Are translation services giving you a headache instead of solving your problem? Do they commit to having experts work on your project and then end up scrambling to find the next best person just to send it in on time?? Is your translated Portuguese document below par and well below what you were expecting?
These are pointed questions that will help you get to the heart of the matter. Translation is such a challenging field that not every agency that claims to provide excellent service can actually deliver on those claims. With relatively simple material, you may not have trouble finding a decent agency that will do an acceptable job; but when you want more, then where do you go and what do you look for? This is what we hope to answer here.
The first thing a translation job needs is expertise. Without a thorough knowledge of both the source and the target languages, a translator will be working in the dark. Accurate translation requires specific skills, so this is the first thing you should consider before hiring a translation service. If your material is in Portuguese or you want another language to be translated into Portuguese, then the perfect translator will need to have native-speaker proficiency in the source language and be a native speaker of the target language. Of course, training, experience and specialisation are a must.
The second thing is professionalism. Are they responsive to your messages? Will they give you periodic updates on longer projects? Are they upfront about having limited resources, if that is indeed the case? These questions will help you separate the professionals from the also-rans
The third important consideration is adherence to deadlines. If your project isn’t urgent, then this may not be a priority; however, whatever deadline is committed to must be kept.
Domain knowledge relevant to your project is a must. If you have specialised Portuguese content that needs to be faithfully rendered in the target language – such as medical, legal, financial or marketing – then the agency you hire should be proficient in that area.
Another set of factors should go into your agency selection process, and this will help you finally decide on whom to hire.
The Confidentiality Element
Confidentiality may be critical to your project. If it is a company-confidential document, for example, then you may want the translator to sign a non-disclosure agreement – find out if that option is being offered. If it isn’t, then you may want to keep looking.
Data security is another concern. If the information transfer protocol between you and the translation agency is not encrypted, your valuable files may end up on the internet. Worse than that would be your information falling into the hands of someone who could potentially misuse it. To ensure the security of your data, find out if the agency provides secure servers for file transfer between you and them.
Yet another consideration is the internal allocation and management process that the agency uses. Ideally, they should have a project manager who reviews the material and then assigns it to the best person for the job. This means assessing the need and matching the required resources to that need. It also means keeping track of progress to ensure that the final translated document is delivered on time or before.
If your document is especially hard to translate, you may want an independent reviewer to proofread and edit the pre-final translated material. Many agencies offer this for an additional fee, but it will be well worth the extra money spent because you have a double assurance with respect to the quality of the translation.
You may need to hunt around for an agency that can fulfil all of these needs for you. There are several out there, and it shouldn’t be difficult to identify one that suits you perfectly. Now that you know exactly what to look for and ask for, your job of selecting a professional agency for your Portuguese translation needs will be much easier.