Hiring a translation service is a lot like hiring a mechanic: you know you need the help of a professional, but how do you know you’re getting quality service—and at a fair price?
Few translation agency customers have enough fluency in a second language to judge the quality of the translation services they’re receiving. Even if they are familiar with the language, they might not know the regional culture or possess the specific domain knowledge needed to recognize whether a translation is fit to be shared with the receiving party.
All of the top translation services claim their services are the best. So how can you sort through your options and pick the best translation company for your specific needs?
Great question! Here are five steps to guide you through this process and help you select a quality translation agency.
1. Compare the competition’s experience and background
If you’re unfamiliar with the translation services industry in general, the most reliable step you can take is to look for an agency with a long track record of success in the industry. Read online reviews, learn about the company’s history, and seek out testimonials from past clients to gauge the company’s reputation.
You will also want to read the bios and backgrounds of the company’s top leaders to make sure the company hasn’t been overtaken by executives and other leaders who lack industry experience. If both the company and its top leaders have verifiable reputations and work experience in translation, they’re likely a strong candidate worth your consideration.
2. Find out what kind of linguistic experts you would be working with. Ask about the types of translation services the company offers
As you identify some top candidates among the translation companies you’ve reviewed, ask them about their translation process and who you would be working with. Do you get assigned a single translator to help with your project, or are there multiple translators, editors, and other experts involved in the process to provide quality assurance? In general, multiple team members on your translation content demonstrates a stronger commitment to quality.
You should also ask about the types of translation offered by the company to make sure they’re experienced with the type of translation you need. There’s a big difference between translating immigration documents and translating a technical manual for manufacturing equipment. You don’t only need language experts working on your project—you also need domain experts familiar with the subject matter, industry, and other details relevant to your project.
3. Ask about certifications, workflows, security and confidentiality standards, and use of modern translation technology
The processes used to deliver translation services can have a big impact on the outcome of the project, as well as the privacy of any sensitive information being handled in the translation process. You should ask about certifications, such as ISO 9001 or ISO 17100, that reflect quality assurance standards maintained within the organization.
Additionally, ask about the workflows through which your project will be handled: Are these managed through a proprietary workflow system? Are timelines for delivery established and updated as the project moves along?
Find out how technology would be utilized to support your translation project, including whether computer-assisted translation is being used at any point in the process. Some of the best translation companies use CAT in combination with human translation to speed up translation and improve quality and consistency, but this should be disclosed to the customer prior to any agreement, and you should have full control over how technology is used in your translation project.
4. Consider the size of the translation company’s language network, including the number of language pairings the company is able to serve
Not every translation agency is able to handle every translation project. You need a company with experience handling translations in your specific language pairing.
Find out how linguistic experts are paired with these projects, and consider asking for background information on the translators and/or other linguistic experts you would be working with before hiring any translation service.
5. Ask for bids from multiple translation companies—and compare the prices
Price comparisons are an easy way to ensure you’re getting good value from a top translation service. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the lowest price is always the best: You need to balance the quality of service you expect and your comfort with the company against the cost of any translation project.
Once you’ve balanced the costs against the features and services of the company, you’re ready to make your choice of translation company!
Competitive Prices, Without Sacrificing Quality
As far as translation companies go, no other agency can match the record Protranslating has compiled over the years. With more than 45 years of experience, ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifications, a network of more than 5,000 translators and linguistic experts, and innovative technology to support fast, accurate and high-quality translations of any kind, there’s no beating the value customers get when working with Protranslating.
Whether you’re an individual or a business, Protranslating has the experience and infrastructure needed to deliver accurate translations on-time, and in more than 200 language pairings.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your next translation project.