Top 5 Reasons for Low Quality Translations

Achieving a top-quality translation, for the ‘right’ price, is usually the number one priority for businesses seeking a professional translation, however, they don’t always achieve their aim.

Many of you who are reading this blog may have had issues with translation quality in the past; problems such as, culturally inappropriate images, grammatically incorrect machine translated copy (for example, using Google Translate or similar services), error-laden translations, and so on.

Low-quality translations are easily available and cheap, and you’ll often get what you pay for – a poor translation.

If you are looking to achieve an accurate, culturally appropriate translation, that maintains your brand image, and boosts your return on investment, then this blog will highlight some of the most common reasons for low quality translations.


1. Incorrect Selection of Language Service Providers

One of the main reasons that translation quality may suffer is due to the incorrect selection of a Language Service Provider (LSP).

Choosing a company that is suitable to work with on your language projects may take a little time and effort but the results will be worth it.

Look for LSPs who are expert in your required language(s), use only native-speaking translators, have sector or industry specialists, and who have a varied portfolio to show potential new clients.


2. Time for Translation

High quality translations take time and effort. They are often the culmination of many people working together on a specific project for many hours.

Where possible ensure your chosen LSP is given plenty of time to complete your project and give them as much information as you can regarding potential changes, alterations and deadlines so that they can give you the service you require.

If you need a rush job on a certain project, work with your LSP to devise an acceptable level of accuracy and time, so that you both remain happy with the final product.


3. Different Translation Services

Professional language service providers offer a variety of services which suit many different applications.

For instance, website translation is a common service, but recently, more companies are understanding the benefits of translating their customer service apps, social media posts, and localising their marketing.

Selecting the right service for your needs is vital to a successful outcome so discuss your requirements with your LSP and make sure there is flexibility for your particular wants and needs.

Likewise, LSPs understand that a different level of accuracy is required for marketing campaigns than for internal emails so be certain you have been clear on the level of service you’d like.


4. Engage with your Translation Team

The more information you can give your chosen LSP, the better job they can do for you.

If they have complete understanding of your brand voice, product range and objectives for your translation project then it is more likely to be successful.

Professional translation and localisation providers should know your target audience inside out and are able to tailor projects to suit the cultural norms within the region. Making sure you take the time to emphasise your requirements and align them with the experience of your LSP will give a greater chance of success.


5. Translation Price

Paying more for a service or product doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best, but you should expect to pay a reasonable amount for a quality translation.

Paying a price that seems too good to be true means it most likely is, and you’ll end up with a poor quality translation that’ll lose you business in the long run.

Good LSPs should be transparent with their pricing structures and itemise all procedures and costings. For example, does the cost of the translation include proofreading, editing and so on? If not, you’ll need to figure out how much this is likely to add to your overall bill.

Another point with pricing is the use of technology.

Virtually all large translation companies make use of translation memory software, which can cut down on the time and cost of translation, through using glossaries and term bases to remember often used words, phrases and terms.

Consistency of quality, and accuracy, within translations, is more easily assured through the use of machine translation software.


If you would like to talk to the team at Creative Word about how to improve the quality of your translation project, please contact us here.

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