As with any other kinds of business, when choosing a translation service provider to work with you should take into consideration a number of things, from the credibility of the agency to the quality of translation it does to the availability of its customer service. To help you get a general idea of which boxes to check, we come up with a list of important aspects to pay attention to when you search for your next best translation agency to partner with. Our list, although rather extensive, is far from being complete or exhaustive as every business has its own criteria to fine-tune the search.

With that being said, let’s point out some things which can help you avoid making mistakes during your next translation agency search process. 

Business reputation

Not always the first choice but it's a key thing to check. If you think about it, the reputation of a translation agency must trump anything else. It’s a single mark that shows the dynamics between what the agency does and what its clients think about it and how much they are satisfied with the results. The most powerful weapon, in this case, are reviews, references and recent posts. Browse the Internet, read what people are saying (clients, preferably) and get an idea about the agency you are profiling. Make a mental note of what you see but take everything with a grain of salt: the Internet is huge and sometimes people overreact both in their praise and disapproval. And this is the reason you need more things to check before you can make a calculated decision.    

Professional translators

How many translation agencies say they offer ‘services by native professional linguists’? Every single one of them! And it’s a bit of a problem for potential customers. Why? Because the fact that a translation agency has professional translators on staff does not necessarily mean they will work on your project. To tackle this issue, you can ask for more details on those who will translate your project. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know the people you work with better. Pay attention to their specialization and recent projects they did. This will help you understand how deeply they delved into the subject in question. 

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Quality

The most obvious point on our list. Or is it? You can’t really tell how good the result of your translation will be, especially if you work with a translation agency for the first time. When you visit the website of a translation service provider notice the little things that speak volumes - main translation fields (legal, certified, technical), document file formats and languages it usually works with, word output per day, etc.

Checking the reputation of the agency and the qualification of translators are the good way to go. Plus, the quality directly depends on how good at a chosen subject the translator assigned to your project is. Your perfect choice is a highly specialized translator. Also, check for accreditation of the company, it’s a guarantee of quality and your safety net if issues arise in the future. 

Delivery times

Even a perfect translation is useless if a translator cannot deliver on time and doesn’t meet the deadlines. Or, on the other hand, it’s no good if the translation is done on time but the quality leaves much to be desired. If your project is time-sensitive, you need a team of translators to do it on time. A professional translation agency will definitely offer you this option to meet the target date and not to sacrifice the quality. 

Price

Doing business is a race against time and on a limited budget. So you may not want to spend more than is reasonable on your translation project. Scout out the Internet to get an insight into translation rates. Consider finding out how tight deadlines, rare language pairs, specific topics, etc, affect the rates then compares these rates to the rates of the translation agency you want to work with. 

Although important, the price is just one of the factors to look into before making the final decision. Depending on your situation, it may be wiser to ignore it altogether or the contrary is true. Only you can tell what suits you better in terms of your project, time schedule, budget or specialization.

Customer service

This is one of the most important aspects of any business. Customer service is the front line of day-to-day interaction between a company and its clients. And potential clients, which makes it even more far-reaching. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And that should be the motto of every successful customer service department. Unfortunately, many companies neglect it and that’s another reason to pay attention to customer service.

Think of it in the future tense. If at some point you have an issue to sort through, would you be eager to communicate with customer service you don’t really like to talk to? If you had trouble getting your message across, this is how a minor issue could snowball into a potentially ugly situation. Therefore, you’d better save yourself from trouble and learn about that customer service thing in advance.

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Case studies

They are made for you and those who want to know a translation agency a little better. Case studies give you an idea of the projects the agency completed and the industries it worked with. It’s like reading a car description before you decide if you want to contact the seller.

Case studies are a valuable tool for getting information about a translation agency. They give you the specifics you couldn’t get hold of otherwise. Deadlines, industry specification, the number of words translated, language pairs involved, the target language, etc, it would make your head spin of how much it could tell you about the qualification of an agency. The catch is not all agencies post detailed case studies on their websites so you should contact their customer service and ask them to provide the information you need. You might as well want to check it out too. 

References

The thing with references is that sometimes it seems that only happy clients are ready to give them. But the number of happy clients can show you how successful an agency really is. If there are pages and pages of references on their site, more than likely the company providing translation services has a lot of experience in dealing with their clients and could find a reasonable approach to most of them. It’s always a good sign and another tick in the plus column. 

But don’t run away in a hurry from those who have not-so-many references on their website. There could be an explanation for why it happened. It may be a good idea to contact their customer service first and ask for more information. Customer service is your entry point, so use it to your own advantage.

Data security

It’s the 21st century, and we live, work and relax on the Internet. Cybersecurity became an essential part of our lives, just like healthy eating and exercising. Minimum ISO9001 certification is a good start but it may be not enough for you if you seek a higher level of protection. Hackers and other security risks are rampant and running wild, so you should not put yourself in danger by working with poor security companies.

One more thing about translation services

We’ve compiled this list so you have a starting point in your search to choose a translation agency you want to work with. This list is not exhaustive as only you know all the specifics of your project. If you would like more information on what PoliLingua can offer against any of the above points, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Translation agency - PoliLingua