When you need to translate important documents for business, marketing, legal or personal reasons, it’s important to choose a professional translation service that you can trust. But with so many options available, how do you know which service is the right one for you? Here are 8 things to consider when choosing a professional translation service.
1. The Turnaround Time They Promise
When you need a translation, you need it yesterday. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Quality translations take time, and even the best translation services can’t turn them around overnight. It’s important to find a service with a turnaround time that works for you. When looking for fast translation services, you obviously want it to be done quickly and efficiently, but without compromising the quality of the text. Consider the volume of what needs to be translated, and how much time it took for it to be written once the general outlines were put in place. An efficient translator should be able to do it in about half the time it took to write it in the first place. While some may be able to do it even faster than that, make sure that their estimated time is realistic. If the TAT seems too good to be true, it could be that they won’t pay it as much attention as you would like.
2. The Language Pairs They Work In
Make sure the service you’re considering offers translations into the languages you need. Whether you want to create a multilingual website, market to a new audience, or just need to translate a document for personal reasons, the translation service you choose should be able to help. Being proficient in two languages is no small matter on its own, of course. That said, if you need your text translated into more than one language, it might be a good idea to work with a translator that can accommodate that. However, if you’re having a hard time finding a translator that’s equally skilled in all the languages you need, it’s always better to hire multiple translators that are each well-versed in their primary languages pairs and have them work together on the project than to have a sub-par translation in one of the languages.
3. The Range Of Services They Offer
Some translators only offer written translations, while others also offer a variety of other services, such as interpretation, localization, proofreading, and editing. If you need more than just a translation, it’s important to find a service that offers all the services you need. If they offer editing services as well, you want to ask what kind of editing they do. Is it content editing or is it just grammar and spelling check? Is this service included in the price, or do they charge extra for it? You also want to make sure that the translation service you choose has a good quality control process in place. Any errors that slip through can be costly, both monetarily and reputationally.
4. The Quality Of Their Translations
Not all translation services are created equal, and not all of them will give you a quality translation. Some services boast about their translations being strictly “human translated,” which supposedly makes them more accurate than those done by computers. However, this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of programs and other tech tools nowadays that can help translators be more accurate and faster in their work. Some translation services also outsource their work to other countries, which can sometimes lead to quality control issues. Make sure to ask the service you’re considering how they ensure the quality of their translations. Do they have a team of editors who check for errors? Do they only use high-quality resources? How often do they update their glossaries and vocabularies? Ask for samples of their work to get a better idea of the quality.
5. The Price They Charge
Price is always an important consideration, especially when it comes to something as important as a translation. However, it’s not always the best idea to go with the cheapest service you can find. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Make sure to ask the translation service how they calculate their prices. Do they charge by the word, the line, the page, or the hour? Some services also offer bulk discounts, so it’s important to ask about that as well. You also want to find out if there are any hidden fees. For example, some services might charge an extra fee for rush jobs or for providing source files. If you’re not sure about the price, ask for a quote from multiple translators and compare their offers.
6. Their Experience And Qualifications
Ask the translator how long they’ve been translating and what their specialties are. You also want to make sure that they have a good understanding of the language pair(s) they’re translating from and to. Some translators only specialize in a certain field or industry, such as legal translations or medical translations, while others focus on more creative projects. It’s important to find a translator who has experience translating in the specific field you need. If the translator doesn’t have vast experience in what they do, they should at least have formal qualifications to do the job. Ask to see their credentials, such as their degree or certification in translation.
7. Their Customer Service Standards
This is another important factor to consider. How easy is it to communicate with the translator? Are they responsive and helpful? Do they take their time in responding to your queries, or do they reply within minutes (or even hours)? They should be patient and polite, even when dealing with difficult clients. During the interview process, you’ll want to ask them about the most difficult client they’ve ever worked with, and how they handled the situation. You can learn a lot from how they talk about the person in question. Are they demeaning or defensive? Or do they keep things professional, and explain what they did to try and rectify the situation?
8. Whether They Are Certified By Industry Bodies
Some translation services are certified by industry bodies, such as the ATA (American Translators Association) or the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting). This means that their translations have been assessed and approved by a third party. It’s a good indication that the service is professional and trustworthy. You can ask the translator if they are certified by any industry bodies, and if they aren’t, find out why. There might be a good reason for it, such as the fact that they’re new to the industry, or that they feel that their portfolio is good enough proof of their expertise. However, if the translator can’t provide a good explanation, it’s probably best to steer clear.
Having something translated in a professional manner is important for a number of reasons. It can help your business appear more credible to potential customers, and it can also help you communicate with foreign clients or partners. Choosing a professional translation service can be tricky, but if you keep the eight points above in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect one for your needs.