Switching to a new translation services partner, when you have been working with the same one for a long time, can seem like a hassle. If you’re having problems with your current translation provider, such as poor customer service, missed deadlines, or poor quality, you should not delay making a change. Force of habit and worry about the difficulty and disruption of the transition to a new partner can keep you working with the same company despite your growing dissatisfaction. However, changing translation providers does not have to be a painful process. And it is certainly easier if you plan the transition rather than having a crisis force you to take action—possibly in the middle of a project.
Find a new partner
Finding a new translation partner involves many of the same steps that we outlined in our earlier post “Choosing a Technical Translation Agency.”
- Get referrals from the agency
- Look at the agency’s experience relevant to your challenges
- Make sure linguists will be assigned based upon expertise in the subject area
- Look for use of the latest translation technology
- Ensure that there is planning for translation reuse (maintenance of a Translation Memory)
- Consider other language services you might need, such as multilingual voice-over and desktop publishing
Discuss the transition with potential partners to see what additional advice and assistance they can offer.
You will want to provide your new partner with materials to help them conform to your company’s established preferences, such as any style guides, glossaries, and previous translations (if the quality was acceptable). These are the same materials that your previous provider should have requested from you, and your former provider should give them to you at your request since they are your intellectual property.
Your previous partner should also hand over any translation memory (TM) they have been maintaining for your company. If they have not been maintaining a TM, this is a good reason to change providers. If one of the reasons you are changing providers is because of poor translation quality, you might want to start from scratch rather than use an existing TM. Generally, though, it makes sense to use the old translation memory while having your new partner check and correct the existing translations more thoroughly in the beginning of the new relationship. Over time the quality of the TM will improve and save time and money on future translations. If you’re unsure, your new partner should be able to help you evaluate the usefulness of the existing data.
Discuss the process
Discuss your existing content creation and translation process with your new partner as well as any problems with the existing process. Your new partner should work with you to adapt the translation process to integrate smoothly with your own procedures. The partner may also be able to suggest improvements with the process and ways to automate all or parts of the process. The agency should designate a single project manager who will handle all your company’s projects and thus become increasingly familiar with your company’s products/services and particular requirements.
If there is no existing translation memory, it is possible to create one using the source and translation text from previous translations. Your new translation provider should be able to evaluate your previous translations to determine whether such a process would make sense in your individual case.
Make the transition
There is no reason that a new translation supplier shouldn’t be able to start handling your translation requests very quickly, minimizing disruptions. MTM LinguaSoft receives inquiries from potential new clients all the time and usually can get started after a phone conversation or meeting to become familiar with your company and to work out a translation workflow. Gathering and transferring the materials (TM, past translations, etc.) referred to above is one key to getting the best translation results from the start. That’s why, if you are having problems with your current translation provider, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute before planning the transition to a new language services partner.
If you’re thinking of making a change, contact us to discuss how MTM LinguaSoft can help you change partners.