6 essential questions to ask when choosing a translation agency

1. How will you make sure that my project will be delivered on time?

Asking such a question will prompt the translation agency to show what process they have in place, how good their internal communication is, and to what extent you (the client) will be involved in the process. The agency needs to see you as a partner and not as a one-time customer, providing regular updates throughout the entire duration of a project. If they have a clear process in place and understand your requirements, everything is bound to be delivered on time.

2. What processes or technology do you have in place that guarantee a high quality translation?

Agencies must show a good understanding of the translation process. They should also educate you about it in an honest, expert way. This shows experience, credibility and respect for the entire translation process. Technology plays a major role in the translation process. Most translation agencies utilise CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools and offer DTP (Desktop Publishing), which calls for experts in the field.

3. What’s involved in the cost and is that the best price you can offer me?

The process begins with receiving a free quote. At this point you’re probably still researching companies, sending requests to multiple translation suppliers and you are unsure which one is the right one yet. Sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best, and translation quality is bound to suffer. However, it’s neither practical nor profitable to accept very high costs, even if they do indicate that project results will be of high quality.

4. What past experience do you have in my industry and what examples can you show me proving past successes?

This will show how experienced the agencies are and what clients they have done work for. More importantly you are asking for examples of projects that have been successful. Getting it right first time is very important for you as a client, because you will save time and, more importantly, reduce costs for unsatisfactory results. When the agency has experience in your industry they are sure to be ready to meet the requirements of your project.

5. How do you ensure quality across all levels within the company?

Every translation agency wants to give the impression of being reliable and credible. That’s when accolades, awards and membership to respected bodies, like the International Standards for Organisations (ISO) and Association of Translation Companies (ATC), become relevant. It’s worth knowing how qualified are the translators of the company and if the linguist chosen for your project has industry specific experience.

6. Do you have any questions regarding my current project?

An agency that doesn’t take interest in your project is one that is bound to deliver unsatisfactory results. Understanding your needs is the number one priority. In fact, quality suffers the most when the project brief is inaccurate or incomplete. Make sure you and your agency both understand the requirements of the project. By asking these questions you will find out whether a translation agency is suitable and experienced enough to carry out your language project. Finding someone to just translate is easy, finding a supplier that will regard you as their partner is what reaps excellent results. Are there any other questions that you ask potential translation agencies?

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