Choosing A Translation Supplier – 6 key factors to consider.

Choosing a translation supplier? What do you need to look for?

For businesses that deal in International markets or have a multi-lingual workforce for example, having a reliable and cost-effective Translation supplier is vital.

The translation market is a very competitive one and new companies pop up all the time.

So, how do you choose the right language provider for your business, especially when many companies do not meet the quality requirements needed to provide accurate and reliable translations?

This article has been designed to help you ask the right questions and understand what a potential translation partner can offer you. It has been broken down into 6 key factors to consider.


Understand your business requirements and translation need

The first step to choosing a translation service provider is to determine the needs of your business. There is a wide variety of professional translation services including Certified Translations, Legal Translations, Voiceover, Subtitling, Website localisation and more.  Knowing what you require can often allow for a more specific search of partners.

The most important things to determine are the language/s you require translating from and into, the target audience (specific destination or country), the timescale for the project and the final format of the translation.

When a professional translation supplier understands the requirements of your project, they should be better equipped to deliver a translation that is fit for purpose and on time.


Identify your target audience / market

When looking for a professional translation service, you first need to identify who your target audience is.  Who will read the final translation?  Who is it intended for?  The service required for an internal translation is different to a critical user manual and the cost will vary too.

The target audience may be different depending on the location or region, for example different countries have different cultures and nuances, even if they speak the same language. This can often have a large impact on the type of words and phrases that are used.  A reliable translation supplier will be able to advise and localise the final content according to the target audience.



The cost of translation services differs significantly from one supplier to another and as a business, costs are hugely important.

Thanks to Computer Aided Translation Tools and machine learning technologies, the translation industry now has access to technology that can speed up the translation process and also reduce the translation cost.  When choosing a supplier it is worth checking if they have the technology and systems in place to cater for large volume projects.

When choosing a translation agency, especially in the UK, make sure to ask not only for a rate per word but also if there is scope for a volume discount.  Cost has to always be balanced with the competence of the agency, cheapest doesn’t always mean the best!

The Timescale that you have for the project will also have a large impact on the cost of the translation service.  If you have a shorter deadline then a translation company will usually apply an urgency fee as they will need to prioritise and potentially add more staff to work on the project.


Professional Translators

When choosing a professional translation agency or choosing a translation supplier, they should only be using professional native speakers of the target language.  This ensures that the quality of the translation remains high and local terminology, idioms, consumer mindset and cultural sensitivities remain relevant.

To ensure the best quality translations, ask the translation agency to provide the CVs of the resources and linguists being used on your project to ensure only Native speaking professional translators are used.  Most good agencies will require any linguist to have a Translation degree and at least 3-5 years professional experience as a translator.


Technical Industry Specific Translations

A high percentage of translations are in industries that require specialist knowledge, e.g. medical, legal and financial translations. A translator will have a few areas that they have this specialist knowledge and a good translation partner should also ensure that they have the specialist knowledge required to carry out the project accurately.

When choosing a translation partner, look for companies that provide specialist translations in your industry and can back this up with translator CVs or previous client references.

Recommendations and Online reviews are always a great place to start!


Availability and Response Times

When you need to have that document translated at the last minute before an important meeting, you need a supplier to be responsive and on the ball, back with a reply to your enquiry within minutes.

There is nothing worse than being left at the bottom of a seemingly endless queue of emails waiting to be heard.  Ensure that your translation supplier replies quickly and always ask to see if you will be assigned one point of contact such as an account manager to deal with your requests.  This can make life much easier and helps build an on-going working relationship.