Five Tips to Pick the Best Translation Agency

One of the obvious difficulties in partnering with a translation agency is that if you don’t speak the language into which you want documents or other material translated, how will you know if the results are any good? You don’t even want to get to that point, ideally. The best-case scenario would be to know you’ve picked a winner before any deals are done or contracts signed.

Fortunately, there are some key strategies you can adopt to find the perfect translation agency. Here are just five of them:

  1. Have a Look at Their Website. Does it look like an established professional business? Do they explain what they do and the services they offer? Is the website translated into several languages and is it free of errors? Can you get a sense of their level of experience and expertise?
  2. Pass a Sample by an Expert Friend. Find someone who is a native speaker of the target language, and fluent in the source language too. Ask the agency to translate a paragraph or two and then pass this by your personal contact. If the sample accurately communicates and conveys the message, tone, and nuance of your subject matter, you’re onto a winner.
  3. Look at Trustpilot Reviews, or other reviews from a different B2B service rating site. Your chosen agency may have provided links to one of these review aggregators on their website.
  4. Check out their Client Portfolio and Testimonials. Who have they worked with, and especially, who do they do repeat business with? In an ideal world you’ll see prestige clients commissioning a translation task similar to the one you’re working on. Ideally, arrange to speak to a former or current client who has received work in the target language. Any good translation agency will be happy to set you up with a call to a satisfied customer.
  5. Finally, and perhaps all too obviously, you can use a search engine (ideally Google) to see how easily the agency’s site pops up in the first page of a relevant keyword search (e.g., “Spanish English Translation”). This will give you a great indication of the status they hold within the industry, although it won’t give you detailed insight into your specific translation task.

Here’s a bonus tip: Just have a good, open conversation with the company doing the translation. What are their credentials, what similar work have they undertaken already? When you get specific about the task in hand, do they understand the type of translation you need―whether literal, freer, or transcreative?

The perfect translation partner will always be happy to provide you with the credentials, contacts, and samples you need to be reassured that you’re on the right track and the same wavelength.

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