your head, trick you into believing that they are local and then charging absurd prices for substandard translations with slow delivery times.
While their profiles show large numbers of positive reviews, a close inspection suggests that the people leaving those reviews are not even from the local area. This begs the question: are the reviews legitimate? You know the answer. But the real problem appears when your need is urgent. Whether your translation is for legal purposes, financial or immigration purposes, if you need an original translation with an affidavit of translation accuracy signed by a public notary and the translator, they cannot provide it. But by the time you figure that out, you have even bigger things to worry about with these companies.
Many internet-based translation companies offer gimmicky pricing. One of the biggest gimmicks is per-page pricing. Companies advertise that they translate a page for $25. However, unless you read the fine print, you will learn that the $25 is for only 250 words. If your page has more than 250 words you will pay more. These same companies usually charge additional fees for credit card processing, notarization, express service and so on. For transparency, you should always ask for a per-word price. 24 Hour Translation Services, for example, offers a rate of $0.087 per word, meaning that a 250-word Spanish-to-English translation costs $21.75. This price includes the certification, notarization, credit card processing and local pickup from their office in Houston or Dallas.
Language translations are a commodity. Across the world the price paid to professional translators with equivalent experience and competence is consistent. Factors that cause pricing differences among firms are linked to operating costs, advertising expenditures, skill of the translator and the quality of the work produced. Beyond basic pricing, clients often need additional services. For a legal translation of a document, the client may need the translations company to provide an original hard copy of the translation, along with an affidavit from the translator that is signed with a ballpoint pen and notarized by a public notary. Additional services can drive up pricing. However, providing original copies of a translation that is signed and certified in ballpoint pen by both a translator and public notary is often included at no additional charge by a local company. Large, non-local companies using a virtual address and having no local presence cannot provide these services because they either cannot provide the service or would need to ship your document from outside the state or country, which adds considerable time and cost to your project.