Finding a good translation agency can be tricky if you’ve never worked with one before. The market is quite saturated at this point, and there are many good options to consider. No matter if you’re on a limited budget or need someone to handle a major project, there are multiple companies that you can get in touch with.
So how do you go about finding the ideal translation agency for your needs? Here are some pointers to get you started.
Understand Your Requirements in Depth
Before starting your search, make sure you understand your project requirements in as much detail as possible. When you approach translation agencies, you won’t be the only one asking questions.
They will have some inquiries about your project and general requirements as well, and it’s important to be as precise as possible in outlining the situation. Otherwise, you might waste a lot of time on discussions that ultimately go nowhere.
Ask About Quality Control
Another important factor to look into is how the company handles quality control. Ideally, all translations should pass through at least one verification stage. Ask about how they handle revisions and similar cases as well. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where the translation you’ve received is inadequate and you have no options available to have it adjusted.
Verify Industry-specific Knowledge
If you’re hiring translators for texts related to a specific industry, you must also verify that the agency you’re working with has professionals with sufficient experience in that area. Ideally, they should have a background in the field. While that’s not mandatory, it can go a long way toward providing you with some reassurance that they will know exactly what they’re talking about.
This can get more complicated with more niche specializations. You may be hard-pressed to find a translation agency that can provide you with suitable experts and your options may be very limited. In this case, you might be willing to make certain compromises if you can’t find any suitable experts otherwise.
Experience with Cultural Differences
You might also find yourself in situations that require not just language skills, but also a good understanding of different cultures and the implications of this type of communication. Sometimes translations have to be adjusted to be more sensitive and prevent them from being misinterpreted in some specific contexts. This requires a solid background in the cultures involved.
Availability and Response Time
Some translation agencies offer their services 24/7, but not all of them do that. If you have such expectations, make that clear in your negotiations. Ask about the agency’s general availability and average response time.
This is especially true if you expect that you’re going to be placing orders with tight deadlines. Not every agency on the market will be able to serve you properly under those circumstances. And if you’ve already made a commitment to a client or business partner, misunderstandings on that front can put you in a very awkward situation.
Get Quotes for Small and Large Projects
Even if you’re only planning to hire the company for small projects, you should still request quotes for at least one larger project as well. This will give you a good idea of the flexibility and availability of the agency. Plus, if things work out, you might find yourself hiring them for larger orders in the future. In that case, it would be good to know that they are capable of servicing you properly in those circumstances as well.
Ensure the Agency Can Scale Up Their Services Easily
That brings us to another point. It’s not rare to start out small and eventually start placing larger orders when working with a translation agency. With less experienced agencies, you might eventually hit a point where they cannot adequately scale up their services to match your growing requirements.
It can be uncomfortable to find yourself in that situation, as it often means having to hire another agency and start from scratch. This is especially complicated when you’ve already had a lot of communication with the current agency and you would have to explain all your requirements all over again.
Do They Offer Any Additional Services?
Perhaps you don’t need an interpreter right now, but you should still check if the company you’re about to work with can offer that service in the future. If you do end up needing an interpreter, it would be great to know that you can get all services you need from one provider.
Localization is another point worth bringing up. If you ever need to expand your company’s operations beyond your current country and want to properly localize your products, it would be great to work with the same translation agency that you’ve been using so far.
The Importance of Reliable Customer Support
And of course, don’t forget about customer support. Ideally, you should never have to contact support representatives for anything in the first place. But if it comes to that, you should know that you can rely on a fast response and immediate action.
This can make a huge difference in larger contracts, so you should never hire a translation agency without verifying that they can handle support cases with due diligence. You can also try reaching out to the agency’s support with small inquiries every now and then to ensure that they are as good as they claim.
Investigate Reviews and Customer Opinions
This should go without saying, but you should also check what other people are saying about the agency before working with it. This should be easy to verify with a few quick searches. Try to dig into those reviews in as much detail as you can. Sometimes there’s more to be found beneath the surface.
Pay special attention to older reviews and compare them to current ones. Is there any indication of past problems that may have gone unaddressed? Are there any recurring issues to be aware of?
Finding the right translation agency to partner up with can be a challenge. But as long as you understand your requirements and take the time to explore your available options in as much detail as you can, it shouldn’t take you long to find the ideal agency for your needs. From then, it’s just a matter of maintaining your end of that partnership.