Translation software is an invaluable investment when it comes to conducting business on a global scale. Translation software can streamline and automate the manual processes typically associated with digital content translation, saving you time and money. Whether you are in need of translating content for your company’s website to reach customers internationally, launching a new product across the globe, or publishing marketing collateral to a worldwide audience, there are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the right translation software solution for your organization.

Being armed and ready with key questions before investing in translation and localization software will empower you to make the best, most informed choice. To help you move the selection process along with greater ease, here are five important questions that should be discussed both within your organization and with the translation software companies you intend to evaluate. 

Question 1: Are your translators native speakers?

The goal of hiring a translator is two-fold—translation and localization. Does the translation software service have a professional network of translators on hand if you decide not to use your own resource? If so, it is critical that you ask if the language and country you are explicitly targeting is the translator’s native tongue, and if they live in that specific country. A native-speaking translator has mastered the language regarding vocabulary as well as the social nuances and cultural mores of that given country. Localization can make a huge difference when it comes to relating to your target audience on a level that is familiar to them.

Consistency is key when it comes to translating content. Securing a translator anywhere in the world on a freelance basis poses some risks; freelancers may not always be available when you need them. While vetting translation software services, confirm whether or not they can provide your organization with the same translator every time for your projects, and how many translators they have on hand at any given moment.

Question 2: How much will it cost?

Understandably, your budget for translation software services will most likely be a key influencer for you and your business. However, it is essential to ask what type of services you will be getting for your money, and if you and your organization understand the value of translation software services and the impact on your ROI.  Since translation costs can vary greatly and are contingent upon many factors such as the size, volume, and type of content associated with a translation project, it will be vital to know upfront exactly what you are quoted.

For example, many companies implement a price per word model; however, does the price include editing and proofreading in addition to translation?  Also, is the quote a fixed price or will it expire? Some software translation services offer volume discounts and packages.

Some translation software services include project management in their service; however, some do not. Finding out if there are extra fees involved for a project manager and other support staff is important for controlling costs.

Finally, find out what add-on services you will be getting. Ask for a detailed list of what these services mean and what concrete value they can bring to your business.

Question 3: How do you measure translation quality?

Quality above everything else is a business mantra that needs to be repeated consistently. Your business’s reputation is on the line, which is why you need to be confident that the translation and publishing process of your content meets your expectations for quality. Some of your content, such as high-converting content like landing pages or transactional pages, may require the highest standards of quality; other types of content, however, might not need the most expensive translation workflow (translator, editor, and reviewer).

It is essential that you understand what quality assurance processes and metrics the company has in place regarding translation variables, and if they have the data to back it up. Are these metrics generated automatically, and can they predict translation processing errors before publishing and make those changes in real-time? Also, what reporting methods are available and how are they delivered? The ability to have complete transparency to manage multiple translation projects while measuring your business’s ROI is extremely valuable.

Question 4: How does your translation software technology compare to other translation software services?    

When comparing translation software services’ technology, you need to remain steadfast in how this specific automation can successfully help your business attain its objectives. Speed, scalability, and configurability are all vital to the translation software process. Finding out if the translation software platform is centralized and located on-premise or in the cloud will determine how fast you will be up and running. If the platform is in the cloud, your company will not have to be concerned with building additional data centers, which can be costly and time-consuming. Cloud-based technology will provide you with access to your translation projects 24/7. Also, having the ability to configure workflows will allow greater flexibility to meet your project needs.

Other important considerations to keep in mind is if the translation software solution you are evaluating is easy to implement, requires minimal technical maintenance, and can scale as your translation volume needs to increase. The types of security measures and safeguards that are put in place are just as valuable as the translation software technology itself, especially if you are translating sensitive information or want to avoid compromising customer information.

Finally, when evaluating a vendor, always ask if they have visual context. Visual context is a translator tool that provides an accurate visual representation of your website or application that is being translated, completely in context. This is extremely valuable because if translators are able to see what they are translating as they are translating, they can make quick and accurate linguistic decisions based on how a word or phrase is being used. Most importantly, this powerful tool serves to minimize the guesswork or potential errors, which saves you time and money by helping translators get their translations right the first time around.

Question 5: Do you have professional references to share?

Past performance is a strong predictor when it comes to measuring the quality of products and services from a translation software solution. Often, client success stories or case studies are listed on a company’s website and reading these materials can help you get a sense of how another company (or your competitor) has benefited from that translation technology. Finally, asking for references from previous clients may be helpful before making your final decision.

Ultimately, you will need to evaluate if the translation software service you select will effectively align with your organization’s specific needs, budget, and expectations, while continually improving efficiency, consistency, and quality.


Juliana Pereira is Vice President of Marketing at Smartling.



Check out this research report by Aberdeen’s Omer Minkara to explore how the Best-in-Class build and nurture multi-lingual communications to boost employee engagement, improve customer satisfaction and deliver greater shareholder value. 

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