Juggling too many translation providers?

a few people looking at the computerFor certain things in life, having “too many” is preferable to having “too few”—pairs of shoes, golf clubs, vacation days.

But is it the same when it comes to translation providers?

Common Sense Advisory revealed that more than 95 percent of companies have more than one vendor of language services in their stable. Just under a third of companies have six to 10 vendors, while eight percent have more than 30 vendors. Each company has its own requirements.

Still, it’s possible to suddenly find yourself balancing more translation providers than you can handle. In fact, one of our clients found that they had a whopping 300 or so vendors prior to working with us. And those were ones that they knew about. As you might imagine, a potentially disorganized army of vendors such as this can actually become a liability—before you even realize it.

How do you know if you have too many translation providers yourself? And if you are overloaded, what can you do about it?

Recognize the writing on the wall

When you have potentially dozens of translation providers working with the various branches of your organization, it can be hard to know who’s doing what. You could find yourself spending a great deal of time on invoicing, quality tracking and simply getting a handle on it all.

To make matters worse, if all your translation providers are operating in a disconnected, independent fashion, there’s huge potential for inefficiencies to creep in. Needless overlapping of projects, translation memories that aren’t being fully leveraged, duplicated efforts across your organization, missed opportunities for volume discounts on pricing.

Then there’s the perfectly reasonable question you may have: How many translation providers is too many? The answer to that will differ for each company; the key is recognizing what’s right for yours.

Winnow down your translation provider pool

Not every translation company is created equal. When it comes to quality metrics and linguist scoring standards, Provider A might be worlds apart from Provider B. So if you’ve got a large number of providers, the variances among them can be dizzying. If each one has different standards, that makes it nearly impossible for you to know what to expect from day to day.

To help you decide which vendors to keep and which ones you should let loose, Indopak can perform a localization assessment for you to get a grip on your baseline. We identify the number of translation providers you are working with, whether there is overlap, which providers are must-keep—all while keeping in mind what works for your business and its global footprint.

We seek answers to questions such as:

  • Which provider doesn’t regularly update the translation memory?
  • What is a vendor’s quality methodology like?
  • How often do they meet your deadlines—or let them slip away?
  • Are your translation memories reconciled, meaning free of duplicated sentences that happen to be translated in different ways?

Along the lines of a strategic consolidation of vendors, consider that a translation provider’s breadth of languages, specializations and offerings can be a significant boon. A provider that offers 10 languages and a solid quality control process is clearly more valuable than a provider that offers just one language.

If you find yourself simply overwhelmed—but you want to keep all your vendors—a translation provider can take the reins for you and manage all of your translation providers in a more centralized and efficient manner. This is what Indopak does with our Managed Services offering.

Seek out Grand Centralization Station

A centralized translation program is vital no matter how many translation providers you have—and that rings even more true when you have a lot of them. By centralizing all of your projects in a translation management system, you’re guaranteed several key benefits: quality controls, comprehensive visibility, streamlined and automated workflows, messaging consistency and higher translation memory reuse.

When all of your company’s translation memories are consolidated, centrally stored and managed, and accessible by all in the organization, you’re making the very best use of this resource. And since it’s stored in one central place, it gives you greater control over your translation memories and ultimately reduces per project costs.

Circling back to our initial question, it is indeed possible to have too many translation providers. The trick is recognizing what you need and when you’ve reached that point—or in some cases, unknowingly soared way past it. We specialize in helping companies figure that out.

Whether you have one translation provider, six of them or even 136, the important thing is that your setup works well for your organization. Also key is a central platform for branding consistency, cost controls . . . and retained sanity.

If your magic number of translation providers is becoming decidedly less magical, we can help make some sense of your provider pool. In the meantime, how many providers are you working with? Do you fit in with Common Sense Advisory’s statistics above? We’d be curious to hear it.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of centralizing your organization’s translation program, check out the following articles:

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