Many manufacturers that need professional translation support look for ways to get the job done on the fly and on the cheap. That may work if your company has a one-time need for translating one short document into one language. But as your business expands into new markets, it is almost certain your need for professional translation services will grow.

This is especially true for manufacturers that have lengthy, complex, technical manuals and related documents that need to be translated into more than one language or that need periodic updates. For these manufacturers, there eventually comes a time when using bootstrap, one-off approaches just won’t work effectively.

Here are 5 signs that may indicate the time has come for your manufacturing company to hire a professional translation services firm.

5 Reasons Your Manufacturing Firm Needs Professional Translation Support

1. Your organization scrambles frantically every time there is a new project.

Often, when a translation need first arises, the project lands on the desk of someone who has little experience with the process and does not know where to start. That individual may turn to in-house employees who speak the language into which the document needs translating or seek the help of in-country product distributors. Regardless, if the individual put in charge constantly has to chase down people, isn’t getting clear answers or commitment, and isn’t gaining traction, it is probably time to seek professional translation help.

2. Your previously translated documents contained embarrassing inaccuracies.

Many times, someone who is fluent in another language may not be well-versed in technical terminology unique to manufacturers. Or he or she may not be trained to question and verify the context, nuances, and double-meanings of certain terms. This can lead to disastrous, albeit sometimes comical, results. One company that served “wild rice” at a dinner buffet saw guests giggle when it was labeled as “chaotic rice” instead. And a manufacturer found out, too late, that the term “handling the equipment” got mistranslated to “fondling the equipment” in their operator’s manual. If you or your management turns red upon discovering such gaffs, then it is definitely time to hire a professional translation support firm.

3. You need your document translated into multiple languages.

It is one thing to need to get a brochure translated into, say, Spanish. It is quite another to need to get the same document, or something even more lengthy, translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic. Hiring individual translators – even if qualified – is only part of the challenge. You also need someone to manage that project to its effective and timely completion – and manage the multiple translators who will need to be involved, to ensure consistency across the translations. A professional translation service will do all this heavy lifting for you.

4. You start to lose control of your projects.

One company we know of needed to translate their corporate magazine, containing more than 100 pages, into French. So they sent the document to someone in their France-based division. Not only did it take several months to get the document back – when it arrived, the magazine had been completely redesigned, as well! And the translations provided were inconsistent from section to section within the document. If your company relies on many people internally to provide translation input, there may simply be too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s better at this point to hire professional translation help so you can get the job done on time — and on point.

5. You have to reinvent the wheel each time a project comes up.

Perhaps in the past you have reached out to regional or other international division offices to get your technical manual translated. A year later, you need to translate a similar document, so you contact the same office. But, since they don’t have professional tools to manage the translation process, they have to start over from scratch. And when they do, they use different technical terms than what were used during the initial translation, causing inconsistencies and confusion. If that’s the case, you would be better served — and save time and resources — by using a professional translation support service. The service will keep good and accurate records and a database of translations you have done before, which will streamline the process and ensure a quality outcome.

A good translation is often much more involved than many manufacturers realize. Don’t discover this the hard way. Hire a professional translation firm that stands behind the quality of its work and that provides top-notch customer service and guidance. You will save time, money, and stress in both the short- and long-term.