I was checking out some forums the other day when I came across this seemingly vague question. But when I read one of the posts, I thought I simply had to share it with you. Here is the full question that was posted there:
When big companies like Facebook or Twitter need their website translated into dozens of languages, what are some of the top translation services providers that they go with?
So what are top translation services providers?
Here is what Brad Arner, a language learner with a new addiction to code, as he described himself, said:
Not quite sure whom these big companies go with, but they aren’t getting their money’s worth. Based on the really poor translations that are offered for many of these sites in Spanish and French, I am guessing that they are computer translated. We were looking at one of Facebook’s informational pages the other day and the translation into French was just horrendous. Not only was the word choice wrong, the conjugation even went back and forth from formal to informal with out any rhyme or reason. This is a tell-tale sign of a computer translation.
Overall, it would be wise for Facebook, Twitter, etc. to find some professional translators to work on the localisation of their sites. Non-English speaking users often mock them for this glaring fault:
If you end up finding out whom they use for translation, don’t use them! Find someone else.
Computer translations are a bad idea. There is a reason that the largest and most important organisations in the world (U.N., Governments around the world, banks, Fortune 500 companies, etc.) still spend millions of dollars each year on professional translations. Languages cannot be viewed as mathematical devices that are logically ordered.
Find a translator that you can trust to do good work (i.e. someone who is certified in translation). Don’t depend on random native speakers who claim that they can translate something for you simply because they speak the two languages. I speak a number of languages fluently yet I don’t even attempt to translate for our site. It is a complicated task that needs professionals in order to be done correctly. In addition, be suspicious of anyone who claims that they can translate in anything more than 5 languages. They should either have a resume that supports their claims, be at least 50 years old, or be a true language fanatic, which is incredibly rare. In can be difficult to find a decent translator for a good price because they often work through agencies that take a decent cut. However, once you find one that you can trust, it will be well worth the price tag.
International markets are so poorly tapped by American tech companies that it is a tragedy. Every single American startup should have their site localised for different countries. Translations are cheap compared to the market that is opened up to them by offering their products in multiple languages. In addition, technical language, which is found throughout software/web-app products is very specialised. Hence, non-English speakers will rarely be able to understand an app’s full potential unless their is a high-quality translation that accompanies it. Choose wisely!
Thank you, Brad. I could not agree more. It seems that there are still a vast number of people who are like the man in the photograph above. When it comes to choosing a translation service provider, they often feel like they have to make a huge leap into the dark. But it shouldn’t be this way. There are many reputable translation companies out there offering top translation services. So, we’ll repeat after Brad – Choose wisely!
In the meantime, you can scroll to the top of the page and download this free Checklist with Top 20 Tips on Saving Time & Money on your next Translation Project. It’s free!
The reply was posted on Quora on 14 June 2012. You can read the whole thread here.
Please say what you think about that post and your experience with translation service providers in the comments below.