How can you tell upfront if a translation provider will be reliable?
If you’ve used translation providers in the past, you might have had some less-than-great experiences. It’s not uncommon for companies in your position to be very wary when looking for a new translation provider, which is understandable.
Translation at scale can be complex — as complex as any other large business process in an international company. There are many moving parts, multiple contributors, and various interdependent systems on the back end that are required to make the translation project run smoothly.
When you’re looking for a new translation provider, you need to find one that is well matched to your size and stage of business. One that can take a lot of that complexity off your plate.
You need to know that you can trust the provider upfront.
This is not easy to do.
How can you tell if a translation provider will be reliable?
What signs should you look out for?
How companies often source translation providers
Many companies source translations as if they were a simple add-on cost.
As a result, they often fall into the trap of only looking at metrics like price-per-word when comparing providers. They go for the cheapest translation provider they can find that gives them a good proposal.
While this approach might feel like it makes sense in the short term, it can lead to problems down the road. Some companies end up with huge product delays while they wait for late translations, impacting sales and their competitive position.
This can happen for various reasons. Sometimes, poor service happens because the provider is just too small to be able to deliver on the scale of their projects. Other times, the provider uses convoluted translation sourcing practices that lose their agility and negatively impact the quality of translations.
Either way, the company ends up getting a bad deal.
A better way to compare translation providers
You will have more success when looking for a translation provider if you start by identifying the qualities that are most important for you and your business.
Such qualities include engineering expertise, a focus on your global strategy, and transparent sourcing of translations.
All of these qualities – and more – can be signs of a reliable translation provider. Some will be more important to you and your business while others will be less relevant.
2 reliable marks of a trustworthy provider
Various qualities might indicate that a translation provider will be a good match for you. Only you will know which qualities are the most important for your project.
However, some markers are an almost universal indicator that a provider will be reliable.
Here are two reliable markers that a provider is trustworthy:
1. Longevity of clients
When you choose to work with a particular translation provider, you are giving them a huge amount of trust. If you think about it, you are entrusting them with your global brand. The translations they produce will help to determine what the customers, employees, and partners in your international markets think of your business.
A good mark of a trustworthy provider is one that has long-running relationships with their existing clients.
If another business of a similar size to you has entrusted their global brand to the supplier for many years, it’s a good sign that they will be able to deliver on their promises to you.
2. Longevity of translators
It’s not just the provider’s clients that you should pay attention to. The relationships that they have with their translators is just as important.
When you are working with a provider for a long time, it helps to have consistent translators. The translator’s understanding of your business grows over time so they become more able to produce quality translations that suit your needs.
It is often difficult to find providers that keep the same translators for years on end. But, if you can find one that has a longevity of translators, it is a good sign that they are a trustworthy company.
How to find this information about a provider
The longevity of clients and translators are some of the most reliable signs of a trustworthy translation provider. However, it’s not always easy to find this information.
Failing that, you might be able to get clues about client longevity within the company’s case studies. You can get hints about how the company treats its translators by looking at employee reviews on a site like Glassdoor
7 more qualities of good translation providers
Several more qualities indicate that a translation provider could suit your needs.
As well as the two listed in this article, we have included seven more in our buyer’s guide “How to Find the Right Translation Provider for You”.
In the eBook, you will learn how you can find the right translation provider for you, including:
Common mistakes people make when sourcing translations.
9 reliable qualities to look for in a translation provider.
10 questions to ask a prospective translation provider.