How to choose the right translation agency

Business

When it’s time for your business to expand and break into new markets far away, be sure to communicate with your customers and partners in a language they understand, and ideally their native language. And yes, these suggestions even pertains to companies where English is the corporate language!

Associated with simple; several studies have clearly shown that folks are more more likely to buy a product or service from an organization that communicates with them in their own language. Additionally, occasionally your company may also be legally required to translate texts such as manuals and instructions into local languages.

A professional translation agency can help you take your business in the right direction.

WHY YOU SHOULD SELECT A TRANSLATION AGENCY OVER FREELANCERS
There’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ translation assignment, and having the ability to speak two languages doesn’t qualify you to definitely be a translator any more than having two hands qualifies them to be always a pianist. Translating between two languages is a discipline that requires outstanding linguistic skills as well as a romantic understanding of the country, culture and industry the translation is ideal for. Quite simply, what characterises a high-quality translation is accurate terminology, correct use of industry jargon and a flowing, grammatically correct writing style that’s tailored to the intended audience, considering cultural distinctions and transferring the subtleties of 1 language to another. Inside the translation industry, this painstaking process is known as localisation.

Whenever using a professional and serious translation agency, you will be confident that your texts are just assigned to experienced and skilled translators who have undergone a rigorous testing and selection process.

Choosing a company over individual freelancers also eliminates the risk of the translation process becoming a bottleneck for work, as translation agencies are being used to handling large volumes of texts that require to be translated into various languages within very short timeframes. In other words, you get an instant time-to-market for your products when you decide to outsource your translation work to a company.

WHAT TRANSLATION AGENCY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
When you’re searching for the right agency for your business, you’ll quickly learn how many there are to choose from. You may even find it hard to tell how they actually change from one another.

Which agency to choose depends a lot on the needs you have as well as your preferences and criteria. If you only need a single text translated for internal use, and where preciseness and quality is not a high priority, then you may just need to focus on the purchase price.

However, if your texts will be read by your visitors or partners, it’s smart to choose a provider that can deliver the quality you expect. After all, an unhealthy translation could conclude having catastrophic consequences for your company’s reputation and endanger the actual value of your product in the new market. Just imagine the serious consequences a poorly translated group of instructions may lead to, or if your website – your online business card – makes your business look unprofessional.

HOW WILL YOU DECIDE ON A TRANSLATION AGENCY THAT CAN SUPPLY THE QUALITY AND SERVICE YOU WILL NEED?
In this regard, too, it’s extremely difficult to see how the agencies change from one another initially. The majority of their websites promise the same things: high-quality translations, lower prices than their competitors, fast turnaround and great service.

Listed below are our nine tips to make it easier that you should evaluate the jungle of language companies and discover the professional translation agency that matches your requirements and needs.

KEEP THESE NINE TIPS IN MIND WHENEVER CHOOSING YOUR TRANSLATION AGENCY:

1. ASK AROUND IN YOUR NETWORK AND REQUEST REFERENCES
The ultimate way to find a reliable supplier is often as straightforward as asking around. After all, someone in your network may know a great translation agency that they might recommend. If so, it’s always a good idea to follow-up with a few pre-determined questions about whether they’ve found the agency to be reliable and stable and exactly how satisfied they have been with the quality of the translations.

You might look for case stories and references on the agency’s website, or if you need to go even more, contact the agency and ask these to provide some client references that you can contact directly.

2. ENQUIRE ABOUT THEIR PROCEDURES AND PROCESSES
Professional translation agencies have implemented efficient processes to take care of the translation assignments they receive using their clients, enabling those to keep an eye on each assignment and everything different languages that their clients’ texts have to be translated from and into. Such processes help the agency expedite their translation assignments, making certain they are really completed as fast as possible. Often, in addition they give clients the opportunity to monitor the status of these assignments and view every ongoing and completed translation they’ve assigned compared to that agency.

That’s why you need to ask if the agency runs on the so-called Translation Management System – like SmartDesk for example – from one of the key providers on the market, such as Plunet.

3. ASK WHICH LANGUAGE COMBINATIONS THE AGENCY OFFERS
Even though you just need texts translated into one or a small number of languages to begin with, it may be worthwhile to ask if the agency is with the capacity of translating texts into any language. If they’re, you can be sure your business won’t eventually ‘outgrow’ the agency and they can contribute to the near future expansion of your business and always meet your needs.

4. ASK ABOUT THE STANDARDS THE AGENCY HAS WITH REGARDS TO ITS LANGUAGE EXPERTS
Professional translation agencies rely on freelance translators and language experts, plus they are suffering from a network of regular vendors which allows them to translate their clients’ texts into an enormous variety of languages while also meeting their clients’ tight deadlines.

There can be major variations in the standards agencies expect their vendors to meet. To make sure you get the product quality you anticipate, the agency should be regularly assessing their vendors’ quality of work and proficiency in their language combinations. They should also establish standards for the language specialists’ degree of education, experience and skills.

Today, there are incredibly few translation agencies that still choose with an in-house team of translators. However, there are obvious benefits to having an in-house team of expert translators that can ensure a constantly advanced of quality and who understand the intricacies of the profession.

5. GET THE FEELING ON THE AGENCY’S LEVEL OF SERVICE
Try contacting the agency to observe how they react to your e-mail or call and if they spend enough time you that you deserve as a (prospective) client.

How long did it take to allow them to respond? Did they appear thinking about your enquiry? Did they ask about your needs? This can help offer you a sense of what it would be like working with that agency, as well as the way they deal using their clients.

You might ask a few questions about how precisely they use their clients. Are you considering assigned a particular contact person? Do you want to always have the choice to call or send them an e-mail? Is the agency willing to meet regularly to discuss your partnership?

Of course, every one of the above is determined by what exactly you want and need from a translation agency.

6. ENQUIRE ABOUT THEIR PRICES AND DEADLINES
As a customer, it’s often beneficial to understand how much you will probably pay for a product or service. However, many translation agencies only quote a cost for an assignment after they have had the chance to review the written text you will need translated. It is because the difficulty of an translation project may differ tremendously in conditions of how technical a text is, the topic(s) it handles, the language combination, etc. Reviewing the written text beforehand also allows the agency to analyse the files you need to include discounts for repetitions and previously translated segments in the purchase price.

That’s why we advise that you choose an agency that refrains from quoting a price before they’ve had the opportunity to review the text.

Also, retain in mind an agency’s price per word includes more than simply the translation itself, such as project management costs and proofreading. If you’re offered a quote that seems too good to be true, that agency might be cutting corners using one or several elements of the translation process, which in the end affects the quality of the translations they deliver.
7. ASK IN THE EVENT THE AGENCY OFFERS OTHER SERVICES
The greatest thing is to find an agency that provides all the language services you and your colleagues need so you can send your assignments to the same provider. There’s also a lot of value to find somebody that you and your colleagues can create a friendly and close professional relationship with. The complete process becomes easier – and the final product becomes far better – once the translation agency has gotten to know you and your company’s needs, modulation of voice, terminology, etc.

You must therefore ask if the agency offers proofreading, text revision, copywriting, DTP, etc., and whether they have any limitations as it pertains to file formats and language combinations.

8. ASK IF THE AGENCY USES TECHNOLOGY AND CAT TOOLS
Professional translation agencies use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools to translate your texts. CAT tools help increase the quality of the translation – by ensuring conditions are translated uniformly for instance – while also ensuring you get the perfect price for your translation assignment, since you either pay less or nothing at all for previously translated segments and repetitions. In this earlier post on our blog you can read more about CAT tools and their benefits.

If the agency utilises and will be offering the latest technological services such as system integrations and machine translation, that’s a very good sign that you’re dealing with an agency that keeps up with the latest industry developments and can offer solutions that lead to better and intelligent processes.

9. THE AGENCY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION
No one wants to come quickly to work one day and find out that a reliable partner is suddenly discontinuing its services or has to turn off, leaving you hanging. That’s why we recommend that you look into how long the translation agency ‘s been around and the state of its finances.

In the event that you follow these nine tips whenever choosing your language company, you’ll definitely be off to a great start. The important thing is to get the right partner right away so you avoid needing to switch between agencies, wasting lots of their time and resources on starting over.

If you wish to learn about AdHoc Translations and the services we provide, please feel free to get in contact. We’d be pleased to discuss how exactly we can come up with a tailored solution for you that matches your unique needs.