I am always looking for analogies that we can use to explain to our existing or potential clients when and why translation quality is of paramount importance. One of such analogies I’ve recently thought of is investments. A major thing that buying translation and investing have in common is a huge risk of losing money. With investments, you suffer loss when the price of whatever you put your money into goes against you. With translations, you lose money by making a wrong vendor choice; that is, picking someone who is either completely incompetent in the first place or loses their commitment to quality over time. So, here are a few recommendations along the lines of this analogy.
- Perhaps, the key idea, or survival technique, for most investors is not to lose money. Losing the invested amount basically means losing the time you spent making that money, a valuable piece of your life that you can never get back. Also, unlike the potential profit, the amount of money you can lose is terminal. When you see the last buck go down the drain, it means you are out. These reasons make it essential that you do whatever it takes to avoid losses. This is true for buying translation as well. Purchasing a poor translation means losing money, mainly because a bad translation can’t really deliver the expected results. In addition to losing your investment in the translation, you can also suffer additional loss in the form of damage to your brand or legal costs. It is therefore critical for any translation buyer to minimize the risk of financial loss just as they would do with their investments. Let’s see what specific steps you can take to protect your hard-earned capital.
- The best practice is to investigate before you invest. For instance, when you want to invest in paper assets, you start from the top down, choosing a country, industry sector, and then specific stocks. You take time to perform a fundamental or technical analysis, or a combination thereof. If you consider investing with a money management firm, you need to look at its financial statement and previous performance. In other words, you want to invest sufficient time in research before you actually invest any money. By the same token, a translation buyer should take time to carefully select a translation company before conducting business with it. You can ask for things such as testimonials, list of long-term clients, how long it has been in business, and so forth.
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