If you need content professionally translated, you’d be well advised to do some research into any translation agencies you’re thinking of using before going ahead. As not all translation firms are born equal, simply plumbing for the first company that pops up at the top of paid search results could result in disappointment.
aking the time to make sure you’re using a firm that has the resources to get your job done to the highest standard possible could save you a lot of trouble further down the line. So, what should you be looking for when selecting the best translation agency?
Choose a translation firm that offers you a single point of contact who will be on hand to discuss your requirements throughout the translation process, be this by phone or email. Avoid companies that simply want to take your raw content and provide a translated version without ongoing discussion. The translation of your content should be a fluid, collaborative process from start to finish.
Look for an agency that is able and willing to communicate with you in plain English, without blinding you with professional jargon. If you don’t know much about translation software, you won’t want a firm that offers you a project manager who spends most of your time together talking about the technical intricacies of machine translation.
You should also look for a firm that has the scope to adapt to your deadlines, offer a fast turnaround and manage several different projects at the same time, especially if you have content that needs to be translated on a regular basis. Although size isn’t everything, translation firms that operate at scale will typically have the staff and resources required to adapt to their clients’ needs more efficiently than smaller companies.
Being able to speak a language is no guarantee that an individual will make a good translator. This is why you should retain a firm that only uses qualified mother-tongue linguists with knowledge of your target dialect. Making sure that your translation agency only uses proven and fully-referenced linguists who have a track record of never failing to meet deadlines will also be vital.
Before agreeing to use a translation agency, it will be imperative to make sure the company you choose has experience of working in your business sector. This will be especially true if you work in a fairly niche or specialised industry. Checking that a translation firm has industry experience and can provide translators who are familiar with regulatory requirements and technical language that is peculiar to your business sector will help avoid confusion. Unfortunately, some agencies take on work and then worry about whether they have the resources to deliver later.
Check that the translation company you use offers translators with sector-specific experience. If you need a technical document translated fast, you’ll need an agency that has a translator with knowledge of your industry on its books. Selecting a firm that has a large and diverse pool of linguists available will make this more likely.
Using a company that makes intelligent use of technology and human input will also be important. While machine translation certainly has its place, look for an agency that takes advantage of both its software and human resources.
Employing great linguists will be one thing, but if you want to make sure you’re guaranteed a perfect translation every time, you’ll need to use an agency that has robust quality control procedures in place. It will be rare that mistakes are made by linguists employed by a top translation agency, but if and when they are, you’ll want the peace of mind of knowing that the firm you hired will make sure these are put right before the finished product reaches you. Only work with a firm that promises to make sure your translation is thoroughly proofread before it’s handed over to you.
Certifications and Security
Make sure that the firm you choose is properly certified. If you’re looking for a firm in the UK, check for accreditation from the translation industry’s two standard professional bodies; the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) and the European Union Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC). As well as guaranteeing quality, using an accredited firm will also mean you’ll have a certification provider to come back to if anything goes wrong.
In a post-Snowden world, it will be likely that security will be right up there with quality when it comes to choosing which translation agency to go with, especially if your content is of a sensitive nature. If you want to be sure that your data is going be safe with the company you use, look for a firm that’s been awarded security certifications such as ISO9001 or ISO27001.
If you don’t understand the target language you want your content translated into, you’ll probably struggle to evaluate a translation agency’s work by looking at past examples of content it’s produced for other clients. As such, you should look for a firm that provides detailed testimonials from past clients. Don’t just look for a company that offers testimonials on its website; seek out an agency that offers detailed feedback, case studies and references on request.
You’ll also be able to judge a translation agency partly by looking at the types of clients it’s worked with. A firm that regularly works with blue-chip private companies, well-known NGOs and large government departments will typically offer a service level that you might not be able to expect elsewhere.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to the translation industry. You’ll be able to go onto some websites and find translation services for next to nothing, but these will typically be of dubious quality. When using an agency, you’ll be paying for a certain service level, but this doesn’t mean you should have to shell out more than you need to. When looking for a translation firm, seek out an agency that is willing to price-match its competitors, even if it is at the top of its game.