What’s so good about simple?
A lot of translation companies make a bit of a song and dance about keeping things simple. On face value that’s great. Dig a little deeper though, and it usually means automated and fast. But aren’t there times when you need to go a little slower? If someone was writing your web copy, or doing the graphic design work for your website, how important would it be that they make it simple? Surely things like ‘perfect’, ‘excellent’ or ‘exactly what you wanted’ are better than simple?
There are times when questions help. Let’s say you’ve noticed product sales rocket in Quebec, and decide to translate your website into French. So you send off the files and wait for the shiny French version to land in your inbox, job done! But if you’re growing internationally, cultural and regional differences cannot be ignored: Your Canadian French market will appreciate having a website truly tailored to their locale. The bottom line is, if the right questions aren’t asked at the right times, you’re simply not getting value for money.
I felt slightly saddened recently after talking to a client who told me their old provider had a fantastic process. “I just uploaded files, chose my languages, and I got my translations back. So simple!”. But, importantly, they had left that provider. “The quality just wasn’t there, they weren’t learning about us. The texts were clearly translated by different people and they hadn’t researched us, our products or our niche.” So, it was simple, yeah. But this is achieved by skipping all of the most important steps in the process, and it just doesn’t work.
If you strip out all the human interaction and essentially reduce the order process to an automatic process, you diminish quality. Upload portals, digital interfaces and plug-ins do save valuable, and they have great value, but when used for the sake of it, they drain the whole thing of any human touch and remove the opportunities to answer intelligent questions, such as; who is going to be reading this? What do you want the reader to feel, or do? Why have you specifically chosen that word? Why are you translating this? We don’t ask these questions for fun – they’re essential to do doing a good job.
So, simple is great. Straightforward is a noble goal… but a provider should start by being good, and learning all about you – then they can worry about simple. The horse must always come before the cart.