What’s a commodity? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a commodity as a mass-produced unspecialized product. The translation of any document, however, is not a commodity. There are many elements which make translations services diverse from commodities. Here are a few of the factors that translators must take into account for any translation, which means that translation is, in fact, a very specialized and customized service:
It is important to remember is that there isn’t a bouquet of rules and practices that may encompass every translation project. Unlike commodities, the translation associated with a document is a very specialized service. There are even specific qualité standards for the translation industry (These are equivalent to the ISO standards and certifications). In Canada, it’s the CGSB131.10 2008, and for the EU, there's 15038:2006.
The primary objectives of CAN-CGSB-131-10-2008 and 15038:2006 are:
These standards are not legally required to work in the translation industry (as of today, they may be in the future). However, they can help a translation services customer to pinpoint real translation services provider that respect a documented quality standard.
Firms that send bids or RFP and just consider the lowest cost without thinking about quality are often surprised at the outcomes. Remember that, if your business model is even marginally dependent on brand image, you should think twice about going down the road of cheap translation providers. The old adage that you get what you pay for is extremely applicable to translation services industry.
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in any way.