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By OXO Innovation
December 6, 2023

8 Questions to Help You Choose The Best Translation Company

Selecting a translation company to work with can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t have a firm grasp of the language(s) you’re translating into. A high-quality translation is paramount to engaging foreign customers and maintaining your company’s brand image. You don’t want to feel like you’re acting on blind faith. So how can you be sure that the partner you choose will deliver good work? Here are the top questions to ask and criteria to look out for when seeking the best translation company for your business.

1. Who Are The Company’s Clients?

Have they worked with companies in a similar field and with similar linguistic needs to yours? This is important because a translation company that mainly does French marketing translation, for example, might not be the best choice for your Chinese software localization. Ask for a couple letters of recommendation or references that you can contact. If they can’t provide strong testimonials from past clients, that’s a huge red flag when looking for the best translation company.

2.Who Are Their Linguists?

Are all their translators native speakers of the target language? What background/training do their translators have and—most importantly—do they specialize in your domain? You can even ask the prospect translation company to see blind CVs of the people who would be working on your account.

3. How Do They Manage Terminology?

If you have any sort of volume to translate, you’ll want to work with a company that can create custom glossaries, term bases, translation memories, and style guides or one that can use the assets that you already have. This is crucial for maintaining a consistent style and vocabulary. Plus, even if these assets are created by the translation company you choose, they still belong to your company—you should be able to review them any time you want. Do not forget to add an intellectual property clause to your service level agreement stating that you own the assets that you paid for. You should also make sure that there is a strong channel of communication between your company and your service provider of choice. That way, if either one of you has a question or concern about terminology it can be cleared up quickly and effectively.

4. What Is Their Quality Assurance (QA) Process?

There should be at least two steps in the process: first the translation and then a revision step performed by a second linguist. Even great translators can make mistakes, so having a second pair of eyes to catch the odd typo, mistranslated term or awkward phrasing can go a long way to ensuring professional-quality content. If your text undergoes any further formatting after that, such as desktop publishing, the final laid-out version should also be proofread.

5. What If You Find A Mistake in The Translation?

Like we said, mistakes happen. Let’s say the translation is completed and has been published to your website. Then, a native speaker who works at your company notices an issue. The best translation companies will be willing to work with you to quickly correct the mistake, find the source of the issue, and/or explain why the translation is in fact not incorrect (there might be some nuance your colleague missed or perhaps it’s simply a matter of preference). Assuming this doesn’t take hours of work, it should all be done free of charge. What you don’t want is a translation company that brushes you off and refuses to explain their linguistic choices to you.

6. How Do They Maintain Security of Your Data?

When choosing a translation company, it’s imperative to prioritize the confidentiality of your documents. Begin by examining their approach to data security and confidentiality protocols. Ensure they have robust measures in place, such as encryption for data both in transit and at rest. Additionally, understand the translation company’s procedures for handling Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and the steps taken to secure confidential content throughout the translation process. By placing a strong emphasis on document confidentiality, you can forge a trusting partnership with a company that prioritizes the security of your sensitive information.

7. What Technologies Are They Using?

While managing projects, translation companies often leverage Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools and Translation Management Systems (TMS). CAT Tools, such as Memsource or MemoQ, assist humans by storing and managing translation segments, ensuring consistency across projects, and enhancing overall efficiency. TMS platforms, like Plunet, provide a centralized hub for project management, allowing for streamlined collaboration among translators, project managers, and clients. By incorporating these technologies, the service providers can optimize the translation process, improve language consistency and facilitate seamless communication throughout the project lifecycle.

8. Will You Have Support from A Direct Point of Contact?

Another important part of choosing a translation company is ensuring the availability of dedicated points of contact. It is advisable to select a company that offers a dedicated Account Manager (AM), Project Manager (PM) and a Client Language Expert (CLE). A dedicated AM, or Client Experience Manager, will make sure that your needs in terms of technology, language scope, budget and more are being consistently met and communicated to their entire team. By having a designated PM overseeing the project, you can expect that your project deliverables and turnaround times are always respected. Finally, a CLE or Language Lead, will focus on understanding and applying your unique language requirements to the translated content, enhancing the overall collaboration with the chosen company.

Don’t Be Shy, Talk to Us!

It might feel like a lot to ask, but it’s your peace of mind and your company’s reputation that are at stake. A high-quality, client-oriented translation company will be more than happy to fill you in on their process. Just ask OXO’s sales team at montreal@oxoinnovation.com. We’ll be glad to assist you throughout your globalization journey!

This article was originally published on December 2016, and updated in December 2023.

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