Many people think that translation is just for marketing content. However, internal communications including technical documentation, guides and HR documents are an integral part of what we do. Many of our clients have asked us to assist with employee handbooks and onboarding documents for instance. These resources are essential for businesses that employ remote staff around the globe and outsource to contractors.
As remote working grows in popularity and with an ever-increasing demand for this type of translation, we thought that we’d address the pros and cons of outsourcing and outline how professional translation services can mitigate any downside.
By understanding the benefits of outsourcing, you can consider whether it is something that will enable your overseas expansions. Don’t forget to weigh up the pros against the cons before committing to outsourcing.
1. Hire fewer employees
When looking to expand overseas, businesses benefit from having people on the ground, rather than relying on local talent. Hiring overseas can sometimes be prohibitive because of the high costs involved. However, by hiring contractors rather than employees, businesses can have a smaller, yet truly global workforce.
2. Tap into a wide talent pool
Outsourcing will allow your business to tap into talent around the world without engaging personnel as employees.
For instance, with Bubbles you can benefit from our translators’ skills on a project-by-project basis, providing you with flexible language translation services without the need to pay an annual salary.
3. Lower cost
Employing contractors on a short-term basis can offer attractive savings to businesses looking to go global. It is important to weigh up the quality trade-off, as it’s usually counter-productive to trade quality for price.
As mentioned, there are potential drawbacks to outsourcing that should be weighed up before diving in headfirst. From our client experience, we’ve seen a lot of translation project requests for documentation to mitigate the risks from detailed employee handbooks to exhaustive process and technical guides and manuals.
1. Lack of control
Loss of control and visibility can be common problems during outsourcing relationships. When the only form of communication at your disposal is digital, it can be difficult to track progress.
This problem can be overcome by risk management procedures. For example, ensure that your outsourcing provider has established protocols in place to overcome challenges. Be sure to educate your team of the potential challenges that can arise when working with a remote team. It is also important to schedule clear lines of communication and autonomy, set deadlines and regular progress check-ins to ensure everything is on track and any roadblocks are removed.
- Outline favoured communication methods – telephone, email, and video chat.
- Ensure workers have the tools they need to be productive, including IT equipment.
- Check outsourced workers have reliable internet connections to facilitate communication.
2. Quality issues
When outsourced employees are processing physical products in an overseas factory, for instance, quality can quickly decline. Highly qualified personnel are unlikely to seek work at a low pay rate. When businesses choose to outsource to save money, inevitably lower-skilled workers join the payroll and quality nosedives. There’s a real push to understand the labour market in other countries and to balance value vs. cost that can be enhanced by translating competency frameworks and job descriptions professionally.
Whether you offer physical products or services, the way to avoid this problem is to always interview and hire outsourced staff yourself, rather than relying on an outsourcing company.
At Bubbles, we offer a quality guarantee with all our projects, so if in the unlikely event you’re not satisfied with a translation, we’ll revisit it until you’re 100 per cent happy.
3. Company culture impact
Strong company culture means an engaged workforce and higher productivity. Before moving forwards with outsourcing consider the fact that employee engagement levels fell 24 per cent during the pandemic while most people worked from home.
Outsourcing can make your employees feel they are being replaced, which risks further alienation. Some employees might wonder why their tasks are being outsourced and what it means for their job security going forwards.
Maintaining employee engagement is crucial for a business looking to go global. Fully engaged employees bring their full selves to work, voluntarily going above and beyond their job description, guiding and mentoring colleagues and often working overtime.
To guard against the pitfalls of employee disengagement such as the highly debated “quiet quitting” trend, organisations can discuss decisions with employees whose tasks will be outsourced, explaining the reasoning behind them and reassuring staff about their value to the company.
A tough decision…
Whether a business outsources its international operations or not, and to what extent, depends greatly on the circumstances. Some businesses will rely on expansion strategies such as partnerships, franchising and using sales agents. These businesses will need to lean on outsourced workers to scale at the rate they desire. However, the risk of outsourcing includes quality control issues, reputational damage and project failure.
The solution is at hand, at Bubbles, we have greatly supported discerning businesses as they tap into growth markets. We’re trusted by more than 1,300 brands – including global giants such as Microsoft, Coca Cola and Disney – to represent them at their best overseas.
To work with a highly experienced translation partner you can trust, get in touch with our attentive and responsive project managers today.