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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Translating Your Law Firm’s Website

When aiming to appeal to a demographic that does not primarily speak English, one of the first things you may want to consider is translating your law firm’s website into the languages you’re targeting. This is a great step to take in reaching new potential clients, but there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when beginning this process.

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1. Relying on an automatic translation tool like Google Translate. We understand how tempting it is to choose a “free” option like Google Translate when trying to trim costs. However, when your potential clients are looking for legal assistance, they want to use someone who is professional and trustworthy. If the information on your website is translated poorly (or completely mistranslated, which is often the case with automated translation) because it was handled by a machine, the individuals you are targeting are likely to continue searching elsewhere for help. Make sure your website is translated by a professional and experienced team so that your website’s tone is competent and worthy of their time from the moment they click onto your site. Professionals will also be able to help you localize the content for the exact market you want to reach.

2. Failing to translate contact information and lawyer biography pages. Sometimes you may wish to tackle website translation in different stages, which means some of the links within the site may be neglected on the first round so that the information you find to be most relevant for your law firm is translated first. One thing we recommend translating from the beginning that may be overlooked is the contact page and the lawyer biography section(s). Knowing who will be helping them on their legal journey is often critical for potential clients, so the more they can get to know and trust you from reading your biography page, the more confident they will feel about why you are the right person to help them. It is also crucial for potential clients to understand how to get in contact with you, so keep the contact page in mind when translating your website as well.

3. Having no one available to speak to them in their native language when they call. You don’t have to speak the languages of your target clients personally to be able to assist them when they call for more information, nor do you have to have a bilingual assistant available for these calls (though you certainly can!). Another option is to invest in a telephonic interpreting service plan so that you can be connected with an interpreter over the phone the moment you need one, and your potential client can feel more confident from their initial phone conversation with you. When it’s time to follow-up with an in-person meeting, reach out to your language service provider and schedule an on-site interpreter to assist you.

4. Not accounting for a foreign-language SEO strategy. Translating your website is vital for reaching new potential clients who do not speak English. However, it is not enough if your target clients cannot find you when searching online. You’ll want to choose keywords and phrases, for example, that your new audience will use when searching for legal assistance, to be sure your website turns up in those search results. When it doubt, seek professional help to ensure you are implementing the best foreign-language SEO strategy to get your law firm’s new foreign-language website launched and seen.

Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

Expanding to a global market can be an exciting time for your business. Millions of Internet users speak a language other than English, and localizing your website to some of these specific target audiences allows your company the opportunity to reach a broader scope of people. Even in countries where English use is fairly widespread, consumers still prefer to seek out information in their native language, so having access to your content in that language will give your company an edge in a competitive market. Localization, which includes translation, also entails adapting your website’s content for other markets. Ideally, all aspects of your company’s website would be fully translated and localized for all target audiences you have decided to reach. However, it is not always within a company’s budget to localize the entire website at once. Knowing where to begin can be helpful in terms of adhering to your budget while still making your website more accommodating for your domestic or international market. We’ve prepared some ideas to help get you started.

Choosing your initial target audience(s)

If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach. Not only will you have learned from the process of localizing the content for a few select audiences first, it will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company budget.

Deciding which pages to localize

Localizing your website’s content can also come in stages. It is important to decide which pages are critical for your business, and which have messages that are important for your domestic or international audience. If you have a local events page or careers page, for example, these would not be of high importance to translate or localize, since they would only be necessary for your original English-speaking audience.

On the other hand, pages that are specific to your company’s brand, such as your mission statement or an About Us page, would be of higher priority so that your new customers feel connected with you from the beginning. Some other pages that may be important for your company to consider up front would be forms you need the customer to fill out like requests for information or pages with news about company updates.

Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. We are always happy to assist you in deciding the best path to take when it comes to expanding to new audiences. Please feel free to contact us today for more information!

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What information does ATS consider when providing my free quote?

For each project that ATS handles, we consider several different factors when it comes to providing your free quote. We will consider the project type or service you request, the source and target languages of your project, and the timeline in which the project needs to be completed. No matter what project you need handled, ATS will be sure to offer you the most competitive rates possible while taking these items into consideration.

A legal document should be handled differently than a technical operating manual and ATS takes project type into account. Since these two areas are so distinct, we have teams of different linguists who work on each one. It is important that our linguists be highly specialized in the content area you request. We have a wide array of linguists with many specialties, so doing so is usually not a problem. If we do not have a specialist in your project’s subject area, ATS will work to recruit someone who is able to handle your project type.

We also take source and target languages into consideration. Language combinations that are more rare sometimes require us to charge higher rates than some of the more common language combinations, for example.

ATS also takes your desired/needed timeline into consideration when providing your free quote. A job that does not need to be returned immediately, and will not rush the linguists who are working on the project for you, will not require any additional fees. However, if the project turnaround time will require our linguists to work overtime-type hours to finish it within the desired timeline, we may need to add rush fees to the quote. You will have the chance to accept the fees or change the timeline of the project.

Interpreting is quoted differently than document translation, since the services require a different set of skills. Similar to translation, however, the type of interpreting service needed will also be something ATS considers when providing your quote. Interpreting for a surgery is handled differently than interpreting for a legal deposition, for example. ATS offers varying types of interpreting services, such as in-person or over-the-phone interpreting. We also take source and target languages into account, just as we do for document translation, as well as the time required for our interpreter to be available. If an interpreter needs to be available for longer than a normal working period, we may need to charge additional fees.

No matter what project or service you need, ATS will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will always provide you with the most competitive rates possible. Please don’t hesitate to email us at freequote@accessibletranslations.com so that one or our Project Managers can assist you at every step along the way – we are happy to help!

Why Translation Costs Vary Among Languages

When looking to translate a document for your company, you may desire to translate this document into multiple languages instead of just one. If you are translating an instruction manual into Spanish, Russian, and Japanese, for example, you may assume that the rate for each language will be the same, that the Spanish translation will cost the same as the Japanese, and so on. However, you may be surprised to see that the quoted rates vary among languages. There are several reasons why the cost varies from one language to another. The first, and most common, reason to consider is that more commonly used languages in business often have more available translators to work on the project. The more linguists there are who work in a specific field for each language pair, the more likely it is that there will be more competitive rates among them. For more obscure languages or those used less often in the specific field of your document’s content, there will be fewer linguists from which to choose. These linguists may be in high demand for their time and work, resulting in an increased rate.

For shorter documents, linguist minimum payments may also impact the resulting quoted rates. Linguists often charge minimums to ensure that they are compensated fairly for the time and overhead associated with doing the translation. If you have multiple short documents that you need translated, and can schedule them all at once, it is best to do so. Word counts can often be combined when multiple documents are assigned at once, helping you to avoid a minimum payment. For example, if you have three documents that need to be translated into Spanish at once, and their collective word count exceeds the linguist’s per-word minimum rate, but only one short Japanese document, you may end up paying more for the one Japanese document because of the required minimum. If you can combine shorter translations into one project, you will definitely get more for your dollar.

Quoted language rates may also differ based on word counts. Although most languages are quoted based on source word, others may need to be quoted based on the target word count. This can happen if the source document is a character-based language, such as Simplified Chinese, or if it is a file with no discernable word count (e.g. files that cannot be edited and counted, or audio files, for example). Although many language rates for translation are at least similar, it is still best to know that some languages will be more expensive than others, which may help you to best choose which languages you will choose to translate into if there is any priority among languages for your business.