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How to choose the right translation agency with confidence

Published on July 20th, 2016

Choosing a translation agency for the first time can be pretty daunting. Every company promises that they can deliver what you need but it feels like a leap of faith whatever decision you make. Luckily, there are some checks you can make on translation agencies to be sure they’re up to standard.

Here, we discuss six simple steps you can take to get a better picture of the translation agencies you’re looking at. Follow these steps and you can become more confident about choosing a translation company.

translation agency

Be clear on what you need

The best weapon you can have when choosing a translation company is knowing what you need. Not all agencies are the same and sometimes you may need specialists in a certain field or a specific kind of service. For example, document translation is very different to interpretation and not all agencies will offer both.

Being clear on what you need puts you in a much better position to spot an agency that’s up to the task.

Check for certification

As with most service-based industries, there’s a certification process for translation companies. So keep an eye out for ISO 17100 certification on the website of any company you’re considering. This means they’ve been awarded a certification for quality and timely delivery on translation projects – two of the most important factors for you.

Learn about their process

Any good translation company should be proud of its process. Depending on the nature of your project, things can get quite complex. This is especially true for large or long-term projects involving a lot of files and documentation. An agency with a solid process for managing these challenges will be able to handle projects of all sizes.

See if they’ve won any awards

Another stamp of approval worth looking out for is any awards from recognised committees. You’ll normally be able to find these on their social media accounts or blog page. Let’s face it, if you win an award, you want to brag about it – we know we do! Plus, they don’t even necessarily need to win the award: simply being nominated suggests you’re looking at one of the industry’s best companies.

That’s not to say agencies without award plaques and nominations aren’t good enough. However, they are designed to help you choose top companies, so keep an eye out for them.

Check which sectors they specialise in

This is important if you’re in a highly sensitive industry and need specialist knowledge from your translation firm. After all, it always helps to know an agency has previous experience with your type of business – but that’s not the only reason to check this.

We recently published an article on five industries that can’t accept translation mistakes. Companies that specialise in these kinds of industries have to meet the highest level of standards. These are industries where mistakes can cost huge amounts of money: legal, financial, life sciences, etc. So, if you’re in one of these specialist industries, you’ll be in good hands with a company that regularly caters for them.

Speak to them directly

Finally, once you have a shortlist of agencies that take your fancy, pick up the phone and give them a call. You’ll be working with the agency directly on each project so it’s important you feel comfortable speaking with them. This will also give you a chance to ask any questions you haven’t been able to answer on your own. You’ll probably find one or two companies stand out once you start speaking to them – and after following the other steps in this article, you should be choosing between some of the best translation agencies in the business.

With these simple steps, you should be in a pretty good position to choose a translation agency with confidence. Most of it is simple fact checking and you can normally find out everything you need from their website – but it makes a real difference. So choosing a translation agency doesn’t have to be all that difficult, and hopefully you feel more confident about the whole process now.

translate plus is a translation agency in London; we have a wide range of clients who rely on us for our specialised knowledge in their industries. We’re certified to ISO 17100 and we have a number of awards to our name. If you have any queries or projects coming up that require translation, get in touch with one of our dedicated Account Managers today.

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Posted on: July 20th, 2016