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Choosing a translation company: 7 key considerations

Not every translation company is created equal.

When it comes to choosing a translation company, particularly for the first time, many of us don’t know what to look for. Often because we may never know if the end result meets our expectations. And with over 30,000 language service providers (LSPs) to choose from, how do you decide which one to select, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to review the texts for yourself?

Whether you’re new to using translation services or have used them numerous times in the past, this guide will help you to identify what to look for in a language service provider so you can feel confident in the quality of the final translation.

Talented Linguists

When we need to recruit two or three linguists with the skills required to meet our clients’ expectations, we often have to test twenty or thirty. That’s because good quality translation is not a matter of speaking foreign languages fluently, but of writing well in your own language, a skill that can take years to perfect.  Qualifications, although providing a good indication, don’t necessarily mean good quality writing, which is why we test so rigorously. We also ensure that our translators have a minimum of five years’ experience in translation and are native speakers of the target language (which should go without saying).

Industry Expertise

Every industry—or even business—has its own vernacular and style, so it’s important that linguists working on your project have experience in your specialist field. If you have any doubts, a good language service provider will provide a detailed profile of the person translating or writing your texts, and will use the same person consistently for all future projects.

Quality Assurance

We have complete confidence in the quality of our translation partners, and yet we still insist on checking every document for typos, mistranslations and inconsistencies. The reason is because spotting your own mistakes is difficult, to the extent that you are twice as likely to spot mistakes in someone else’s work as you are in your own. This is because the brain is not wired to identify small details but meaning when you write or translate a text. Not all translation companies include proofreading in the translation process, or they add a premium for it, so make sure a robust QA process is in place.

Added Value

Proofreading should be just one element in a range of value-added services. The reason that organisations tend to employ  [DH1] the services of a translation company instead of a freelance translator is because they offer additional services such as desktop publishing, glossary management, TM management, transcription, multilingual content and other related services. A good translation agency will also work hard to make the process as efficient as possible, integrating new translations directly into a CMS, for example, and utilising translation technology to aid consistency and save time.

Translation Technology

A good translation company will use the latest technology to make the translation process more efficient, secure and cost-effective. The two main types of software used to achieve this are Translation Management Systems, which streamline the translation workflow and can connect to your CMS through APIs to making localising content much simpler, and CAT tools, which store and retrieve previous translations in a Translation Memory (TM) to speed up the process and ensure that translations are always consistent. Make sure your language service provider has the necessary tools to make the translation or localisation process faster and more cost-effective.

Communication and Flexibility

It is essential that you be able to communicate freely with a project manager or even directly with the translator to address any issues with the text and respond to any questions you both have about the project (clarifying terminology, acronyms etc.). Here at Keytext, clients can choose to work directly with our translation partners to ensure a clear and direct line of communication. However, clients also have the flexibility of working with a project manager if they prefer (more effective when working on larger projects with multiple languages).

Confidentiality

All linguists and project managers handling your files must have signed a nondisclosure agreement with the agency before being allowed to access them. If you have any doubts about this, you can always ask the translation company to provide evidence of these agreements.

Keytext Translation Services provides high quality translation, writing and transcription services tailored to the specific needs of each client. We seek out the most talented writers and translators and utilise a range of technologies to guarantee high quality copy, streamlined processes and flexible rates. If you would like any information on our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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