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What to Look for When Selecting a Language Translation Agency

When searching for a language translation agency to work with, the vast array of options can seem overwhelming. A Google search will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of translation companies promising to be your perfect match. But what specific factors should you consider when selecting a translation partner?

 Comprehensive translation services

While many prospective buyers start their hunt with simple translation needs, such as a quick English to Spanish translation, you should always look for an agency that offers comprehensive services. Such language service providers have the breadth of expertise necessary to act as a “one-stop shop” on which you can rely for all your translation needs, including when those needs change and expand.

What does it mean for a translation agency to be “comprehensive”? Let’s break this category down a little further:

  • Multilingual services: How many languages does a potential translation company offer? The more multilingual options, the more opportunity to reach new target markets.
  • Range of industries and types of service: Whether you work in marketing, shipping, or software, make sure the agency you select has a wealth of experience in your industry as well as any related ones. Similarly, you’ll want an agency that offers different types of translation service across the entire span of the translation process, such as localization, post-editing, and more.
  • Customer service: We hear the phrase “customer service” all the time, but what does it really mean? Hallmarks of strong customer service include ease of contact, availability of technical assistance, and local offices based in convenient locations.
  • Delivery time: Time is money, to be sure, but don’t assume the fastest turnaround represents the best quality. Look for a language service provider that provides efficient delivery times for reasonable rates, not one that promises lightning-fast speeds that sound too good to be true.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality should be another primary factor in your search. For example, look for a language translation agency with an established history of serving the government, military, aerospace, and technical industries; expertise with proprietary material like patents; and/or translators that have trained in sensitive, high-stakes settings such as the United Nations or domestic legal courts. You should also ask any potential collaborator questions about their data security and file storage policies.

 Certifications and testimonials

You’ll want to choose a language translation agency that comes highly recommended—and very well-certified. Look for translators that are certified according to ISO standards for translation products, as well as other industry-specific guarantees of quality. For instance, if you are in need of medical translations, select an agency that works with board-certified MDs. Finally, any reputable company should provide testimonials and examples of past clients. Review these to assess the agency’s strengths as well as its suitability for your desired projects.

Still not sure where to start? Remember that the most experienced language translation agencies can help you narrow down what you’re looking for if you reach out to them, even if you don’t quite know what services will best meet your needs.