The Importance of Firm Dates for Translations

Imagine This Scenario

A company is gearing up for the world launch of one of its products that has performed extremely well in the US market. It has selected a reputable US translation agency to translate a catalog, a brochure and a press release into Spanish, French and Korean. Each party has communicated with one another, deciding on preferred terminology and a deadline for the translation project. The agency delivers the project to the company one day in advance, and the company launches the product one month later throughout the international Spanish-speaking, French-speaking and Korean markets. The company is on track to having a profitable year for the product’s global launch. Happy story.

It may sound boring, but this is exactly how the translation process should be—timely, and with communication between both parties so that business flows seamlessly. We can’t stress enough the importance of dealing with an agency that will provide you with a firm quote and agree on realistic deadlines so that your business continues as usual.

The Detail Is in the Deadline

A translation that isn’t completed by a given deadline can have serious repercussions.

  • Take for example an immigration lawyer who must get translated documents to file an application for a visa to USCIS. If the documents are even one day late, the application will be incomplete and they could miss the deadline. No drama, but yes, it affects lives.
  • How about a printer who is working with the marketing department and will be printing the English, Spanish and French catalogs in color. If the translated documents aren’t delivered on time and as per the software specifications to the marketing department, the printer will be unable to run the job as scheduled and that will mean an additional cost. It affects budgets.

THE TAKEAWAY: Select a translation agency based on its ability to deliver accuracy and be on time. Missing a deadline can affect lives, and budgets too.

There may be unrealistic deadlines, especially if the executive in charge is new to the Translation process required. Sometimes he or she may assume technology gets it pretty much done automatically. Wrong answer.

  • It is the job of the translation agency to provide the client with a realistic time frame and explain the process, the volume to be produced, the expansion rate of the specific language and other factors which may cause format adjustments, and impact the production cycle in general.
  • If the agency cares about a long term relationship, it has to be able to balance the goal of increasing sales and politely decline when necessary.

THE TAKEAWAY: Choose a translation agency that will be honest in its ability to deliver. Clients don’t need another crisis on their lap, but a partner to rely on.

The work of the translation agency hinges not only on its translators’ abilities to render accurate translations (and localization if needed), but also on its ability to communicate truthfully with clients and deliver translations on time. Have you ever had an extremely time-sensitive project that required translation? What did you learn?