How to Use Certified Translation Services to Navigate International Shipping Supply Chains

International shipping is a large-scale, complex enterprise. To keep everything in order, a wide variety of documents have to cross international borders. As you navigate these complicated logistics, it can help to have certified translation services at your side. These services can officially translate all the communications that keep logistics running smoothly. Below, we’ll look at what certified translation services are and how to work with these services.


Assess Which Types of Certified Translation Services You Need

Let’s start with the basics. What are certified translation services and how do you translate a document officially? A certified translation means that the translator signed a document stating that the translation is an accurate portrayal of the original document. Certified translation services can help if you need to prove the accuracy of official documents such as contracts.

Your first step in finding certified translation services is to assess what you will need those services for. This will help you define which translation company you use. There are a number of mandatory official documents in the international shipping industry that you might want to hire certified translation services for, so look for an agency such as Tomedes, AlphaTrad, or Translation Services 24, which has experience in this area.

Some of the top examples include:

  • Bill of lading: Contract of carriage between the cargo owner and shipping line
  • Packing list: Details the cargo, including weight, value, and volume
  • Letter of credit: This binding agreement assures payment between a buyer and seller

A mistranslation in any of these important documents could have disastrous consequences, such as contracts being misunderstood, or cargo being misrepresented.

International shipping is a massive industry. Almost 90% of the goods that we buy originate overseas. Clearly, accurate paperwork is non-negotiable when it comes to the industry running smoothly.

The three busiest ports in the world (Shanghai, Singapore, and Shenzhen) process nearly 100 million 20-foot equivalent units per year. Smooth operations are vital when it comes to delivering the cheapest international shipping possible.

By getting a certified translation, you are assuring that the translated document is a duplicate of the original. That means no confusion when someone reads the document in another language.


Find Certified Translation Services that Fit the International Shipping Industry

To find the best-certified translation services, make sure to assess the background of the service you are working with. The translation company should offer some type of official certified translation document to go along with your translation.

The translation company should have a proven background in offering certified translation. You can check for testimonials from other clients, check references if you’re going with an individual translator, or look at past work through a portfolio.

When talking with potential certified translation services, ask to see a sample of their certificate of translation. It should be detailed and professional. Ask what the translation company does to ensure that they are working with any regional guidelines on making sure a document is officially certified.


How to Work with Certified Translation Services

Many people assume they would merely hand over a document to a translation service and leave them to get on with it. However, when working with a translation company, there are a few communication tips to keep in mind for successful collaboration.

First, communicate clearly with the translation agency about anything that needs to stay in the document tone-wise or legally. If the document just needs to stay exactly identical and you need certification of that being that case, specify that. The early input you provide is often key.

You might also consider asking someone who speaks the language the document was just translated into to check it over and make sure it all seems to be in order. You could possibly ask someone within the supply chain if they speak both of the languages in question.


Where to Find Top Certified Translation Services

You may want to start asking around your professional network to see if anyone can recommend certified translation services. People who work for international shipping companies may know of a service that specialises in the types of documents unique to standard shipping, like bills of lading and the like. That translation company may also know details relevant to the industry, like international shipping rates, supply chain management details, and how global supply chains operate.

You can also try finding certified translation services online. If you need English to Chinese translation services, for example, you can search for a translation company that specialises in that language pairing. Be sure to select one that uses native speakers of the target language – so native Chinese speakers in the example of the English to Chinese translation service.

You might also go with a more general search term such as certified translation services near me if you’re looking for a local translation company. While not a fool-proof plan, many translation agencies that pop up on the first page of Google often take their business seriously. Some notable examples include translation specialists such as Tomedes, Day Translation, or One Hour Translation.

Once you find a translation agency you are thinking of working through, assess them to see how they will be to work with. Check the background of a translation service and make sure the company communicates openly and in a responsive and detailed manner. One good test is to ask: How long does a translation take? They should be able to give you a detailed answer that demonstrates their knowledge.

Louise Taylor is a professional writer whose work focuses mainly on business, languages, and international property. Published in a range of magazines and newspapers, her work shares insights into these industries with audiences around the globe.

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