How to Choose a Translation Company

How to Choose a Translation Company
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Choosing a translation company is an important decision, and it’s important to get it right. The right translation company allows your business to clearly communicate with customers and stakeholders in other languages.  Choose poorly, and you could face a number of unhappy consequences, including embarrassment, lost customers and even regulatory compliance issues.  What to do? Learn how to choose a translation company with our detailed guide! Here’s what to look for:

How to Choose a Translation Company: Learn More About The Translators

A translation company is only as good as its translators. So, the first step in evaluating a translation company is to learn more about the people who will be translating your content.  How many languages can the company source translators for? Are all the translators native speakers of the language they’ll be translating? How much experience do they have?

How to Choose a Translation Company: Experience and Reputation

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with choosing a newer company, using a well-established provider with years of experience gives you one more level of security.  Different industries have their own terminology and translation requirements. So, in addition to general experience, you should look for a company with experience in your industry.

For example, medical translation and legal translation are specialised disciplines that require subject matter expertise in addition to fluency in both languages.

While experience is important, we all know age is just a number.  You want a translation company that is not just experienced, but also has a reputation for quality, integrity and good customer service.  Any translation agency you work with should be able to provide you with case studies, testimonials and references from previous clients.

How to Choose a Translation Company: Compare Services Offered

It often takes more than just words to get your message across. The best translation companies offer so much more than bare-bones translation services.  Here are some examples of additional services that add value and make it easier for your company to communicate across cultures:

  • Transcreation: Localisation specialists help customise your marketing campaigns to take into account regional and cultural beliefs and preferences.
  • Design services: Designers can help recreate your content so it looks just as amazing in your target languages as it does in the original.
  • Accessibility: There’s more than one kind of language barrier. Accessibility services can include: adapting your content for customers with visual impairments with Braille and large-print formats; Easy Read and voice-over services for those with reading difficulties and sign language interpreting for the hearing impaired.
  • Multilingual SEO:  SEO is tricky enough in just one language.  Translating your website adds another wrinkle to the process because your carefully selected English keywords may not exactly correspond to the keywords used by customers in your target language. Multilingual SEO experts ensure that your site gets found on the web.
  • Social Media Services:  Social media marketing in your target language helps your company build relationships with customers and buzz around products.
  • Voiceovers: For audio content, it’s not enough to have the words translated; having native voice talent ensures correct pronunciation that sounds easy and natural to listeners.

How to Choose a Translation Company: Quality Control

There’s no way around it: translation errors make your business look bad, and could even place you out of compliance with regulations governing your industry.  Before you hire a translation company, ask about their quality control procedures and their certifications. They should be able to explain the methods they use to ensure that the translation you want is the translation you get: accurate, free of mistakes and easily understood by the target audience.

At K International, we are ISO 9001-certified for quality control. The ISO 9001 certification illustrates that we take quality management seriously and are dedicated to consistently meeting the needs of our customers.

How to Choose a Translation Company: Appropriate Use of Technology

Technology definitely has a place in modern translation services, but beware firms who “cheat” using services like Google Translate. Machine translation is getting better and can sometimes provide a “good enough” version of a straightforward text. That said, even in the best-case scenarios the resulting text almost always sounds awkward and stilted to native speakers.  Plus, it’s still prone to errors and we’ve unfortunately caught other translation companies using  Google Translate as their own work.  

However, technology and machine translation can be used to make the translation process more efficient. At K International, we use Tracklingua, our own bespoke cloud-based portal, to make it easier for clients to submit and manage their translation projects.  We also use a customised machine translation system that relies on translation memories and past work we’ve done for the client in question so that we don’t have to “re-translate” the same words and phrases over and over again. By relying on careful oversight and quality control from human translators,  we ensure our translations remain accurate.

How to Choose a Translation Company: Data Security

Confidentiality and data security are vital, especially if you’re in a sensitive industry.  Look for a translation company that follows appropriate procedures to keep your data safe. Here again, it’s a good idea to ask for proof in the form of certifications. At K International, we are ISO 27001 certified for risk management.

Also, take a look at the translation companies portfolio. Experience with government translation work and in high-security industries requires appropriate confidentiality procedures.

Looking for a translation company? We’d love to help. Take a look at the translation services we offer and get in touch!