It is often with a certain degree in incredulity and skepticism that I get asked what the added value in translation is. “A translation is a translation, right? As long as it´s correct (see my concept of “quality” further down), how could translation A add more value to my business than translation B?”. As is so often the case, the answer is not simple…
If there are no other requirements, the added value of a translation lies in the lack of obvious (and often not-so-obvious) mistakes, its accuracy, tone, register and appropriateness for the target audience. “Flawless” translations are clearly of a higher value than those littered with typos, omissions, words written out twice, there’s no arguing with that. But “quality” issues aside, what other “added value” should I be looking for?
The key to identifying added value in translation is recognising that the initial translation is but a stage of the overall documentation process. Is this process over when you receive a particular translation back from your language supplier? No, it probably started before this particular job and will continue for the foreseeable future. You will probably need more translations in the future, and you should not be managing them as separate entities, but rather as a process over time.
See Added Value In Translation Services Part 2 for examples of areas you should be asking for added value in translation, and examples of how language suppliers can help in each one.