Finding a translation provider can be a formidable task.  The language industry is one filled with twists and turns for customers who have never engaged with a Language Service Provider (LSP) before. And with the plethora of potential vendors in the marketplace, searching for a translation company that’s best for you might seem impossible.

Knowing what to look for in a potential language vendor is critical in ensuring your end product lives up to expectations. Thorough vetting and a foundational knowledge of the translation industry will help prospective clients get the most out of their translation experience.

Needs for certain projects will vary – some may require tight turnaround times, others might need to be extremely cost-effective due to financial restraints. But, there is a general set of abilities translation companies should have to ensure they can effectively provide for clients.

Let’s take a look at what you should take into consideration when searching out an LSP. Any translation company worth its salt should be able to provide the following:

#1 – Find Translators that Speak Your Language

Linguists with specific industry knowledge or subject matter expertise will make sure your translations go beyond just deciphering a foreign text. When working in certain industries (healthcare, legal, finance, etc.), translators with specific vertical knowledge make sure technical jargon and phrases are properly accounted for.

Translators who have a strong understanding of the language and industry they work in are less likely to make mistakes. Avoiding errors is your first defense against cutting costs and industry experts make for the best linguists when you need quality translation work.

#2 – Source 21st Century Solutions

LSPs that don’t stay in tune with digital advances in translation industry should be overlooked. Find a translation agency that has machine translation and Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools to make sure your project is a success.

Seek out an agency that has the ability to automate tasks throughout the scope of a project. Preferably, find an LSP that has a reliable, proprietary Translation Management System (TMS) that makes project submission, reports and tracking easy.

#3 – Build Strong Glossaries + Translation Memories

A translation memory and glossary will help you save money and expedite the translation process. Utilizing these tools adds quality and consistency to the project process as terms and phrases won’t be translated more than once.

Ask a potential vendor about their translation memory and glossary capabilities and what discounts these tools can bring.

#4 – Seek Certified Quality Systems

Translation companies that have taken the time to become certified to international quality standards should stand out to potential clients. Ask LSPs about their quality management processes and obtain documentation of the procedures they have in place to ensure accuracy.

If an LSP is certified to an international standard, like ISO, ask what company carried out their certification and when their last audit took place. Look for translation companies that are certified to any of the following ISO standards:  9001:2008; 13485:2003; 27001:2013 or 17100:2015. All of these have relevance in the translation industry, especially 17100, a standard specifically relating to translation, and 27001, which deals with strong information technology security.

#5 – Make Sure Your Needs Are Met

No translation project is the same. Make sure you work with a translation company that can accommodate requests that are specific to your needs. This might entail utilizing an existing translation memory, or using machine translation methods to help speed up the process if you’re working within tight deadlines.

Ask LSPs what kind of experience they’ve had in the vertical you work in and inquire about specific processes they’ve used to conquer similar projects. An effective translation company realizes there is no one-size-fits all method and will work to provide malleable solutions.

Finding a Dedicated Partner

Translation is a $40 billion industry, but in many ways it’s still a niche endeavor. Navigating the language world’s ever-changing technologies and regulations is difficult for newcomers, and finding a dedicated translation partner will help make your translation experience successful.

United Language Group provides all of the above capabilities to our clients. We are dedicated to work as hard as we can in order for your project to exceed expectations and industry standards.

In the more than 35 years we’ve been in the business, we have forged strong relationships with clients and proven ourselves as leaders in the translation world. Contact us today to see how ULG can cater to your specific language needs.

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Consulting Strategy

Jake Schild

Jake Schild

A former newspaper reporter and native Minnesotan, Jake Schild is a staff writer in the marketing department at ULG.

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