What to look out for when hiring a Translation Service Provider

Orange marking on checklist box with pen, Checklist concept

Did you know that the Language Services market in the UK is valued at a whopping £1.75billion and there are over 1600 translation companies in the UK alone to choose from? If this sector is new to you, navigating the maze of translation providers and service options can be challenging.

Here are Dialogue’s top 10 considerations to help you select the right company for your translation needs:

1. Starting your search

Google will provide a list of companies who have paid to be top of the search list. But is that really what you’re looking for? The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) and Slator are industry-recognised institutions which will show you which Translation Service Providers have attained and maintained a quality and successful business, and those which adhere to the Industry’s code of Professional Conduct. These sources will provide a much more reliable start to your search.

2. Quality Is King!

Being an accredited ATC member is only one aspect of quality management. Adherence to ISO standards 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015, ensures projects are completed to the highest standards. ISO certification confirms rigorous quality assurance, not just in project delivery but also in how translators are hired and managed. This will give you peace of mind that you’ll receive a top-quality service from all perspectives.

3. Happy Customers

Does the company have published customer references in the service areas you’re interested in? Named quotations, rather than just a list of company logos, indicate you’re on the right track with your search.

4. Digital Health Check

Is the company’s website and social media up-to-date? Your review of the company’s digital presence should reassure you that the company is on top of new trends in the translation industry, has happy clients, presents clear service options, and cares for its marketing – which is a good indicator that they’ll be on top of service delivery too.

5. Responsiveness

Can you easily book an intro meeting or call with their team, or are you only encouraged to upload documents to their website to determine a quote? This first touchpoint will tell you whether the company offers partner potential or whether they’re just interested in one-off transactions.

When you get in touch – by email or phone – how long does it take them to get back to you? Do they give you the feeling that they want your business? Again, this is a key aspect of quality customer support.

The human touch

6. Want vs Need

The world of translation can be complex – and often, what you think you want, isn’t always what you really need. Are you looking for translation, localisation, or transcreation services to deliver the result you expect for your project?

This is where taking time to discuss your requirements – to get the right advice – can ensure that your translation is fit for purpose, delivered on time and within budget. Make sure your agency is giving you the time you need from the start to set out objectives and understand your challenges.

7. Always with a human touch

AI and machine translation play a part in every translation company’s business. They help reduce costs and build efficiency and speed of delivery (especially for last-minute requests). BUT AI and machine translation should never be a stand-alone service. Always check that even the cheapest service option you’re offered is a human-reviewed service, ensuring the highest quality.

8. Project Management

Reputable translation companies will use platforms like Phrase TMS to track and manage project milestones. They will also assign a Project Manager to your account, to keep you updated on progress, discuss any in-project issues with you, and ensure that your project is delivered on time and within budget. They should liaise with you from the start regarding any preferred style guides, glossaries, and workflow/communication preferences.

9. Afters...

So, your first project is finished and delivered. How would you rate the experience? Did your provider come back to you for feedback with a view to future improvements? How much post-project engagement did you experience? A positive experience will be one you’ll want to repeat to meet your business’ needs.

10. Commitment

Confirming an ongoing scope of works with your Project Manager can lead to improved delivery timescales, volume pricing negotiations and the possibility to secure continuity of support with named translators, who really come to understand your business in depth. A mutual commitment to build a strong, long-term partnership can build true success for your business.

We hope you’ve found this blog useful. What was the most important element for you when you chose your translation company? 

And don’t forget: if you’d like to try Dialogue’s award winning translation services, email us at [email protected] or book a call with one of our team at a time to suit you so we can understand your needs.

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