How to Make an Educated Decision on Language Services Providers

how to choose Language Services Providers

What do you look for in a new language services provider? Do you focus on the price or testimonials? The services or specialized industries?

Often when companies are figuring out their next move with a translation agency, there can be any number of “cooks in the kitchen” who aim to make the best possible choice. At the end of the day, however, the selection process can be less than ideal for decision-makers. While well-intentioned, these committees can often tend to focus on only specific things when evaluating a new LSP, such as their website, pricing, and certifications, leaving the idea of high-quality and top-notch service at the door.

Without the right knowledge and insight, choosing the right language services provider can feel like a shot in the dark. No matter if your organization is just beginning to shift into a multilingual presence or are deciding to switch to a new translation agency, it’s always critical to keep some considerations in mind.

9 Questions to Ask Your Translation Agency

When you have the right questions in mind when evaluating a new language services provider, you’ll have the information you need to make the most informed decision. Do your top choices have what it takes to support your translation needs with accuracy, skill, and timeliness? Here are a few key questions to ask that’ll ensure you make the most educated decision when it comes to a new translation agency.

1. Who will be working on my project needs? 

Having an understanding of the type of team or translator that will be working directly on your translations is severely understated. Will you be assigned a random translator for each project, or a dedicated team that’ll be with you for each step and every request? Knowing this up-front will allow you to better realize if the agency can meet your needs or not.

2. How much will all of this cost? 

Pricing is by far the most highly considered factor for most companies looking into a translation agency. One thing that’s overlooked? Asking about hidden fees, extra costs, and any other fine-print related pricing for basic services. Making sure that your language services provider is fully transparent about the TRUE cost of translations (not just the price per word) is an absolute must before any decisions are made.

3. What is the quality assurance process? 

For every translation project, there is a need to double and triple-check the work being produced. After all, in a sensitive field such as translation, any small errors can mean the potential for disaster. Before making the verdict on your go-to translation agency, you should always ask about the level of quality supervision to find out how many rounds of review and how many language professionals are involved.

4. Is there an added charge for translated content that’s repeated? 

In many instances, companies will need the same text translated several times. If this sounds like what your translation requests will be, consider if the volume of your projects will eventually lead to a price reduction. Are discounts awarded after multiple requests with repeated content? Does the agency enlist a Translation Memory (TM) system to maintain a database of your most translated words, and build glossaries and style guides to keep key terms and style consistent? are any of these services included as part of the original agreed upon price or charged as extras? These are all critical questions to keep in mind.

5. Who is producing the actual translation? 

While you may know the type of team that’s assembled to work on your project, who is actually doing the translating? If you find that the translation agency’s price per word is very low, it’s important to consider the assigned translator on your request. For instance, are they getting paid fairly if the cost is so cheap? Are their skills up to par to really reach a global audience?

6. How are support, account, and project requests handled? 

Having access to support from your language services provider is more important than you might first think; when any issues arrive, they need to be handled swiftly and appropriately. But, what about with smaller requests, such as changing up the text in a paragraph? Before finalizing your translation agency, be sure to see if there’s a ticketing system in place that’ll allow you to get help as soon as possible.

7. Are the translations culturally accurate?

If the translators at the agency you’re considering can’t accurately write for a region’s cultural nuances, they shouldn’t be assigned to your translation project. The cultural accuracy of your translations can make or break your customer-facing reputation, and should always be a top consideration when looking at a new language services provider.

8. Are machine translations overseen by a human expert? 

For high-volume translation projects, sometimes the use of machine translation tools can’t be ignored. It’s critical to know, however, if those machine translations are reviewed, finalized, and approved by a real, live language specialist who is paid fairly for their time and expertise. What is the division of labor between the machine and human translation? If it’s not fair to the translator involved, it may be best to look elsewhere for a translation agency.

9. How do you provide the best value for translations? 

The best translators in the entire industry tend to go where they’ll be paid accordingly for their language expertise, quality, and style. Who provides the best quality-to-cost ratio while affording the most skilled translators? The cheapest options are guaranteed to have the lowest-quality translation work, while agencies who focus more on quality and value of translations are surer to help you succeed.

The cost, value, and quality of language services are key for any organization. Armed with the right questions, you can better ensure that the translation services you receive are of the highest quality and caliber, produced by the most skilled translation experts.

Ready to ask us where the Language Department stands on these questions? Get in touch with our leadership team!

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