Translator location - is "In-Market" always best?

Date
Sep
2
20130902

Translator location - is "In-Market" always best?

Most regular translation users know that using a translator that is a native speaker of the target language is a ‘golden rule’. However, there is a common misconception about where that native translator should be based.

It’s natural to assume that using translators based in the target market is a good solution due to their local knowledge. Additionally, the cost of translators can be lower in some markets due to the lower cost of skilled labour (such as China and Latin America) compared to using translators based in the countries that are being exported from (such as Australia and NZ).

There is some truth in this and this is why NZTC employs teams of translators in markets such as China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Latin America, as well teams in Europe.

However, there is a very important point to consider; while in-market translators should have an excellent grasp of the local language and culture of that market, it’s equally important that they have an excellent grasp of the language and culture of your source text. This is critical to ensure they understand your intended meaning correctly so that they can convey it in their target language accurately. This is a real risk that needs to be considered and managed when using in-market translators. 

For example, we find it is quite common, particularly in the case of complex technical or legal documentation, that Chinese in-market translators misunderstand aspects of the English text and this can result in errors and inaccuracies in the Chinese translations. Even if you have a second in-market Chinese translator check the translation, they will often make the same mistake and assumption as the first translator. However if you involve translators or editors who have a greater familiarity with English documentation (such as translators who are based in English speaking markets) you reduce the chance of these misunderstandings significantly.

NZTC’s solution is to use in-market translators when this provides the best knowledge and value. However, all in-market work is doublechecked via our local translation centre to ensure our client’s original message has been understood and conveyed accurately. In essence, we use the best of both worlds, combining both in-market and local language knowledge.

An additional benefit of NZTC’s involvement of local and in-house resourcing in our translation quality control process is that it allows us to more easily explain any important linguistic issues to our clients and resolve these to ensure the best translation process possible.