Step 1 - Getting Started
Think about the basics
Which language(s) are you translating from and into? Try to be specific. Is it Spanish for Spain or Spanish for Puerto Rico? UK English or US English?
What will your text(s) be used for? Will it be used for customer relations (brochures, newsletters, sales copy, promotional materials) or for B2B marketing?
When is your deadline? When will your documents be finalized and ready? Be sure to factor in a little extra time for review and revisions, especially if the project requires re-formatting or desktop publishing after.
Step 2 - Prepare Your Project
Think about what you want and what you don't want
What kind of translation or copywriting service do you need?
A creative translation, or a transcreation, where the native linguist adapts your message to the language and cultural preferences of the audience you are targeting, or a straightforward, more literal one?
Collect any reference material that will be useful to your project. Previous translations about your product or service, even if they are not exactly what would like this time, can be very useful to a linguist. More documents include any glossaries you might keep of your brand or company terminology, a Translation Memory (TM) if you have worked with a translation agency or Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools before.
What format will your text(s) be in, and how would you like for them to be delivered to you? Will they require any desktop publishing (DTP)? Will they need to be reformatted for a website or other program?
Step 3 - Let the Experts Handle it
Hire a professional to put your mind at ease
Once the deadline is set and the project specifications are clear, the only missing piece is finding the perfect linguist or team.
As was explained in the first blog post entitled, "The 3 C's of Translation Buying," it is essential to hire competent and capable professional translators. It is just as important to find professionals (or agencies) that specialize in, and have experience working with, the kinds of materials that you are translating.