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Jul 2020 3 min read

8 Traits to Look for in a Translation Company

When you find yourself with an interpretation or translation need, what should you look for in a language service provider? You’ll want to find an agency that provides accurate, consistent and timely services. Beyond that, here are 8 additional traits we suggest you look at when you are shopping for a translation and interpretation agency.

1 - Responsiveness

We often tend to take it as a given that companies we work with will meet project deadlines.  Yet real world experience proves this isn’t always the case. If you provide the materials for your translation project to your agency on-time and have a project plan with a set timeline, you need to be able to depend on the company you’re working with to get it back to you on-time.  In addition, you want to be confident that if any questions arise during the project, that your agency will come to you for clarification in a timely manner, rather than guessing at your preferences.  Open, back and forth communication between you and your agency delivers the highest quality translation. 

The best way to know you are hiring a translation agency who will be responsive and provide superior communicators is to ask their current clients about their experiences.

How Much Does Translation Cost? FIND OUT!

2 - Consistency

You spend time writing a clear message, developing company specific terminology and individual preferences.  When you work with a translation agency who focuses on consistency, they have project managers that develop a relationship with you to learn your preferences and handle requests.  They will then assign a translator who understands your industry and your needs and who will develop a vocabulary and glossary as they work with you, so your message is constant and clear from one project to the next.  Having a relationship with your project manager and translator helps develop a knowledge base that gets stronger over time. 

Some companies assign translators to client projects based on availability rather than developing these deeper relationships.  Make sure you ask your potential agency how they assign translators and project managers to their client projects.

checklist traits3 - Relationships

Speaking about consistency has led us to the trait of building a relationship. You want a company that will be there for the long run. One who will build a partnership with you and be invested in your success.

Ask if their translators work with clients for a long time, or if there is a lot of transition between translators and project managers. Ask how long they have been working with their longest-term clients, and how many clients have come back consistently.

4 - Specialties

Some translation agencies are generalists, others specialize in a niche market. You need to choose one that can handle the type of translation you need. For example, highly technical translation companies may not understand marketing and the unique demands that marketing takes.  Messaging and subtleties are so important in marketing, whereas technical materials are much more precise and literal. Or if a company specialized in certain languages and then added others on, do they have the depth and breadth to support the languages you need for your project?

Know what your potential agency's specialties and make sure that they can meet your needs.

5 - Customization

Many agencies have developed an internal process and want you to follow that.  That means that you need to adapt to their procedures, and you don’t have the flexibility to manage the strategy and implementation that works best for your company.  It would be better to work with a company who takes the time to understand your goals and develops a flow that works for you.  While at the same time, they should make recommendations to improve your processes when they see opportunities.

Find out the details about the agency’s project management process and how flexible they are, and compare it to your own internal procedures and decide if they are a good fit.

6 - Big Picture

You’ll want your agency to see YOUR big picture and what you want to achieve.  If you work with a larger agency, you may work with a salesperson that will focus on individual projects.  By working with a more strategic advisor who can help you figure out a Translation Management Plan (TMP) that covers your strategy, technology, process and quality needs, you can develop internal systems to make sure you are efficient and effective with your translations.  Having a TMP will help you track ROI, increased revenues, avoidance of risk and any other metrics to support your strategic goals.

checklist of traitsBONUS Traits for Readers

After creating the video, we thought of two bonus traits to look for when shopping for a translation agency.

7 - Confidentiality

If you find a company that offers rates too good to be true, that might be the case. A few newcomers in the industry use a crowdsourcing model to assign translators.  The document is sent out to their network and the first person to accept the project, does it.  If you have copyrighted materials or confidential content, make sure you have a company that keeps your information secure and that you retain all ownership.

To read more about cost considerations read – How Much Does a Translation Cost.

8 - Support Services

When you translate a brochure, website or video, the content needs to be adapted for that specific usage or technology. Some agencies only do the translation, others can undertake the project from start to finish.  Make sure you work with a company that complements your abilities and needs.

Have questions? Contact Us 

Here at Rapport International we pride ourselves on our record of high quality, consistent, 100% on-time and on-budget translations. We back our work with our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee as well as over 30 years of experience. When you are in the market for a new translation or interpretation partner, give us a call, we would love to learn more about your company and help you get the best translation services for your project.

Rapport International specializes in multilingual communications, providing language translation and interpretation services that are accurate and culturally appropriate. We use the right voice and the correct terminology to avoid liability, customize services to your needs, and deliver on time and within your budget. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can trust that it’s done right. Contact us today if you would like more information or to get a free quote.

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