When you are looking for reliable translation services for your business, there are many elements that you need to consider. You want to negotiate the best possible price combined with high-quality translation and stellar customer service, which is not an easy job. In addition to that, there are quite a lot of translation providers on the market that you can choose from. So, how do you pick between providers? Here are a few tips that can help you take an informed decision.

Five Factors that Separate Language Service Providers

There are several criteria that characterize a good language service provider (LSP). Below are five important factors that you need to consider in your selection process.

  1. Communication

Communication is an important element of a good translation process. One element includes getting an instant quote about the job that you need done. Another very important factor is to have a single point of contact or a project manager responsible for your translation. Do they understand your project? Do they customize the process based on your needs? Will they be available to discuss issues throughout the entire process? You should be able to reach that person by phone or e-mail anytime you need.

  1. Translators

No doubt highly professional and experienced translators are an important asset of an LSP. Not only to have native speakers, but also people who are trained in the profession and can be relied upon to perform high-quality translations within a given deadline. The best LSPs offer experts who have specialization in the specific field or industry of your project and have an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

If you are planning to translate your documentation into several languages, it is a better idea to opt for a professional LSP, rather than hiring several freelance translators. Working with one vendor will make the whole process less complicated and most of the time more affordable.

  1. Quality

At the end of the day, you are looking for quality translation for your documentation, website or a company training course. A company that has invested in quality assurance programs is naturally a good choice. Another good sign is if the LSP is certified as this is a recognition of the high level of service it provides. A low quality translation that misses the mark will immediately put your company’s reputation at risk.

  1. Testimonials

Word of mouth is one of the best influencers and can be quite helpful in choosing a vendor. Customer testimonials can be very useful but don’t rely only on what you can find on the company’s website. Ask for references from customers, which have completed projects in your subject matter or sphere. You can also check about the opinion shared about a given vendor on social media both by customers and employees. Another trick is to approach companies from your industry and ask them for their experience with translation.

  1. Price

Price is an important indicator that can help you recognize a good service. The saying, “you get what you pay for” is absolutely valid here. If you receive a quote that is too low, you shall expect the service and quality to reflect, so be careful if it seems like too good of a deal.

How to Ensure Efficiency

While the above list can help you recognize which vendor qualifies as a good LSP, there are also several steps that you need to complete as a client to ensure the efficient flow of the process.

  • Choose the right provider

When it comes to translation services there are several options that you can choose from – from qualified freelance translators to professional agencies offering multiple languages and additional services. As a business customer you definitely need expert human translation but depending on the amount of work you have, you need to determine the right vendor for you.

  • Map your translation process

The translation process usually involves three main steps – translation, editing, and final review, however many companies have a more elaborate process they follow. You, as a customer, have to decide what is the minimum number of elements that your translation process needs to involve. If you have mapped it in advance, you can easily negotiate it with the vendor you have chosen.

  • Make a shortlist of candidates

Once you have decided on the type of LSP you need, make a list of the candidates who meet your requirements following the criteria from the above.

  • Ask for a test translation

In order to facilitate your choice, you can ask the potential candidates for a test translation. Make sure to send a short but representative document accompanied with guidelines including specific abbreviations or company jargon. Be ready to pay for this, as not all agencies will agree to a free test translation.

  • Consider the non-linguistic assets of the language service provider

Some of the most important factors, beside the linguistic competence of the translators, are not related to language expertise. Being responsive, transparent, and agile are all important criteria for choosing a vendor. Showing attention to detail is also an excellent asset. Last but not least, being technologically-savvy is a must for a good LSP.

  • Provide company jargon and brand-related style directions

If you want your document properly translated and localized, make sure to provide the LSP with a list of all specific abbreviations and acronyms or company jargon that you use. You can add some brand-specific terminology or other elements that need special attention, such as the decimal points or pricing information. If you already have some translated materials related to the topic, that you have approved and you are using, make sure to provide them to them as well. A bonus for any translator will be to receive a glossary of the most common terms, if you have any. This will guarantee consistency of all your translations.

  • Keep your communication channels open

We have mentioned that communication is one of the qualities we are looking for in a good LSP. The same is valid for you as a customer – keep your communication channels open and be ready to answer any questions that come from the vendor on a timely manner. This will ensure the entire process will run smoothly.

  • Make a long-term commitment

Once you have found your translation partner, it is advisable to make a long-term commitment. This will be beneficial to you in several ways. First, you ensure consistency of your translations. Second, you will save money over time when an LSP can compile a translation memory (TM) specifically for your projects. Third, you may renegotiate the price and get a discount for being a long-term customer.

Choosing the best language service provider who shares your company values and won’t discredit your brand is of very important for the success of your translation project. Stick to the tips above and choosing an LSP will be much easier and more successful.

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