Demystifying Translation Agencies: The 6 Things you should Know About Translation Companies

Knowing how translation agencies really work before your translation and localization project may save you a lot of trouble, unrealistic expectations and, eventually, help you choose the right one.

Miloš Matović 2015-02-24 Consulting

Demystifying Translation Agencies: The 6 Things you should Know About Translation Companies
Project coordination and management is always easier, less stressful and yields better results when a small, but powerful army of skilled and experienced translators is assigned to a project.

Knowing how translation agencies really work before your translation and localization project may save you a lot of trouble, unrealistic expectations and, eventually, help you choose the right one. The fifth article in our Demystifying Translation Agencies series features a list of the things you should know about translation companies before even talking to one.

  • Translation is often outsourced.

In addition to their in-house translators, virtually all translation agencies use the services of freelance translators, depending on their expertise, level of professionalism and availability.  This does not mean that the quality of translation will suffer – this means that a client’s input is welcome and invaluable in all stages of the translation process.

  • An agency offering services in 100 languages is not necessarily more professional than one offering services in 2.

Succinctly speaking, the number of supported languages speaks volumes about the variety of the company’s services, but very little about its true abilities. An agency offering a comparatively smaller number of language pairs may be more specialized in certain cases than a larger one.

Quality is achieved through the continuous input from the client and good coordination by the project managers.

  • Translators want to translate, not do business.

Linguists like to do what they do best – translate, write and proofread. Good translators are not necessarily versed in financial, technical or business matters. What good translation agencies do is create the environment for translators to translate and develop their business knowledge. Once again, a client’s input is more than welcome for this very reason.

  • The fewer translators, the higher the quality of translation.

Project coordination and management is always easier, less stressful and yields better results when a small, but powerful army of skilled and experienced translators is assigned to a project. Once again, there is no strength in numbers.

  • Certification does not guarantee quality.

Quality certifications are important, but it is crucial to understand what they really mean – they guarantee that certain procedures are followed, but they do not magically guarantee quality in all cases. Quality is achieved through the continuous input from the client and good coordination by the project managers.

  • Every translation agency will offer the highest quality.

Yes. However, be sure that not every company can really deliver it. To know the ones who can from the ones who can’t, consult our previous articles, How to Select a Translation Agency and Questions to Ask Your Potential Translation Agency.