Choosing a Quality Translation Agency

Getting the best bang for your buck

Are you looking to earn some extra money on the side? Why not open a translation agency? Don’t speak Spanish? It doesn’t matter! Get some translation software for your computer, print up business cards that say “Translation Agency,” and you’re good to go!

Sound dubious? Well, it may surprise you that that is how many current translation agencies open and operate.

That’s because anyone can open a translation agency. Unlike other professions, there are no licensing or certification processes that regulate translators or their claims.

Therefore, it’s obvious that before you hire a translation agency to translate your documents, you need to make sure that you’re hiring a qualified and true professional.

Here are some questions you should ask before hiring a professional translator:

1. What methods do you use to translate documents?

Don’t choose a translation agency that relies mainly on translation software or that uses untrained or unqualified employees to translate or verify translated materials.  Ask what process the agency or individual uses to translate and proofread their documents. It’s preferable, although not always essential, that the agency employs qualified and experienced bilingual and bicultural translators.

2.  What are your qualifications?

Ask if the translator has any relevant certifications, education, or is a member of a translation association. While these qualifications are commendable, they aren’t  always indications of quality.  A better indicator of quality often is the translator’s experience and client track record. If the information you want translated is technical or specific in nature, ask the translator what makes he/she feel qualified to translate the material. If a material is above the translator’s ability, an honest translator should tell you so, and should refer you to someone who can help you.

3. Do you have any testimonials, recommendations, or samples of your work that I can see?

Avoid agencies that won’t (or can’t) provide you with any recommendations. If you are supplied with a sample of the agency’s work, or choose to pay for a sample translation, ask another qualified professional or a native speaker of the language to check the translation for accuracy.

4 . Can you give me an estimate or a quote?

An agency should provide you with a free estimate or quote before agreeing to translate documents for you. The price per word and minimum fee per page will vary according to document length, difficulty, and project deadline. Make sure to get several quotes from different companies before deciding on a specific agency. Stay away from a quote that seems too low in comparison to other companies. Remember, you get what you pay for!

5. Also, a qualified translation agency should:

  • Discuss with you your target audience and the goal you wish to accomplish.
  • Ask for clarification of complex terms or concepts, or additional material to acquire the proper context of the information.
  • Provide a contract detailing the project deadline, format delivery, (e.g.: e-mail, fax, mail), terms of payment, and how they’ll handle any complaints should you not be happy with the quality of their work.

Choosing a quality translation agency is merely one component of a solid Hispanic outreach and marketing plan. Contact us for more information and for your document translation needs!