"It's one thing to have a language access mandate and even a language access policy; it's another thing to put these mandates and policies into place.” - Language Access Coordinator for a Large U.S. City
How tempting is it to have your own in-house employees translate your documents? Your budget is already squeezed and they seem like a fantastic resource; they’re already there and they even know the territory. But, a there are several cautions to doing so.
Being bilingual doesn’t mean your employees are translators. Translation is a profession. Professional translators are well trained with a minimum of five years’ full time experience. Plus, they work in teams, translating, editing and proofreading every word, providing those extra sets of eyes to ensure translation service accuracy.
Professional translation services use what is called Latin American Spanish; specifically designed to be acceptable across the widest number of Spanish dialects in the United States. The translated text will be easily understood by that specific community. A professional translation provider can also support your translation team by building multilingual glossaries and style guides to make sure your translations meet your requirements and your constituents’ needs.
And then there are the documents themselves in all their varied formats. Formatting your new creations can often be tricky. There is text expansion (more words), all kinds of punctuation and grammatical rules, applications that work completely differently in their non-English versions, and the list goes on. This is where real complications can occur. Whether you call this formatting, layout, or desktop publishing (DTP) it is very different to manage than English documents. A mature translation services DTP team has experience and capability that will help you avoid problems and errors.
Finally, when you are using staff to translate, it can take much longer to do the work and the results may or may not be accurate and complete. Is this really the best use of time? Doesn’t your staff have better things to do? If there is a mistake, who pays, especially if it lands in court? It just makes sense to use a professional translation service.
This is Part Two of a two part series. Part One appeared last week.
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