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15 points of attention when choosing translation services

9 September 2019

Good translations are indispensable. Thanks to globalisation and the internet, almost any person in the world could be a potential customer of your company. Therefore it is important that the texts on your website, folders and social media, and even internal information, are geared to the country in which you are operating. When you intend to offer your products or services abroad, translating your existing texts is a good way to start. You can translate the texts yourself or outsource them to a freelance translator or translation agency. If you choose the latter, you will find that a wide range of translation agencies now exists. This raises the following question: How do you choose the right translation services? This blog will help you in making that decision.

How do you choose the right translation services?

The search ‘translation services’ produces 433,000,000 results in Google. Plenty of choice, but all translation agencies and their translation services differ from each other. How can you distinguish professional translation agencies from each other when they all claim that they stand for quality? Which translation services are the best match for your company?

You can recognise good translation services by performance in various areas: professional translators, a well-organised translation process, the option to translate all sorts of files while preserving their lay-out, a simple online client portal, the employment of project managers, the level of care that is paid to consistency, handling feedback professionally, demonstrable quality and reliable references. Below are 15 points of attention that will help you find translation services that are a good match for your company.

15 points of attention when choosing translation services

  1. Professional translators

A translation agency may employ its own translators or work with a network of external (freelance) translators. This in itself does not say anything about the quality of the translators. What is important, however, is that the translators meet one of the following requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in translation or linguistic studies.
  • A Bachelor’s degree along with two years of demonstrable full-time experience as a translator.
  • At least five years of full-time experience as a translator.

Employing qualified professionals is the foundation for achieving quality translations.

  1. Employing translators based on specific domain knowledge

It is important that a translation agency assigns jobs to translators based on their specialisation. For example: a legal text is only translated by a translator who has demonstrable experience in the field of law.

  1. Technical analysis of the source text

Prior to the translation job a technical analysis of the source text is carried out by a project manager or translation software. This produces an estimate of the size of the assignment.

  1. Analysis by the project manager

A project manager assesses the content of the text to be translated and any instructions that were provided. The project manager also assesses the achievability of the requested deadline. Based on this, and upon the client’s approval, the translation assignment will be started.

  1. Revision by a translator

After the translation is finished, a second translator (who is also specialised in the domain of the text) is assigned to act as reviser. The reviser checks the translation and makes corrections where necessary.

  1. Final check by the project manager

An automated check is carried out on the translation. In addition, a project manager checks the translation, the layout of the translated document and whether the assignment requirements have been fully met.

  1. Files are delivered with intact layout

A professional translation agency ensures that the layout and code of your files – such as PowerPoint presentations or HTML files – remain intact during translation.

  1. Orders can be placed through a secure online platform

It is wise to choose a translation agency that uses a secure online platform on which you can place your translation order.

  1. The possibility to give feedback

The way in which feedback is handled is a major indicator of the professionalism of a translation agency. A translation rarely meets all wishes in one go. That is why you should be able to give feedback. This can be done by email or telephone, but ideally feedback is gathered and recorded in a database. This way you will not have to send the same feedback over and over again.

  1. A single project manager as your contact point

The ideal translation agency not only employs translators, but also project managers, the go-to persons who look after your order from beginning to end and answer any questions you might have.

  1. Project manager can be reached well

Project managers can be reached well via email and telephone.

  1. Consistency in translations is ensured

A good translation agency sees to it that translations meet the desired level of consistency. This can be done by building a digital database (translation memory) of previous translations.

  1. Professional jargon and company-specific terms are taken into account

It is important to record professional jargon and company-specific terms in a terminology list for translators to use.

  1. Working with translation memories

Consistency is ensured by reusing previously translated texts in translation memories, as indicated in point 12. This will also keep lowering the translation costs – that is, if the translation agency offers discounts on repetitions.

  1. The agency’s translation services meet the international ISO 17100 standard

Last but not least: If you would like more certainty regarding the quality of your translations, it is advisable to check whether the agency’s translation services are certified. The ISO 17100 quality standard describes the requirements that need to be met by a certified translation agency. Every year, certified translation agencies are inspected by independent auditors based on the following points:

  • The translation process
  • The quality of all translations
  • Professional project management
  • Fulfilment of agreements
  • Requirements for translators, revisers, proofreaders and project managers

Have the above 15 points not yet helped you decide on suitable translation services? Feel free to contact us for an obligation-free consultation.

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