For companies looking to expand on a global scale, technical translations for their products and services are of vital importance. Left as an afterthought or rushed as a last-minute part of the process, they can result in missed deadlines, unforeseen costs, and an inability to secure quality technical translation services to effectively and accurately translate your documentation.

Technical translation shouldn’t be seen as merely an add-on to your project. It’s actually an essential element of preparing marketing and documentation materials for global markets.

Read on for a look at why international translations should be an integral part of your project from the very beginning.

Leaving International Translations for the Last Minute Can Lead to Inadequate Translations

Prior to a product’s overseas launch, it’s expected for companies to spend considerable time and resources researching, documenting, and planning. Unfortunately, in many cases, translation is treated as an afterthought. When translation is needed, companies tend to assign the project to somebody in-house who speaks the language or hire any available, low-cost translator at the last minute, expecting quick turnaround.

This results in compromised results, as technical translation is a professional skill requiring extensive experience, discipline, and subject matter expertise to ensure complete accuracy. Merely knowing a language can’t account for specialized technical wording. Additionally, an in-house employee or low-cost translator may not understand the target language’s idioms, dialect, or cultural sensitivities and rarely has the right tools for effective project management.

If a document is turned around too quickly, the technical document will likely be filled with errors and inaccuracies that may require retranslation from a certified, technical language services company.

Using a Native Speaker Within Your Company for Your International Translations Can’t Guarantee Accuracy

If you don’t include translation in your initial timeline, you may be in a rush to have it done near the end of your project. With deadlines looming it may seem like common sense to use a native speaker who’s already employed by your company to translate your technical documents. In reality, this approach can easily spell disaster for your product.

If not handled appropriately, your intended message runs the risk of being misinterpreted by your target audience in more ways than one. Your messaging and tone can take on a different meaning, potentially causing insult or offense to the target audience and creating overall distrust in your brand and company image.

Additionally, the employee has other tasks within his or her job description, meaning he or she won’t be able to devote the necessary effort required to correctly translate your document.

The native speaker may also translate to suit his or her particular taste, compromising the integrity of your message, failing to format properly, and excluding pertinent technical information.

Delaying International Translations May Result in Increased Costs

When you don’t plan ahead to incorporate document translation into your project, there may not be a budget for it. Since budgets are often formulated in the earliest stages of a project, adding translation costs in at the end can lead to exceeding the budgeted funds.

In addition, having to rush through a translation project can lead to additional costs for expediting translation.

And you may have already baked costs into your project by not considering details like word count, formatting, and use of colloquial terms or abbreviations. Ideally, it’s important to consider those factors when creating the original source document or when preparing it for the translation services vendor.


The Manufacturers Guide to Technical Translation

Learn all you need to know about technical document translation, key questions to ask, and critical pitfalls to avoid.