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5 Questions to Ask Before You Spend Money on Translation Services for Your Business

Businesses use translation services for a variety of purposes — from recruiting to training, marketing, and beyond. But the quality of those translation services can vary greatly, whether you are using humans, machines, or a mix of both. Inexperienced interpreters can miss the mark, cultural nuances can fall by the wayside, and unintended bias can creep in when machines are left to their own devices. 

So before you take the plunge to hire a translator or integrate a translation tool within your business, it’s important to do your research. Make sure that you understand how to find the right partner for your business (one that prioritizes quality), what matters to your customers when it comes to the accuracy of translations, and how a translation tool will impact your business and provide ROI as you grow. 

To get started, consider these five questions. 

How do I choose a good translation service for my business?

There are three main categories of translation services businesses can choose from — human multilingual translation, multilingual translation technology, and AI-powered, human-refined multilingual translation. At Unbabel we advocate for (and provide) AI-powered, human-refined solutions. This means that humans and machines work together to provide quality translations at scale. This mixed solution allows you to supercharge your translation efforts in a more cost-effective way, without risking issues from machines gone rogue. In this situation, machines provide speed and efficiency, while humans improve the accuracy of translations and integrate cultural nuances that machines don’t necessarily account for on their own. 

Another benefit of this mixed solution is authenticity. Machines learn languages in a very black-and-white manner. They don’t pick up on slang terms or the meaning of phrases that don’t have an exact translation in another language (examples in the English language include “Let’s table this item.” or “Give me a ballpark figure.”). For your brand specifically, this issue may be highlighted if you use certain terms or phrases to describe your business. They may be key to your brand identity and the way you wish to communicate with customers, but the meaning would be lost via an exact translation. Look for a solution that integrates humans who can become experts in your brand nuances, or integrates technology that allows you to create brand-specific glossaries and rulebooks that reflect your unique style and tone. 

Do my customers really care if I translate content?

Global businesses must provide native language support and services to their customers around the world. Research has shown us time and time again that customers find this to be essential. In our recent 2021 Global Multilingual CX Report we spoke to thousands of consumers across the US, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, and Japan. 73% of respondents told us that they would be loyal to a brand that offers support in their native language and 68% went so far as to say that they would switch to a different brand, if the one they were originally shopping with didn’t offer support in their native language. 

If you’re wondering whether translation services are a good investment for your business, think about how much that customer churn could impact your bottom line. Customers have even expressed that they will spend less money with brands that don’t provide multilingual support. 

How will accurate translations help me run a better business?

One of the biggest benefits of integrating a translation solution into your business is that it empowers your employees to do their jobs better. Think about the world of customer support, for example. It’s no longer necessary to hire support agents based solely on their native language. Businesses can hire for skill and expertise first, and empower agents to become instantly multilingual with technology tools that integrate into their workflow. A high-quality translation solution allows you to focus on finding the best talent, no matter what language they speak. 

How do I measure the quality of my translation services?

Quality is key when it comes to translation services. Look for a tool that has quality indicators built into its system, so you can consistently evaluate your communications and customer interactions and ensure that translations are accurate. 

This is a major component of Unbabel’s solution. We train our technology tools with source materials from each customer that accurately portray the brand voice and tone, then measure our system's output against those source materials using a neural framework we created called COMET. 

Once that system is in place, each translation that flows through Unbabel’s tools is scored based on quality indicators. If something triggers a score below a certain threshold, the translation is sent to a team of human editors (native speakers) for review. This is the benefit of an AI-powered, human-refined system. Our native speaking editors constantly feed information back into the Unbabel tool so machines get smarter with each translation, and provide a system of checks and balances to ensure nothing gets misinterpreted.   

Improving translation quality is an ongoing process. We regularly measure the quality of translations that flow through the system, checking for accuracy, fluency, and to ensure that the style and tone of each communication matches the preferred brand guidelines. 

What’s the most cost effective way to integrate translation services into my business? 

Depending on the size and scale of your business, you may need to integrate translation solutions across multiple departments — like marketing, customer support, and recruiting. Instead of onboarding separate tools and systems for each department, look to integrate company-wide Language Operations efforts. With this unified strategy you can bring together all language projects in an organization using the same tools and system of governance. A single tool will prevent you from duplicating efforts and help your team maintain consistency in the translations presented to customers all over the world during all of their different brand touchpoints. 

When you’re ready to take the plunge

Now that you have an understanding of what your global customer base expects from your brand and how a unified strategy can help you run a more successful business, it’s time to take the plunge. Schedule a demo with Unbabel today and learn how our AI-powered, human-refined solution provides high-quality, cost-effective, efficient translations for businesses around the world.

About the Author

Kathryn Keenan is Director of Solutions Consulting at Unbabel. Kathryn has a demonstrated history of improving company-wide processes by working closely with product and sales to successfully onboard multiple high-profile customers. With her background in product, implementation, and client delivery, she helps Unbabel customers strategically deploy new ways of working through technology.

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