Why Should You Outsource to a Translation Agency?

Many businesses want to keep everything in-house. It’s understandable. Maybe it’s early days and you want to keep costs down. Maybe you want to retain control. Or maybe you’re convinced no one can do your brand justice like internal staff. And so translation often falls to the marketing and communications team. Don’t get us wrong, this can work well. But all too often these teams are juggling many other tasks. And many companies think this is the only option.

A lot of companies believe they can’t afford to pay a translation agency or external translator. They think it will be too hard to train them up on their products, tone of voice or target market. Well, we’re here to bust those myths. We’ll explain the benefits of outsourcing your translations, from better results to fresh perspectives. And we’ll show how translators and translation companies can be excellent value for money.

1.      Produce better translations

The single most compelling reason to work with an external translation provider is that they can produce higher quality translations.

Many of our clients are busy marcomms teams with a million and one things to do. From advertising to social media, analytics to email campaigns, it’s hard to do it all. Let alone do it all well. And translation is one task that demands – and deserves – thorough attention. After all, it’s your doorway to entire markets.

While you’re busy with the demands of your day job, dedicated translators are continually honing their craft. They keep up to date with language changes, from best practice regarding inclusive writing to SEO translation techniques. Not to mention the latest lingo and industry developments in their areas of specialism. Choosing to work with an expert whose job is to take messages across borders will produce better results.

That said, your translations won’t be better by mere virtue of using a freelance translator or translation company. Because not all translators are created equal. They have different skill sets, experience and ways of working. You need to get the right fit.

2.      Strike the right tone with a specialist

Different types of texts require different types of translators. A contract, an instruction manual and marketing materials are all quite different beasts. They use different vocabulary, tone and style and appear on different platforms or in different media. The purpose or aim of each text varies too. With a contract, the purpose of the text is to inform the reader, while a landing page on your website aims to convince the reader, encouraging them to buy the product or perhaps sign up to a mailing list.

It makes sense to use a translator who has experience working both with that specific type of text and within that field. In the translation world, these are referred to as specialisms or specialisations.

Let’s use a landing page translation as an example. For this project, you’ll want to work with someone who: 

  • understands the marketing drive behind the text
  • is an excellent translator
  • has a real flair for writing
  • knows how to persuade the reader

You might also look for someone with knowledge of UX and SEO. 

In fact, marketing texts like this are often approached as transcreations. In transcreation projects, the brief is the most important factor and translators have free rein to be as creative as they need to trigger the desired action from the reader. Clients with these projects often choose to work with translators with copywriting or content writing experience (Spoiler alert – that’s us at Plume Rouge!).

Another reason businesses find it hard to outsource translation is that they feel they know their products or services better than anyone. And that’s probably true. But it won’t take long to train up an external translator. If you’re working with a specialist in the area, they’ll already be familiar with industry terminology and jargon. They’ll know some of the key players in the sector and may actually know a bit about your company too. 

If you work with a specialised translator, all you may need to do to get them up to speed is provide a style guide or background information, or hop on a quick call. By the way, translators love getting feedback! So if they don’t get it quite right the first time, provide constructive criticism so they can hit the nail on the head the next time.

3.      Get the language right with native speakers

It may sound obvious, but you need to work with someone that translates into the language you need. Many translators only work in one direction, say from Dutch to French, but not French to Dutch. So if you want high-quality translations, you will normally team up with a native speaker. Because though many translators write well in other languages, it’s often obvious when a text has been written by a non-native speaker. At worst, it can offend or confuse. At best, it can amuse or distract. Not the reaction you’re looking for, we’d bet.

The same goes for language varieties. Language varieties or variants are the different versions of a language that develop in a particular place, such as Australian English or UK English, Belgian French or Canadian French. Many companies assume the differences are too minor to matter. But they do matter. 

Language varieties are especially important for marketing texts, where you want to create texts that resonate with your target audience, where you want them to feel you’re addressing them specifically and where you want them to trust you. Getting it wrong can have quite the opposite effect. In fact, language varieties are a sensitive subject and have often been used to exclude. So it’s worth treading carefully.

Choose translators that know the language variety and target market inside and out. Some choose to work only with translators living in the target market. This way, they can make sure the translations really sound at home. For instance, Plume Rouge is a translation agency based in Belgium specialised in texts targeting the Belgian market. We’re a human-sized agency which we believe offers the best of both worlds. We’re small enough to work closely with our clients, really getting to know their company, products, style and tone of voice. And we’re big enough to be your one point of contact for translations in French, Dutch, German, English, Spanish and more. 

4.      Be actively involved or leave them to it

Your business may have a variety of texts that need translating, from terms and conditions to privacy policies, from funding applications and financial reports to social media or customer-facing website content. That’s where a translation agency can really come in handy. Because it means you don’t need to coordinate with several different freelancers. But translation  companies come in all shapes and sizes too. Some are large global enterprises working across diverse verticals and languages. Others are much smaller and focus on specific niches, languages and markets.

When you’re choosing a translation provider, consider:

  • The volume and variety of your translation work: do you need to translate a wide variety of long documents or recurring short copy like social media posts? Or a mix of both?
  • The type of organisation you want to work with: a small team who really gets to know your business or a large global company with more capacity?
  • The amount of input you want to have on your translations: leave them to it, or take a hands-on approach?

Larger organisations will suit those who don’t want to be involved in the translation process, and those that have a large amount of translation work across multiple language combinations and subjects. But for others, we recommend a boutique translation agency for a perfect combination of excellent quality and efficiency. Find out how to choose a translation agency.

5.      Free up your time and energy to focus on what you do best

When you delegate translation work to a professional, you free up more of your own time. So you can do more of what you do best. Whether that’s lead nurturing, running marketing campaigns or finessing your website, you can focus on what you excel at and enjoy. This can reduce your stress and risk of burnout while also increasing your job satisfaction. With less plates spinning, you’ll be able to concentrate and perform better. Ultimately, it’s better for the bottom line, and the business as a whole.

6.      Gain a fresh perspective and new ideas

Another bonus to working with an external translation partner is that they bring a different perspective and new ideas. Because they’re not embedded within your organisation, they look at problems and projects with fresh eyes. And this can prove inspirational and insightful. Experienced translators also draw on their knowledge of the target market and may spot gaps and opportunities.

7.      Hire a translation partner, gain cultural and linguistic insights too

Yes, you can use Google Translate for free. But when it comes to your brand reputation, is it really worth the risk? In fact, translation doesn’t cost the earth. Especially when you consider that translation gives you access to entirely new markets.

What’s more, when you work with a committed, experienced translation partner, you’re getting much more than just translation. Foster an environment where they’re empowered and encouraged to share their ideas and insights. Because they can draw on years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the target culture and market. This means you’re gaining a skilled linguist and a cultural consultant. We may be a little biased, but we truly believe that skilled translators are worth their weight in gold.

Choosing the right translation agency to partner with can set your business up for success. Interested in starting your translation project? Get in touch with us, it’s kind of what we do!

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