The ability to help the translation services customer identify his/her needs must be a key component of the services offered by any successful translation service.
Most business owners like to work with the premise that “the customer is always right.” In some cases it is very wise to follow such a principle, but one should keep in mind that there are circumstances where this principle could lead to potential problems. Here’s an example: The problem within the translation service business is that many times the customer simply does not know enough to identify his/her needs and may ask the provider to complete a task in a manner that could potentially cause some problems for the customer down the line.
Document translation services deal with one of the most deceivingly simplistic services: languages. As we said before, due to the fact that they use them everyday and that everybody has mastered at least one, people tend to believe that dealing with languages requires no special skills or expertise. Too many individuals pretend to be linguistic experts and many translation services customers have learned this lesson the hard way. Language translation projects for businesses should only be performed by translation experts.
We have all seen it before in this line of business. Clients who request the translation of a document to the wrong target language for the country or region in question; clients who insist on using incorrect or, worse still, made up terminology for their translations; clients who have no regard for consistency; etc.
It is our job as document translators to educate and to help the client make the best choices. Our aim should be to add as much value as possible to the translation process and be much more than just certified translators. After all, this is what we do for a living. We know the business far more than they ever will.
A truly professional translation services company has to become a professional linguistics consulting services provider and offer clients a complete menu of professional linguistic or language-related services, in which professional translations by certified professional translators is just one of the items.
A truly professional translation services company has to be able to accurately tell the client what target language (or even language variety or regional dialect) is the best option for the specific country or region in question, so as to maximize the benefits from the translation effort.
For example, it would be inappropriate to use European Spanish for the Latin American market and vice versa. The same fact applies to European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese as well as the wide variety of French parlance used in France, in North America and various parts of the world.
An experienced translation service provider has to emphasize before the client the importance of following the well-established standard rules and terminology of the target language or dialect, the impact of consistency (or lack thereof), and so on.
A truly professional translation services company has to be more than just a service vendor to the client. It has to become a partner. Cliche, you say? Perhaps, but it is important to remember that it is not a matter of altruism or empty rhetoric. Becoming a partner to our clients makes perfect business sense, whether we deal with these types of services or not.