Client and language vendor working together
Client and language vendor working together

Another day, another product launch. In today’s global market, launching a product likely means that you will also launch multilingual documentation. Some companies have internal translators, but many call on external language vendors to translate their content. If you are one of these companies, here are three tips for building a healthy relationship with your language service provider:

Talk to your language vendor

It’s easy to just throw content over the fence, collect the translation and pay the bill. However, checking in with your vendor on a regular basis helps eliminate misunderstandings and set expectations. If you have a language manager or a local product expert at your company, have them set up meetings with the vendor’s language lead. This could be quarterly, monthly or even biweekly depending on your needs and availability. Take the time to go through your style guide, walk the vendor through your content types, and explain what kinds of products you sell. This builds trusts and a collaborative work environment – a classical win-win situation!

Provide specific translation feedback

No doubt, regular meetings are important to get an overall picture and build a strong foundation. But it’s important that language vendors receive specific translation feedback, too. Let them know when a translation hit just the right tone. Or maybe the last piece of content was full of errors? There are many ways you can give specific translation feedback: forward the reviewed document with changes tracked, fill in a LISA QA scorecard, or even pull a report from an integrated translation quality assurance tool. Soon your vendor will get a much better understanding of your expectations and priorities. Analyzing feedback also helps you close gaps in your instructions or glossaries. In addition, you now have a way to collect metrics about your vendor’s performance.

Do your part

Make sure translators know what you want. For each project, clearly outline the deliverables and expected hand-back dates. Which languages do you need? Should translators adjust the currency or even change colours? Have you sent them context like screenshots, mockups or a product sample? It’s also important that you provide your language service provider with a style guide, glossary and possibly even a translation memory. If you don’t have all of these resources available yet, consult your language vendor and work something out together. After all, working together is what it’s all about.

What are your best practices and main challenges when working with language service providers? Comment below and share your experiences!


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