Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tips to choose the right, rather than 'best' Language Service Provider

There are several thousands of Language Service Providers (LSPs) around the world, all specialising in particular language combinations or subject fields or in working with customers that represent particular industries.  This makes selecting the most appropriate LSP for your needs essential.

Considerable growth in globalization has led to increased demand for external language services. This offers the ability to free up resources and to translate bigger volumes within the same turnaround times, which pulls you ahead of your competitors. Growth of demand in translation services has also increased business process outsourcing in such low-cost areas as Asia and Eastern Europe. Basing LSPs  in the areas mentioned enables you to receive equal or even better service and quality at costs half  or less of the price you would pay for the same service when assigning an LSP from other areas. That is why the client should select the most appropriate LSP that suits all their requirements - budget, service and quality, along with many other factors described below.

Key aspects to consider when selecting your LSP

1. Word of Mouth

Ask your friends, colleagues or business partners for advice. There is no better or more reliable information than that provided by  a person you trust and can rely on. This way, you can find a provider that is worth your offer of cooperation - or one that you shouldn't bother with. Last, but not least - this kind of advice doesn't cost you a penny!

2. Consult field experts and read studies

Many companies working in the translation industry have joined localization and globalization associations, for example, GALA - Globalization and Localization Association, ELIA - European Language Industry Association, ATA - American Translators Association and many more. If your provider is a member of one or more of these organizations, then this is partial proof of their professionalism and devotion.
More information about the criteria that must be met in order to join these types of professional organizations can usually be found on their own websites, along with a list of members, their contact information and other useful information that may help you to select the appropriate resources.

Multilingual Computing is a leading information source for the language industry. Find out more about the latest trends in the  language industry and various LSPs on its informative website.

Another information source worth noting is the language market research company Common Sense Advisory. Each year it publishes a list of “The Top 100 Language Service Providers”.

3. Set criteria for selecting your language service provider

Going through several selection criteria will help you to find the most appropriate language service provider; one that will provide you with the best quality services with short turnarounds and reasonable rates. Compile a list of your requirements and consider the importance of each of them:
  • Are you looking for an individual freelancer or a translation agency?
  • What kind of service is required - translation, interpretation or other online/phone interpretation/translation?
  • What language combination(s) is required?
  • Where will the translation be used - internally or externally?
  • Is proofreading and/or editing necessary?
  • What is the subject field? Is it technical, legal, medical, marketing text or another subject?
  • Is it necessary for your provider to speak your own native language or can you communicate in another foreign language (e.g. French, Russian, Chinese etc.) in order to set up the project?
  • Is the location (virtual and/or actual office) of your LSP important?
  • Do you require an educational diploma or degree from your translator?
  • How much extensive experience is necessary?
  • Do you have reference materials and translation memories available?
  • Does your provider need to use certain software (e.g CAT tools or presentation software)?
  • Is post-translation DTP necessary?
  • Is back-translation necessary? And who will be doing this?

4. Translation turnaround - Price - Quality

In business, it is common practice for all deadlines to be met yesterday, for budgets to be limited and top-quality requested! This practice has been applied by many translation agencies around the world. They agree to take on any kind of translation projects, meet impossible deadlines and offer competitive rates. They often succeed in squeezing all this together, but if we look at what they really offer, these projects are often ordered one time only, by clients who do not ultimately provide payment due to bad translation quality.

Companies that follow certain policies will agree that it is better to occasionally turn down an offer when it is necessary rather than lose the client, and the company’s reputation, at the same time. As a language service provider - we suggest you prioritize and emphasize two out or three pre-conditions:
  • Low cost + good quality, but extended deadline
  • Low cost + tight deadline, but get by without proofreading or editing
  • Tight deadline + good quality, but with an additional surcharge for speedy delivery

5. Get to know your LSP for long-term cooperation

It is essential to treat each project individually, but it's also equally important to establish a long-term cooperation with your LSP. Long-term cooperation will allow you to save money by using translation memories and build up a relationship with the same translators, who will quickly become familiar with your requirements, and by having the same point of contact (Project Manager), you can maintain your desired service level. How do you do that? Easy: just get to know your LSP better:
  • Look at your LSP’s client package - this way, you can find an LSP that cooperates with representatives of your industry and understands the specific terminology.
  • Check your LSP’s financial standing - it's important to know if a language service provider can continue to meet their commitments if they were to lose their biggest client. Note that this can also affect your own inquiries.
  • How does your LSP work - check your LSP working methods. What methods do they use, what kind of QA (quality assurance) policy they have, what selection procedure they use to hire translators and proofreaders. Do not hesitate to ask about every single detail that interests you.
  • Talk all this through before the first project has been started - meet with your LSP and talk through all the cooperation issues and details before confirming the first project (from A to Z, from placing an order to invoicing).

6. Ask for a test translation

Most translation agencies offer a test translation no longer than one page. Normally, these are provided free of charge and allow you to evaluate the translation quality provided by the LSP. They also help to show that the LSP is interested and willing to establish a new and long-term cooperation.


To find the right LSP for your first project as you browse through so many well-presented, colourful websites  is not easy.  We have tried to help you through our own experience, so that you can succesfully make  the right decision by choosing a respectable, highly experienced, good quality language service provider that will meet your needs in short turnaround times and at a reasonable price. 
Don't be content to find the so-called 'best' language service provider. Set your priorities so that you can assign the right LSP.

To sum up, I would like to quote a saying that is very important in this business - always choose the golden mean:

"Not all LSPs that charge high prices offer high quality services and not all LSPs that charge low prices deliver low quality services - the best suppliers charge mid-range prices!"

RIX Translation Service Agency
About the author

RixTrans (www.rixtrans.com) – rapidly growing translation agency providing innovative language solutions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SEO tips for website localization (localisation)

According to data from the Internet World Stats, English is the most popular language on the internet, but let’s not forget that there are approximately 6,899 other languages in the world whose users can become your next biggest clients.

By checking out the Common Sense Advisory market survey "Language Services Market: 2012" we can see that 49.38% of the entire translation market takes place wholly in Europe, which can be explained by the large market and vast amount of different official languages. These figures also show the current business market trends, and that speaking your clients' languages and localising your website, products and advertisements into the target culture opens up much higher market potential.

How to kill two birds with one stone

A recent Forbes study shows that only 18% of Americans report speaking a language other than English, while 53% of Europeans (and increasing numbers in other parts of the world) can converse in a second language. This means that product and website localisation in any of the most popular European languages can help you to increase your international business potential by up to 47%. It sounds simple, but you have to remember that only correct website localisation, according to SEO requirements, will give you the expected results. Otherwise, this can become a waste of time and money and lost opportunity. I'll now briefly share some basic information on website localisation and give you a few tips for creating a website that can increase your sales (please remember that this article is not about the technical side of website creation, but about the rules to follow when localising it into another language!)

Website localisation service should include

  • CMS (Content management system) localisation
  • Website URL localisation
  • Website Title localisation
  • Website Description localisation
  • Website Keyword translation
  • File name, according to SEO, and most used keywords translation
  • Website text translation, according to SEO requirements
  • Google AdWords Places and other service localisation

Website localization plan

During our many years of experience in the field of SEO translations, we have faced different problems, mainly caused by an incorrectly prepared localisation plan and inappropriately set goals. Here are a few tips for your website's localisation planning:

1. Local market research

Before you start working on web page localisation, you have to do some basic market research. This will help you to understand the local market needs, culture and traditions, as well as giving you a competitive advantage over your competitors. We recommend outlining your company's unique values on the web site's landing page right away.

2. Glossary creation, style guide, TM and keyword localisation

Consistency is the key factor for high quality website translations. There are three tools that help maintain consistency in web page localisation – glossaries, a style guide, and a translation memory. Glossaries help maintain consistency at the term level, and translation memories do this at the sentence level, but style guides help fill in the gaps by maintaining consistency in style, tone, phrasing, and more.
Once this preparation work is done, you have to choose and localise the keywords you want potential clients to find you with. The more precisely you define your keywords, the better SEO results and targeted sales you will have.

3. Country-specific domains

Think of the most appropriate domain name. It’s not a secret that along with server location, also webpage domain name can play a huge role in your website’s visibility on the search engines. 
Local domains (.ru, .se, .fi, .au, etc) are very effective for the local search engines therefore we suggest you registering your website in the target country if possible (www.example.se).
In case you don’t want to register new domain name, you can also choose one of the following options:
  1. Divide your web page language pages using sub-domains: se.example.com, ru.example.com
  2. Divide languages into directories (the most popular solution): www.example.com/se/, www.example.com/ru/

4. CMS (Content management system) localization

If possible, you should translate your website CMS system into the target language. This enables you to pass all the responsibility for website management onto employees in the target country.

5. Code – Unicode and UTF-8 and International character set support

Make sure that your website supports the target language and its special characters!

The Unicode Standard is a character coding system designed to support the worldwide interchange, processing, and display of the written texts of the diverse languages and technical disciplines of the modern world.

UTF-8 (UCS Transformation Format—8-bit) is a variable-width encoding that can represent every character in the Unicode character set. UTF-8 was designed to replace the ASCII system. By choosing one of these encoding systems, you can ensure that the target language will display properly to all website visitors.

6. Website design localization

Remember that some languages may look different on the screen due to varying word lengths and special characters. For example, localised text in Finnish will always be longer than in English, and that can ruin the whole webpage layout. We recommend you plan ahead and reserve more space for webpage navigation buttons, built-in forms and other webpage elements.

7. Language menu

It may sound funny, but there are a lot of well localised websites on the internet that cannot be found on search engines due to incorrectly localised language menus. In actual fact, there are just three correct ways to allocate website language:

1.    Language flag banner
2.    Language name
3.    Language ISO code
From an SEO perspective, there is no perfect solution to choose, as long as you select one of these three solutions. For better visibility, you can even combine two of three solutions on your webpage.

8. Website check with free SEO online tools

After text creation, we recommend you check your web page using the following free of charge SEO online tools:

These free online tools will automatically allow you to check keyword density (must be in a range of 2-4%), SEO friendly Title, Description and Keyword length, keyword and key phrases in headings, body text, ATL tags and other information.
Remember that the best SEO result can only be achieved if your website meets as much criteria as possible

9. Geolocation

You should pay particular attention to your website server location, as has been highlighted in recent announcements by Google and other search engine operators. Websites with a server IP address in a particular country will almost always rank higher than localised websites from other locations.
  1. Include different website languages under one server
  2. Create one main webpage, and localise only the most important information into other languages by registering separate domain names in all countries. This is a more expensive solution, but it can pay off if visibility on search engines is a key factor for your business. 
Possible issuesYou could lose your existing website page ranking for a while, since localised languages will disappear from your current server.

10. Website registration in local search enginges

To improve website recognition in particular countries, you will need to register your website on different local search engines, which will then redirect traffic to your website. In most cases this registration is free of charge.

11. Social media as the sales channel

Social media can be the fastest and easiest way to inform potential clients about your product or service, but you have to speak their language to achieve good results.

12. Building back links to your web page

It's very important to get as many back links to your web page as possible. This will help build traffic to your web page, and search engines will rank it higher accordingly.


SEO tips for website localization (localisation) | RIX Translation
If you're planning on doing it right, website localisation is more than just translating your existing website into another language. Listed above are just a few basic rules we recommend you follow for the best return on your investment: it's also worth remembering that nowadays, a website is the public face of company, which is why you are strongly encouraged to spare no resources on localisation services, which should be viewed as a long-term investment.

 About the author

RixTrans (www.rixtrans.com) – rapidly growing translation agency providing innovative language solutions to companies and organisations that are operating in IT, legal, marketing, medical, technical, telecommunications, finance and other industries. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Selling translation services. Part 1

There are over 20,000 translation agencies in the world offering the same language services, but while the Top 100 bring in annual revenues totalling tens of millions of dollars, others don't even come close to 1% of that figure. So what is it that can turn your average translation companies into Sharks of the language business, and what selling techniques can you use to attract new clients?
Over the past few years I have attended various translation industry events and workshops – from the budget and fair priced to the excessively overpriced. Based on these experiences, I would like to share a few ideas which I hope you will find useful for your business.

The first thing everybody needs to understand is that selling a product entails asking questions. It's no big secret that the majority of salesmen in the translation industry start by outlining a wide array of services, outstanding translation quality, and of course innovative technologies (in most cases this innovative technology is simply Trados, but that’s another story). Well, here’s the secret – everybody does that! In basing your marketing on this approach, you're never going to stand out from the crowd. Chances are, your potential client doesn’t give a damn about how you market your product – finding a solution is all they're interested in!

The most important thing to remember is that you'll sell a lot more services if you start asking questions. But how to do it, right? I’ll get to this point later on in this series.

So to take my own advice, I will start this virtual sales training with some provocative questions:

  • Why are you special and why are you better than other Language Service Providers? If no idea comes into your mind, try to imagine instead: Why are you different? Every successful company is unique and special in some way, so ensure you have a good sales pitch before presenting it to your first major customer. For example, our company RixTrans (www.rixtrans.com) uses the slogan “Your new generation of language service provider”, because we are young, innovative and successful. Who are you? How do your clients see you?
  • Are you providing your customers with the benefit of your expertise? According to the market survey “Marketing Language Services Online” by Common Sense Advisory, a leading market research company focused exclusively on globalisation, localisation and the translation business, just 65% of LSP websites are bilingual. Former German Chancellor Willy Brandt once said: “If I am selling to you, then I will speak your language, aber wenn du mir etwas verkaufst, dann muβt du Deutsch sprechen” (“...but if you want to sell something to me, then you have to speak German”). Your chances of gaining a new client are substantially higher if you speak your Clients’ language. And even if you don’t, your potential Client will feel special and honoured to see that your website translated into his or her mother tongue. Our homepage www.rixtrans.com is also localized into the Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Estonian, Latvian and Russian languages, thanks to which we are receiving several new inquiries from these countries each week.
  • Why do your clients buy from you? If you can answer this question correctly then you're good to go and should start selling more services right away, because the same reasons why some companies buy from you can be used to target new clients. NB! I wouldn’t suggest you go with the “cheaper” option unless you want cheap clients: premium rates attract premium buyers.
  • Is selling a process in your company or a last resort when things are going badly? 

Here are a few things I recommend you think about before we move on to the second part of Selling Translation Services:

  • In the translation industry, you are the product. You are selling your time and your knowledge with the promise of specific results. Value your time, and invest it in sales and marketing activities rather than taking low paid jobs.
  • Consider your clients’ unique needs. Your clients want to be sure that you are flexible enough to meet their expectations.
  • Target local audiences in their local language, but please, make sure this content is translated, edited, revised, and proofread until it reads perfectly 'or you might look like JFK in Berlin when he said, 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'. I would also suggest preparing quotes in local currency.
  • Establish your credibility. When you are selling translation services, you are basically selling a relationship with yourself. Make sure your first date sticks in your clients’ memory, together with the hope of a long-lasting business relationship.
  • Make sure you have the resources to process new orders before you start to sell more: you'll never get the chance for a second date if you're not able to fulfill your commitments after the first one. If you've told your client that you have highly-qualified English–French translators available at all times, make damn sure they're available when your client contacts you.
  • Get as many referrals as you can, and always make follow-up enquiries with your existing clients! Are they happy with your services? Is there anything else you can do to make them happy? Do they know anyone else who might require translation or localization services too?
  • Don’t be afraid to remind previous customers that you're still in business! You have to consider that staff rotation is a common thing in business today, so bringing in new prospects is just one step towards global success: equally vital is following up on past and present clients.

RixTrans translation service agency offers professional high quality language translation within tight deadlines in major European and Scandinavian languages.
I hope you enjoyed reading the first part of our blog. Feel free to leave your comments here or on Twitter, and please remember to 'like' us on Facebook or G+1. Similarly, don't be shy in asking questions or suggesting new topics, and I’ll be more than happy to cover your theme in one of my later articles.