4 things to consider when you’re looking for a translation agency

looking for a translation agency

4 things to consider when you’re looking for a translation agency

You’ve spent ages writing content for your website, book, manual or brochure and you’re looking for a translation agency as now it’s time to find the right agency to translate your words into the languages you want. Where do you start and how do you choose the right one for you? Here’s our guide to finding your go-to translation agency.

DIY

Some companies like to go down the do-it-yourself route and source their own translators to cut out the middleman. Others prefer to save themselves precious time by letting translation agencies do the hard work for them. What’s so hard about sourcing freelance translators yourself? If the freelancers you find are replying to your emails in poor English then you have to worry about what they’re going to make of your technical instruction manual. Then you have to think about checking their credentials: any previous work experience that they specialise in as a translator, clients, education, how long have they been working as a translator, feedback from previous clients etc.
You also have to think about fraud. Unfortunately a lot of translators have their profiles stolen and used by fraudsters to get work: you contact them using their “new” email address and assign a job to them but what you get is a machine translation. You won’t realise until someone who speaks the language points it out to you and by that time you will already have paid the “translator” who will have moved onto another profile. Save yourself the headache and work with a translation agency instead. Translation agencies spend years working with the same translators and have lots of experience vetting new translators in the field so you can count on an accurate translation.

Customer service

Now you’ve gone down the translation agency route, it’s time to contact a few and see which agency suits you best. Some have chatbots to give you a quick quote online and others ask you to email them with your project. You’ve spent a long time working on your assignment and you want a translation agency who will put the same care and attention into working on it for you. A good translation agency will give you a quote based on the word count and, if there are a lot of repetitions, they will give you a discount for them. They will also respond to you promptly in your own language and answer any questions or concerns you may have about the text. They will check through your text and, once you give them the go ahead, assign it to the right translator for the job. For example, a good agency wouldn’t dream of giving a highly technical text to a translator that specialises in marketing just like a good translator wouldn’t dream of accepting a project that was out of their comfort zone. It just isn’t worth the stress for any party.

Cost

As we mentioned previously, you may be offered a discount for repeat words or even for very large jobs. That said, good translation doesn’t come cheap. Translation is more than just being able to speak the language; you need in-depth knowledge of the source language and native fluency in the target language. It’s a real skill that takes years to hone. If the quote you receive sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You may well have stumbled upon one of the many agencies out there who will take your project and use AI to translate it, meaning it’s free for them so they can offer you a cut price! Human translation doesn’t have to cost the earth though: at Active Languages, our prices start at £25 +VAT for under 300 words or £100 +VAT per 1000 words.

Time

Time is money as the saying goes, but translation isn’t necessarily something you can rush. A good translator can produce anything between 2.000 and 5.000 words a day depending on complexity and availability. They then need to proofread it all to check for any grammar errors, spelling mistakes or any terms that are out of context. There may be questions for you to answer if there’s a term that’s too vague or they may ask for photos of the product/process to ensure they use the right term in their language. A 300 word document can be turned around in a single day whereas a 40,000 word project can take a month to complete. If the agency you’ve chosen is offering a very quick turnaround, just make sure that they are using human translators. Don’t be disheartened if they say it may take longer than you expected; some translations require additional research, literature translations are especially time-consuming since the translator essentially has to rewrite the story in their language plus you have to allow for the fact that specialist translators (engineering, technical, scientific, legal) often have full workloads so their availability is more limited. It will be worth the wait though.

You’re looking for a translation agency?
Contact Active Languages for a friendly and professional translation service. We have been working with our translators for as much as 15 years, we know their strengths and who is the best person to assign to your project. We are honest about how long a translation takes to complete and always charge a fair rate for our service. If you have a project that you’d like a quote for, please contact us and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

 

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