Things to consider when choosing a translation agency

In today’s globalising world, businesses deal with international partners and clients more so than ever before. In order to trade successfully in a global environment, you must not only be able to adapt your strategies to a particular market, but you must also be able to speak that market’s first language. Many businesses and organisations now begin to fully understand just how important it really is to communicate with their potential customers in their language and so they approach translation agencies for help.

When working with a translation agency for the first time, you might be overwhelmed with the different terms you have never heard of before and factors you must consider. Will my content be localised? What does ‘localised’ even mean? What is the translation process? Are they using human translators? There are many questions you must answer before choosing the right translation agency for you and your business.

Language translation services have recently become a big business. In fact, there are more than 35,000 translations and interpreting providers worldwide and the number is constantly growing. Of course, majority of the language service providers (LSPs) have their very own specialities; business sectors they work with, languages they provide or subject expertise they offer. In order to help you choose the best translation agency for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors you should consider when deciding who will supply your translations.

However, in order to choose the most suitable translation provider for your content, it is extremely important that you fully understand it yourself, the reasons for translating it as well as the intended audience. You can do that by simply answering these questions:

  • Which are the source and target languages?
  • What is the purpose of your documents once translated?
  • Is it an area specific and technical or 0general document?
  • Who is the target audience for your translated material?

When you answer these questions, you’ll have a much better idea what questions you should ask your potential translation agency. In order to help you choose the best translation agency for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors you should consider when deciding who will supply your translations.

  1. Is the translation agency accredited and/or certified?

With so many translation agencies, official accreditation should be the primary indication of high quality and accuracy. The standard for certification is the ISO9001 programme or membership in official industry bodies such as the Association of Translation Companies (ATC). If this isn’t stated on the agency’s website, be sure to ask!



  1. Do they specialise in your sector?

If you’re only looking for a one off, general translation, this may not be very significant for you. If translations are something you need on regular basis and you’re looking to build a relationship with the provider, be sure to check whether the agency specialises in your business sector. Many providers use translators who are not only native speakers of your target language, but also have a first-hand experience within your business sector, which can guarantee high accuracy and reliability.

  1. Do they have examples of work from your business field?

If you want to see examples of work before going ahead with the translation, make sure to ask the agency. A professional provider will be able to give you case-studies of similar projects they’ve worked on, references or even list of clients. This will allow you to judge whether the translation service they provide will be suitable for your material.

  1. Do they have a qualified project manager?

Handling translation projects can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Therefore, you should be dealing with a dedicated account manager who will not only take you step-by-step though the process before it begins, but will also keep you updated and answer any questions you might have in regard to the translation or the agency itself.

  1. Can the translation be localised?

Business content, especially within the marketing environment, does not usually work well across different markets. Different customs, social factors or even religion and history can have a direct impact on how your material is perceived abroad. An experienced translation company will not only translate your text literally, but if needed, will also be able to adopt your content carefully so that it is suitable specifically for your intended target audience. You can find out what localisation is by clicking here.

  1. Are they using TM software?

Translation memory software is used in order to ensure that documents and material with medium to high levels of repetitions are always translated the same way. Using such tools not only improves quality and accuracy, but can also reduce the costs significantly. A professional translation agency will most likely be utilising a TM software of some sort.



  1. Do they have data-protection policies?

Some documents, especially within the business environment, can be highly confidential. A professional agency will have policies in place in order to protect your documents from external parties. A Non-Disclosure Agreement is always a good place to start if you’re working with confidential files and documents with a translation provider you’ve never worked before.

As you can see, there are indeed many different factors to consider when choosing a translation agency. Nevertheless, this may be one of the most important decisions a business owner will have to make when expanding abroad and so it must be very carefully thought through.