Procuring translation services is not like buying staples. While staples are a highly standardized product, no two translations are the same. When looking for a translation service, it’s important to keep this in mind.

For many firms, the approach is to simply find the lowest cost translation service. However, looking for a long-term partner rather than simply a document translator will ensure that you receive the best overall value for your money.

What a Document Translator Offers

A document translator offers a transactional relationship. You send them your copy; they translate it into the language requested. You can go online, submit your document, and never even interact with another human. However, the outcome may be a poor quality document, translated by a service with no subject matter expertise and with little attention paid to important details. Yes, you get a translated document, but the graphics may be misaligned, the formatting could be off, the meaning could be altered, and there may be no consistency in how words are translated throughout the document.

Fixing these kinds of errors can add up, both in terms of time and money. You should also consider that the costs of using substandard translations, in terms of not meeting your planned objectives, could be even higher.

What a Translation Partner Offers

A translation partner is exactly that—a partner to your success. They work with you to provide you the highest value service at the best price possible. This type of service may cost more on a per word basis, but you will get the best overall value. A translation partner will focus on details such as proper formatting and consistency and will use native translators with subject matter expertise to provide high quality, accurate translations.

Additionally, when you build a long-term relationship with your translation partner, there’s a mutual benefit. The translators become like surrogate employees; they understand the products and services your business offers almost as well as you do. And working with them is easy. You can send over your documents and they already know what to do, what your special requirements are, what your preferences are for translating certain terms—making it easier for you to do business.

Likewise, as a consistent client, you also get to know your translation partner’s processes and can format and prepare your documents in a manner that speeds translation and reduces costs.

Another often-overlooked benefit of a translation partnership is the partner’s ability to provide consistency across all translations in an organization. Different departments work independently—procedure manuals may come from the engineering department while product brochures come from marketing. By building a long-term relationship, your translation partner can deliver more consistent and accurate translations across the organization.

Weighing Value Against Cost

A partnership goes beyond a one-time transaction to an ongoing relationship. And in relationships, there’s a huge amount of trust and vested interest. When you’ve developed a partnership, your translation partner will be there to help you with whatever you need. With a document translator, you’ll be on your own to deal with any issues or complications that may arise.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Do you value the extra service and quality control a partner can provide? If you do, then keep that in mind when you select a translation service and choose one committed to being your long-term partner.