In this blog post, I wanted to add my own small contribution to the wealth of useful publications such as “How to ruin a company in 10 days”, “How to lose a client in six steps” or “The Ultimate Handbook for Business Failure”.
As these publications are in high demand and have a high level of success in following their recommendations to the letter, a little application of similar recommendations, but in the translation services sector would not go amiss.
Here are my suggestions on how to permanently worsen the quality of the translations you commission from your external providers in five convenient, easy-to-implement steps. In fact, most of these tips are nothing more than natural proclivities that just need to be accentuated.
Keep your relationship with your providers as unstable as possible. Change provider for each translation job! You don’t want them to know your company’s secrets or to become familiar with your products, processes or ways of doing things. What good does that do them? DON’T even think of maintaining a stable relationship with one or two translation providers.
Never communicate your requirements. Translators love being fortune tellers. If your company slogan is always left in English, don’t tell them. They love to get these things right. Of course, if they don’t get it right, you will have to change it twenty times when the text you receive is translated. However, despite this risk, never communicate things that only you, your industry or your company are familiar with.
Why do you have to give the translator work that has been done already? Never share your information assets. The provider only asks for glossaries to save themselves work, never to get a better understanding of your company’s own terminology or style. Let them do their homework! And if they don’t get it right, let them improve their guessing skills. Reference documents will only cause confusion.
Don’t pass on corrections or modifications you make to the translated texts you receive. Also, do not pass on any comments you receive from international delegations. If you were strict with step 1, this step is no longer necessary. But if you have not been strict with step 1 and you have created a loose link with a translation provider, this is your last chance for them not to learn. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that such expressions will be used again in future. Moreover, translators might get angry if they are told that they are wrong. Or worse if you have to justify a personal preference. And getting them angry won’t get them off your back either: they will still want to work as your providers.
And finally, never ever negotiate! If you have completely skipped step 1 and one day you don’t have the budget to do a translation project, don’t tell your provider and get someone else to do it. That is the day you’ll appreciate the value of these tips. If you have applied steps 2, 3 and 4 correctly, the translation company will not have been able to gather information or feedback, it will be very easy for you to change provider and you will not notice the difference. The difference in quality will be negligible. In other words, it will still be just as bad, or may have gotten even worse. Fantastic!
I am sure that, if you follow the above advice meticulously, the quality of your future translations will worsen significantly, and you will be grateful for the time you have spent reading them. If you have any complaints, I am at your disposal.