What to consider and how to choose a translation agency?

How to choose a translation agency? it can be stressful to find the right provider. Nowadays, the world of translation is full of agencies offering services at a wide spectrum of financial rates rates.

You must consider many factors when choosing your language provider but most importantly you need to bear in mind that looks can be deceiving online.

It’s fairly easy to create a basic translation agency these days; a good looking website, social media presence, a secretary picking up the phone.

But what makes the difference? 


Is the bigger LSP (language service provider) better than the smaller agency? What factors should we consider when we choose a translation agency?

You often get what you pay for

If you try to save money choosing a cheaper agency, you often lose in terms of quality. Generally the fist thing to be cut back in order to provide those cheaper rates would be the QA process and that is really going to effect your end result.

Many agencies decrease their prices in order to be chosen especially when it comes to the very first project. This can be OK in order to build a lasting partnership but quality shouldn’t be compromised as your translation is your door to a foreign market and a reflection of your company, so you need to ensure that all future translations will follow a strict QA process with native proof reading.

Freelance translators vs translation agencies

The other option when considering how to choose a translation agency is of course not to! You might be tempted to employ freelance translators benefiting from their experience and knowledge. For smaller ad-hock translations this can work however when dealing with a multilingual project and dealing with more than a translator this may be stressful and time-consuming to manage for yourself. For this purpose, you can trust the translation agencies which provide a large number of translators able to cover all the language combinations and a wide range of professional domains. The agency will manage the job, avoiding delays and you can take care of the other important aspects of your business. Do you want to spend the time at the end of the project piecing all of the files together?

An agency can handle bigger jobs taking advantage of different professional translators even splitting large projects into different parts assigning them to different translators if there are urgent time pressures. They will always try and assign a project to the same translator where possible to avoid potential style issues which would need to be addressed at a later stage as part of the QA process.

Be wary of “full service” translators

A professional translator is specialised in a particular domain so he/she is generally able to translate only a few kinds of specialist texts. There are some very skilled translators who are genuinely bilingual, however outside of this small group translators should only translate into their native language. If this is not adhered to you may find that texts are not fluid in their language and are obviously translated rather than read naturally as you would expect.

Avoid do-it-yourself

This includes relatives, friends, colleagues and people with experiences abroad or basic linguistic skills. This will waste a lot of your time and result in poor quality translations. Only use a professional translator, only a professional has the language and written skills to produce quality final documents to help your company present a professional image.

What about Machine translation?

Machine translation or Google Translate seem very tempting and for certain small simple sentences can produce satisfactory results. However, an automatic translation service doesn’t recognize context or style leading to many mis-translations. We touch on the use of Google translate in the translation industry in this blog post.


Assicurarsi che girino (concerning wheels) Make sure that tadpole(tadpole=larva di rana) It’s highly inacurate to translate  “girino” (verbo girare) with “girino” (larva di rana)
RS Systems LTD RS Sistemi Ltd The name of a company MUST NOT to be translated

Nevertheless, CAT (Computer-assisted translation) tools are frequently used by translators because assist in reducing a translations’ time without compromising quality. They create what is called a translation memory: every time the software meets terms already translated, it proposes the same translation. They are very useful for technical texts based on specific terminology. Additionally, in the long term, the client can benefit from a discount for repetitions in a translation.

A Translators’ general requirements

A good translator must be a native speaker of target text language as well as:

  • He/She must be specialised in the text’s subject matter
  • He/She must have the knowledge, experience and IT skills (such as use of a specific CAT Tool) necessary for the translation.

Additional services

An excellent translation is the most important end result but there are other things that should be addressed on the path to delivering the translation. A fact of life is that delays happen and occasionally a misunderstanding may happen, resulting in an un-perfect translation. A good translation agency should be continually checking on-going projects to ensure they fit the brief and inform the client about any potential delays at the earliest opportunity.

Get a test!

When you believe you have chosen the right agency, don’t be afraid to ask for a test to check the style quality. If you like it then, again don’t be afraid to ask for that specific translator to work on your projects. Most agencies will try to facilitate this where possible.

Be part of the project

Instead of waiting to judge the end result, you can impose your preferences and style to the agency from the outset.  As an example, you can ask the agency to provide a glossary to verify the terminology before a translation or words/phrases to avoid.

About References

Each translator and agency must provide references on request. This way you can be sure that other people have been satisfied with their performance.

Hopefully some of the points above will help you when you are considering how to choose a translation agency, we would always encourage you to look for a long term partner who can become familiar with your individual needs.

 Why choose TranslationsInLondon Ltd?

  • We use professional native speaking translators in the specified target language.
  • We have translators with in-depth industry knowledge in many fields such as FashionPatents and SEO 
  • Every translation is double-checked through a second proofreader.
  • Prompt deliveries are assured and if necessary we are able to deliver work in batches.
  • We maintain ongoing conversation with our translators to inform us about a project’s progress.
  • We guarantee your privacy and adhere to any Non-disclosure agreements without exception.
  • You can contact us 24/7 via almost all methods including email, phone and skype.


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