5 considerations when choosing a global content services partner


The cost of global content solutions is a crucial deciding factor for businesses. While it's vital to find a partner who balances cost with quality, it isn't an easy task. 

At one point or another, you may find yourself trying to compare services that seem pretty similar, making a decision about which global content services provider to choose. A large part of any purchase decision is undoubtedly cost. But as you may know if you’ve ever gone with the least costly option and discovered you get what you pay for—sometimes making a decision based on price alone can lead you down the wrong path.

In fact, according to over 550 survey respondents involved in content generation and localization of content, 89 percent agree that translation quality is much more important than cost. This recent survey conducted by SDL includes feedback from public and private companies across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and other regions.

Instead, we advise you to consider the cost of translation services in addition to other critical factors, so you can make a balanced decision. We’ve come up with a few questions you should pose to each translation provider you’re considering before making your selection.

Does the vendor have processes in place to analyze quality at every step?

Assured quality comes at a price, it’s true. A low-cost option can mean inadequate quality control measures and less due diligence. And without due diligence to ensure high-quality results, you may end up spending more in the long run when costly rework is required.

Instead of focusing on the lowest-cost option, be sure your vendor has processes in place to monitor and analyze quality every step of the way. By monitoring this throughout the entire translation workflow, you can avoid possible mishaps and ensure higher-quality translations. This could end up actually saving you money in the long run.

Another important element to consider is your translation provider’s selection of linguists. Since linguists serve as the core of quality translations, you want to be sure your translation provider is thoroughly evaluating a linguist for the best match before assigning him or her to your projects. Your provider should also be tracking a linguist’s performance with each project. At Acolad, we hold our linguists to a higher standard compared to the industry norm.

Does the vendor offer a centralized translation management system?

If you have ever wondered about the status of your content project, you understand the frustration that comes with not having a centralized translation management system. Complete centralization means never facing undue risk when it comes to your translation deliverables—because everything is tracked and kept up-to-date in one central system. Without a centralized content management system, you may be deprived of full visibility and the ability to utilize as a whole your entire company’s translation memories from disparate business units.

However, it's possible to alleviate the heavy lifting by using a cloud-based platform that enables you to track every project every step of the way. Approvers and requestors alike can work inside the system and have visibility into the entire workflow. What does this have to do with the cost of translation services you ask? A centralized system means more efficient workflows and boosting quality while saving resources. 

Does the vendor offer translation memory—and consider it your intellectual property?

Translation memory can save you a lot of money, but not everybody understands the true benefits. By consolidating your translation memory within a translation management platform, the per-word fee is greatly reduced, resulting in lower translation costs. Not to mention it can significantly decrease the time it would otherwise take for a linguist to translate new material. This results in faster turnaround times and increased translation accuracy and consistency.

Remember, not all translation memory is created equal—especially translation memory like ours, which is more advanced than other vendors’ software. Do your research and be sure your translation provider has the most up-to-date technology and offers the best solution for your translation needs.

You should also make sure the translation memory is considered your intellectual property and will remain with you at all times. Not all vendors are willing to let you access your translation memory directly. And you certainly shouldn’t be charged extra for this.

Does the vendor take advantage of innovative technologies? Or better yet, create them?

Technologies like translation connectors and end-to-end solutions for multilingual content creation, structuring and publishing are essential to align the quality of companies’ communications with the excellence of their products.

Machine translation (MT), neural machine translation (NMT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)—these are all terms with which your preferred translation provider should be very familiar. The providers who are leading the pack on intelligent content research and development will present opportunities for your organization down the road.

Whomever you partner with should foster a creative and innovative environment for finding and implementing solutions. Whether that means new technologies or other avant-garde ideas, a company that pushes the limits to improve will be in a position to address the quality turnaround times and cost of translation services.

Does the vendor offer a scalable model?

If your translation needs continue to grow each year, you want to be sure your content services provider can grow with you. If you find out down the road that they can’t scale to your needs—in terms of process and technology—you will be facing a possible last-minute vendor switch, which can equate to more hassle than necessary.

A scalable translation provider will have the capacity to simultaneously translate thousands of words into a variety of languages in any given day. It is simply impossible to achieve that level of translation service if you’re working with a few independent translators or small single-language translation providers.

Be sure your provider has the most efficient technology to get the job done, no matter how big the project. Not to boast, but we have a top-ranked translation management system, and quite honestly it can’t be beat!

Cost of translation services is more than just a dollar amount

When shopping for a translation provider, avoid thinking solely in terms of cost. Instead, think about how much value you’re getting from their services. After all, a seemingly inexpensive provider could end up costing you far more than what’s on the monthly invoice—like a whole lot of intangible inefficiencies and potential costly rework.

A trusted partner will work with you over time to ensure your translation program is running efficiently and you’re maximizing your spend.