In these difficult times, a lot of companies will probably decide that having a stronger online presence is the way out of the abyss created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The problem is that many companies are not experienced enough to handle their translation needs, especially with such a short time frame to adapt to the new situation. Many companies will want to handle translations internally for many, quite valid, reasons.
The main question we want to answer today is whether companies should attempt to translate content internally, at all costs. We are doing this to also help all of you define where you currently stand, and how you can get to where you want to be – and whether internal translation can help you do it.
Let’s dive into the analysis of the pros and cons of internal translation.
We’re not beating around the bush – given the current situation, the costs are the primary decision-making aspect for almost any company.
Hiring people to handle translation is more expensive if you don’t have people sitting at the office already. It will also take time (=money) to get the newly-hired people up-to-speed and explain the company terminology.
If you are going to have to spend that time anyway, then it’s easier for you to outsource the translations. Of course, if you can allocate certain tasks to people already working at the office, it’s a good solution alternative for specific types of content.
#2. Turnaround times
This brings us to the second point, the time it actually takes you to translate your content. If you handle internal translation, you need a manager to keep an eye on the process and delivery dates. Even if you have colleagues who are working on the translations, you need to be aware that there is always a possibility they will not make the deadline, especially if the translation is not their only daily task.
If you are going to outsource the translation, things get a little easier. Suddenly, you are not responsible for delivering the translation anymore, and you can also always push for the translation being done by a certain date.
Of course, this implies that the option you used for outsourcing can provide the translators who can deliver the translation by the given date.
Which brings us to the next step, the scalability. In some cases, your colleagues can help you with smaller, non-time-sensitive translations. However, what happens if you need a larger document translated in two days?
Even if you hire people internally, there is no way to know if they can meet all the deadlines, if your translation needs are constantly changing.
Obviously, if your internal resources cannot deliver the translation, you will need to outsource. The scalability issue suddenly becomes less of an issue (or disappears completely), and you can focus on the actual translation quality.
In terms of quality, it’s difficult to decide whether internal translation definitely takes the prize. In theory, it should be easier to have your internal resources working on translation projects and managing terminology as they share common knowledge about the company.
There are, however, certain issues with this approach. Speaking about terminology management; very often, companies don’t have a manager in charge of this task, but rather individual users that handling it when they have free time. In such cases, it might be even better to leave the terminology management to an outsourced option, as there will be someone who is driving this task to be completed.
On the other hand, with an outsourced option, you will probably have to explain your desired style and terminology (style guides and terminology repositories), but you could always be using the same outsourced option and keep consistency with the help of a TMS.
Internal translation vs. outsourced translation – you have options!
Taking all of the above into account, you need to be aware that there are always options out there. What if you are in a pickle and need to deliver a translated technical manual for a machine you are supposed to ship abroad in a couple of days?
Or, if you don’t have the people to work on an internal translation and you just want to have the content machine-translated and reviewed by a native speaker to share it internally?
In these situations, you can always try TUFT – our new translation services platform that gives you options to translate your content within different time frames and at different prices, depending on your current needs.
If you have more questions about managing translations or you struggle to choose between outsourced and internal translation approach, you can always reach out to us – we will gladly discuss your needs and help you decide on the best possible option.