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How to choose a Translation Company

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10 tips on how to choose a good translation company

You have been tasked to get some document professionally translated for the first time in your life.

You feel lost because you have not done it before and do not know where to start.

The last time you heard someone doing a translation is, well, never. Let alone knowing where to get it done professionally.

Your first attempt would be to google for Professional Translation Company, Certified Translation Services and all its permutations.

Then you choose the first five ranked translation company and inquire about prices and how soon it can be done.

Since your boss will most likely do not have any budget set aside for this translation, you are also obliged to favour the cheapest quotation that can offer you the fastest turnaround time.

Well, doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

That is until you receive your translation. Or not.

We have all been down that road before: ending up spending more money and time getting the translation rectified

Here are 10 tips to make you an expert in choosing the right translation company to work with that will not leave you high and dry.

  1. Before you buy, discuss, discuss and discuss.
    Avoid using a company that simply accept your translation request readily without even a pre-quotation discussion phase no matter how irresistible their price is. Translation is a professional service. It should not be handled like an online product purchase without any discussion.
  2. Choose a translation company that provides a single point of contact
    This single point of contact, usually a project manager, will be there to understand your translation requirement and is willing to take you through the translation process from start to finish. They will also be in the know when issues arise in the project. This means that your translation project is well taken care of, leaving you with less to worry and more time to do what is important to you.
  3. Trust a translation company with a long history.
    Most translation companies you find are run by freelancers. They rarely last for more than 5 years. Most are looking to make a quick buck from hit-and-run transactions. In order not to fall prey to such rogue companies, make sure the translation company you have chosen to work with has a decent history and track record in the market. The longer they have been around, the more reliable is their experience and the more trustworthy they are.
  4. Check for the relevant industry-specific experience.
    Translation is a profession that takes years to hone and even more to be specialised in a certain field. Most translation companies are generalist, while some may be offering translation in more specialised fields. Check the similar type of clients they have worked with in the past. It is important to talk to someone about your need for industry-specific experience. From the discussion, you will be able to know if their claims are genuine.
  5. Size matters.
    In the case of translation resources, SIZE MATTERS. The rule of the thumb is that you should be working with a translation company that has a huge and diverse pool of linguistic expert. The bigger their pool of linguists, the more likely they are be able to fulfil your requirement.
  6. Native is good. But native based in their home country is better.
    Most of the translation companies will claim that they are working with native translators. But are their native translators based in their home countries? This makes a huge difference. Native translators based in their home countries are in tune and in touch with the latest slangs and terminologies used in their country.
  7. ISO 17100 certification is your best bet.
    Not all translation companies are born equal. With so many claiming high quality translation output, the only way you can be sure is to work with a translation company that has a certified quality control procedure. You should look for a company that has an ISO 17100 certification. This ISO certification is specially developed by a panel of translation industry experts to ensure the highest quality translation results a translation company can afford by dictating a minimum requirement and experience for translators and project managers. This certification also mandates a data protection plan that will enhance and thus ensure confidentiality and data security.
  8. Don’t trust their websites.
    See if for yourself. It is always a good idea to visit the translation company to see with your own eyes what type of outfit it really is. You do not want to end up working with a 2-3-man operation or worse, you may be working with an individual operating from home and yet charging you at what a translation company with a team of well-trained professionals would charge. In that case, you are better off working with a freelance translator. But is that what you really want?
  9. Don’t trust their fancy address.
    If you google for translation companies in Singapore, you will see many translation companies with fancy office address. You must think they are trustworthy since they can afford such well-heeled places, right? Wrong!! If you look closely, most of these outfits are operating from a virtual or serviced office. Do an onsite visit. If you can’t, at least check that the translation company is not operating from a virtual or serviced office. Otherwise, you may have unwittily entrusted your job to a neighbour living next to you.
  10. Translation is a professional service. You get what you pay for.
    As with most things, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. You should be very suspicious if the prices quoted are too good to be true. Translation is a process that requires involvement of many different resources at different level. From professional translators and editors with specific-industry experience to experienced and qualified Project Managers. These processes do not come cheap. However, that does not mean that translation prices have to be sky-high. Look for one that can offer a value-for-money price-level.

The tips provided above is not exhaustive. There are many things to look out for when handling translation projects. Because translation itself is very often subjective, a collaborative work method would work best.

Lingua Technologies International is an ISO17100 certified translation service provider that has been around since 1996. As part of GCBG, a global alliance of translation companies, we have more than 5000 certified linguists world-wide. We recognize that every translation project is unique, and will take time to understand each requirement before commencement. When you work with Lingua Technologies International, you know your translations are in good hands.

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