How many translation vendors does your company contract with?

Is it four or five, or maybe 100?

The Common Sense Advisory found that many companies don’t have a standard translation process – and don’t know how many translation vendors they have.

According to the article, “How Life Sciences Firms Buy Translation,” in-depth interviews with 12 life science companies revealed that within individual companies, “On average, each team had between three and four vendors and was aware of an additional three to four vendors that other teams were using.” Upon auditing the company’s translation vendor list, “The purchasing department… [was] surprised to learn that they worked with more than 100 [Language Service Providers] LSPs.”

A standard translation process can save your company time, money, and headache. You can contact CyraCom to start standardizing your organization’s translation process today.

Centralize Your Translation Providers

According to the CSA’s report, the accumulation of LSPs stems from each department within a company choosing their own LSP, “One of the biggest centralization challenges that life sciences buyers cited is that the users within their organization are free to circumvent corporate purchasing policies.”

It is important to have control and oversight of purchasing policies. Individual departments should not be putting out contracts with LSPs. One overall contract for a company would likely result in cost benefits not received from having a number of small contracts. “A purchasing manager at one Fortune 500 company… estimates that by introducing centralized translation purchasing, it will be able to save between 30 and 50% of current translation expenses, which equates to millions of dollars.”

Having more than one LSP may be necessary if you have specific translation needs that a single provider cannot meet. However, if a company can determine any specialized needs before contracting with an LSP, they should be able to find a company that meets all of their needs.

Who’s In Charge of the Vendor List and Procurement?

In the CSA’s report, many vendors expressed worry that centralization of their LSPs could:

  • Affect their ability to quickly add or remove vendors
  • Involve too many people in the decision-making process
  • Result in a vendor manager who doesn’t fully understand suppliers’ specializations, strengths, and weaknesses.

One way to avoid these problems is to have the person in charge of the vendor list— and in charge of procuring new vendors—be someone who works in the department with the most translation needs, or be someone who understands the company’s translation needs as a whole. This will help ensure that preferred vendors are not removed from the list.

Making sure the procurement person understands translation needs will also help ensure that the best quality vendors are selected to work with your company.

Technology Can Aid or Disrupt the Standard Translation Process

The Good

Helpful forms of technology include translation memories (TM)—a database of stored words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that have previously been translated and can be referenced by interpreters—and professional computer-aided translation (CAT) tools—these search a client’s TM and applicable glossaries to recommend possible word, sentence, or phrase matches.

Translation memories are a good resources for companies to have, especially in cases where multiple words might suffice in translation but you want to ensure a specific word is used in every instance. TMs stay with companies, so if you ever need to change vendors, the new vendor will be able use your existing TM for continued consistency.

The Bad and the Ugly

Technologies that are harmful to the translation process are fully automated machine translations. While fully automated machine translations—such as Google Translate and Skype Translator—are significantly more reliable now than they were five years ago, they are not 100% accurate. Also, free translation websites are not legally responsible for the material they translate. Take Google’s service agreement as an example:

If you are using our Services on behalf of a business, that business accepts these terms. It will hold harmless and indemnify Google and its affiliates, officers, agents, and employees from any claim, suit or action arising from or related to the use of the Services or violation of these terms, including any liability or expense arising from claims, losses, damages, suits, judgments, litigation costs and attorneys’ fees.

Furthermore, Google owns anything you allow it to translate:

You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

In other words, while you retain the property rights, you give Google permission to use the material in any way they see fit.

In contrast to Google, with CyraCom you’ll receive multiple quality controls, reviews, and editing. Client-focused LSPs, such as CyraCom, give their clients final review and approval over translations before projects are considered complete. Professional language service providers should also have protections in place to safeguard your data and keep it confidential.

Contact us today and learn how to implement your standard translation process with CyraCom.

Source: How Life Science Firms Buy Translation. 1st ed. Lowell: Common Sense Advisory, Inc., 2010. Print.