Questions Professional Translation Companies Will Ask Before Starting a Project

Mar 21, 2017 | Translation Companies

translation projects

Many translation companies have a problem on their hands when it comes to finding new clients, and these potential clients are also affected by it as well. What’s the issue? These translation teams can all seem very…samey. Their marketing strategies tend to line up in a way that’s stereotypical: they’re sticklers for deadlines, always want to provide the highest quality translation, have great customer satisfaction rates and the largest language variety. The list could go on.

This makes it hard for clients to choose the right translation company for them, and it’s also hard on translation companies that haven’t yet figured out a way to stand out from the crowd. Potential clients take note: the best way to determine the quality of a business industry is the quality of the questions they ask before taking on your current project.

Outside of the languages involved and the deadline of the project, any good translation company will ask you about these standard questions. We do.

  1. Are the materials you want to translate internal documents of a company that will be used only internally, in which case the deadline has higher priority than 100% linguistic correctness?
  2. Does the client want to have native speakers involved in the proofreading or writing process, or will anyone proficient in the language(s) suffice?
  3. Does the project at hand need to be consistent with a past project or other work that’s already been translated or that may need to be translated later?
  4. Are there any terms that should remain in the original language because they are product brand names and have to be avoided due to legal reasons, copyrights, etc.?
  5. Does the client have their own glossary, containing a list of preferred terms? It’s quite frequent for customers to prefer the use of certain words. Does the client use any computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools internally? Does the client have a translation memory (TM), used in previous translation jobs performed by some other translation companies?
  6. How do you manage your translations? This allows us to determine the best workflow and possibly provide you with translations directly into your CMS or on a cloud-based solution.
  7. Would they like to receive a translation memory file after the project in addition to their translated materials? This can be used for other translations in the future for consistency purposes.
  8. Is the client okay with multiple translators working on one project to help with deadline achievement?
  9. What style should the content be in? Spawning questions should focus on how the reader is addressed, the formality of the project and how direct the text should be.
  10. Who does the project speak to? This can pertain to sex, gender, age or education level.
  11. Does the client require a desktop publishing (DTP) job in addition to the translation job you’re providing?
  12. If there are illustrations in the project, and they include text, should this text also be translated? If so, should they be edited using photo editing software or a translated script in a separate file?
  13. Is there a specific file format the client would like the project to be submitted using, such as .DOCX or .PDF?
  14. What issues did they have with any previous translation companies (if applicable), and how can you best meet their needs to avoid these conflicts?
  15. Is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) necessary because the documents are going to be sealed or confidential?
  16. If translating something technical, does the client have a demo version of the software or manual so instruction accuracy can be demonstrated? In general, do they have any reference materials they’d like to provide?