When it comes to procuring language services, whether it’s converting a brochure into multiple languages for a marketing campaign rollout or translating a patent application into 24 languages in order to file with the European Patent Office (EPO), many clients find themselves rushing to meet deadlines at the last minute, for any number of reasons.
Often, even though translation services have gradually become a key part in the operations of many organizations’ plans and regular workflows, they are still often not considered until the last minute. Not to mention, in today’s digital age and the increasingly rapid flow of information across borders, many clients simply don’t have the luxury of waiting a week or more to have their content translated.
After all, waiting a week to respond to a potential Chinese-speaking customer’s information request through your website can mean a lost sales opportunity, and any delay in releasing foreign language versions of a public health flyer means a highly virulent communicable disease could gain a dangerous foothold in a local community. This is why the availability of “rush” (expedited) translation services is so important to many clients.
However, as many clients who frequently need rush translation services have come to learn, the quicker a translation is needed – and especially larger volume translations – the more the quality of the translation tends to suffer. And, while many language service providers (LSPs) have come to quietly bemoan the consistent increase in rush translation requests in recent years, the ability to effectively provide rush translation services has become indispensable in the industry.
For both clients and translation providers, as the clock ticks toward that hard and fast deadline, waiting for a translator to turn in their work so it can be reviewed and delivered on-time is often a stressful experience. For clients, at least, it doesn’t have to be this way, and there are a few things you can do to make this experience as smooth (and successful) as possible:
- Allow for as much time to complete the translation as possible. While it may not seem so, every minute counts when it comes to providing a high-quality translation. This is especially true when you need a rush translation. Make sure you send that file to your translation provider as soon as it is ready so that they can begin the translation right away.
- Advance notice does help! If you know that you will have a file to be translated into Spanish tomorrow, and it needs to be completed within 24 hours, let your translation company know today. This way, they can save valuable time by assigning the right Spanish translator before they even receive the document, make sure the translator has the right subject matter expertise, and even allow the translator to start preparing ahead of time.
- Manage your expectations. While it isn’t too difficult to complete a 2,000-word translation within 24 hours and still have time to implement a comprehensive, multi-step quality control process, if you need a 50,000-word contract translated into Arabic by the next day, it will likely not be possible for every word to be fully proofread and edited. Also, since the document will likely need to be split among several translators, there will likely be some minor inconsistencies in terminology and style. This can be mitigated by providing your translation provider with a glossary of key terms and style guide in advance.
- Quality still matters. Even if a rush translation is not able to go through a complete, multi-step quality control check, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect a high-quality translation, although this can vary depending on the circumstances described above. Nevertheless, make sure to ask your translation provider in advance how their normal quality control process will be affected by a rush translation, if at all. Even rush translations should be reviewed. After all, you will likely be paying a premium to have a translation completed under rush conditions!
- Discuss your future needs with your translation provider. If you expect to have regular, on-going needs for rush translation services, let your translation provider know. They can put together a regular team of translators to handle all of your rush translation requests. By doing so, the translators will become more and more familiar with your content and expectations, which will make the entire process faster, smoother, and of much higher quality as time goes on.
If you are tired of receiving sub-par rush translations, by following the above tips, you will help to set up both you and your translation provider for success, ensuring that you will have all of your translation needs met and decrease your anxiety as that clock ticks closer toward the deadline on the day your urgent translation request is due.
Moreover, if you are having trouble finding a service provider who is willing to take on your rush translation projects, Affordable Language Services (ALS) are experts in providing rush translation services for even the most challenging rush translation projects.