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How to Choose The Right Translation Agency? - Part 1

Whether entering onto global markets or expanding your business locally, it is important to communicate with your partners and customers in a language they understand. Translation plays a key role in this process, and a reliable translation partner can help you take your business in the right direction. The question is: How do you find the right partner? 




The easiest and most reliable way, of course, is through word-of-mouth recommendation. You will save time and money if someone can directly recommend you a translation partner with whom he has had a good experience; one who is trusted and who suits your needs.


However, what do you do if you do not have any recommendations and you need to choose from thousands of translation service providers out there?


We have prepared a list with five areas of consideration that will help you to determine which translation agency could best suit your specific situation and provide you with the most value.




Once you have pre-selected the four or five translation agencies you like best, write each of them a short e-mail inquiring about their services and see how they reply.


There are some key factors to consider:


  • Reply time. Observe how quickly they reply to your e-mail and whether they keep this communication speed consistent. You should be fairly pleased with a reply within 10-30 minutes, but keep in mind the differences in working hours when contacting agencies in other time zones.
  • Comprehensibility. A good reply should answer what was asked and demonstrate competence. It should also avoid industry-specific jargon, or at least explain any specific terms in an easy-to-understand way. While the person communicating with you might not necessarily be a linguist, you should still expect a response without typos and free of grammatical, stylistic or other obvious mistakes.
  • Understanding your needs. If the translation agency tries to gain a deeper understanding of what you require and what you expect, it indicates that it cares about delivering good quality work and it focuses on each client individually.  
  • Attitude. A clear and concise approach to communication indicates that the company means business. Such an attitude is very productive and it helps to save time (who wants to read long e-mails?) and minimise the risk of anything being misunderstood. Having said that, the tone of communication is also important. If it is polite and positive, the cooperation overall will be a more pleasant experience.



Best way to get an impression about how the translation agency works is to write a short e-mail to that agency outlining your needs. Key factors to observe:


  • How quickly you get a reply (10-30 min. is a good indicator). Are the reply times consistent?
  • What is the quality of the reply (no jargon, no spelling errors, etc.)?
  • Are you being asked the right questions?
  • Does the agency try to understand your individual needs?
  • What is the agency’s attitude towards a potential new client (polite, practical)?

The next part of the article will describe what to consider with regards to pricing and references, while the third part will follow up on security and technology measures.