As global reach expands and local diversity increases, interactions with coworkers, employees, or clients bring us in contact with those who speak different languages. As a result, we are faced with the new demands of a diversified audience coupled with tight budgets, limited time and in an overall downturned economy. Achieving a high return on investment from your training, eLearning, and communication initiatives is extremely important, starting with the initial decision: to translate or not to translate?
Before starting a translation project, you must first determine what business requirements the project will address. Some questions to consider upfront:
What's your goal?
For example, is the implementation of translation going to contribute to reaching sales targets, meeting legal requirements, to better educate staff, or are there other obligations? In short, what is the desired return on this investment?
What caused the need for translation?
Is this a current need or are you working in consideration of future goals? Can translation be postponed until a later date or is it imperative that you start the process now?
Can you have optimal success without translation?
Is translation a nicety or necessity? Is translation a pre-existing expectation of your target audience? If the answer to this question has yet to be determined, perhaps developing a test group or pilot translation strategy would be beneficial before establishing a long-term policy.
What's the long-term goal?
Consider your ongoing translation and localization plan, including project sequence and potential support needs. How does this project fit into long-term translation strategies?
What's your budget?
Determine your budget for translation in light of the desired results and your business needs. Translation and localization cost is the opportunity cost to reach your desired target market or achieve your business goals in a diverse sector. A secondary question to consider here is "How much of this cost can be absorbed internally?" While bilingual staff members may be able to complete an internal quality assurance review, be careful not to assume too great a risk by using staff members to translate if this is outside of their intended job description. While they are familiar with your company, you may sacrifice the expertise a professional translation company can provide, and this approach could end up costing you more in the long run.
Are you set up for victory?
Unrealistic budgetary restrictions or diminished turn-around times may limit your service quality and mitigate your expected results. For optimal success, work with your translation project manager to determine realistic expectations for budget and project timelines."
Answering these questions will start you off with a firm foundation to support future translation success.
Look before you leap, otherwise you may need to heed this bad translation blunder and carefully slip and fall down.