In the highly fragmented translation services industry, options are plentiful, but so are the stories of translations gone wrong. In this blog we will provide you information that will help you avoid such mishaps, supplying you with the right tools to make an informed decision and ensure you receive the services that best suit your needs.

The 6 Key Considerations for Translation Success

  1. Comparing Quotes & Translation Providers
  2. Subject Matter & Content Expertise
  3. Quality & Turnaround Expectations
  4. Scalability & Project Planning
  5. Technology Systems
  6. The Client Experience

Comparing Quotes & Translation Providers

There are layers to a translation project that are not always obvious.

When comparing quotes, get as much detail as possible to help you compare apples to apples.

It is easy to make a decision based on lowest price, but what are you getting for that cost?

The amount per-word you are quoted is indicative of the level of service and quality you will receive. Lower per word rates often result in lower quality.

For more detailed and specific questions to ask Translation Service Providers (TSP), download our Translations Success Guide pdf.

Quality Expectations

When engaging a TSP, it is important to determine the purpose and objectives of the finished product. The quality requirements of your translation project directly impact cost and turnaround.

Success is predicated on a shared understanding of the client’s goals and expectations. Initial considerations include:

  1. Will the translation be used for internal or external purposes?
  2. How will the translation be published, i.e., social media, newsletter or website?
  3. Will the translation be submitted to a regulatory body?

Your responses to questions like these will help you define your audience and determine the scope of your project. This information will dictate the most appropriate workflow process and guide you in choosing the TSP best suited to your needs.


Just as lawyers and accountants focus on practice areas such as litigation and securities law or auditing and tax accounting, translators are also specialized. For example, a lawyer-linguist is not only a translator, but also an active member of a bar association; and a translator who is also a CPA, specializes in the translation of financial documentation such as financial statements and investment products.

When outsourcing your translations, ask about credentials and expertise. The success of your translation can often be established before work begins by ensuring the translator’s skillset is in line with your needs and expectations.


It is always best to include your TSP in the project planning phase. Translation involves extensive terminology and content research, along with a very systemic and intensive process. Engage your translation provider at the onset to ensure that your timeline expectations can be met cost-effectively, without jeopardizing quality.

Every translation project is unique and must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate turnaround. When discussing timelines, a good benchmark to consider is that a single, high-quality human translator works at a rate of approximately 1,500 words per day.


Your TSP should demonstrate a commitment to staying current with leading industry technologies that enhance quality and increase efficiencies.

What is Translation Memory?

A translation memory (TM) is a database created by your translation provider that stores “segments,” including sentences, paragraphs, headings and titles that have been previously translated for you. The database is an increasingly valuable resource over time, streamlining the translation process and optimizing the consistency of your communications.

How can TM be leveraged for your benefit?

TM can help ensure consistency of terminology across documentation, improving quality and increasing the speed at which translation can be completed.

How can TM impact quality and timelines?

Every subsequent project completed by your TSP helps to build a stronger, more robust TM. The larger the memory, the greater the consistency and the faster projects can be completed.


Client service varies drastically across the translation industry. Ask these questions to ensure your needs can be met and exceeded.

  1. Are you looking for a TSP who consults and advises on the best practices and methods for your translation project?
  2. Do you want the ability to speak with a project manager to discuss your project before, during and after completion of the translation?
  3. Will you require around-the-clock service?
  4. Do you want adaptable service in the event your project evolves while translation is already in progress?
  5. Are you looking for a TSP who understands your corporate goals: a partner who acts as an extension of your existing operation?
  6. Would you benefit from a TSP that finds better and more efficient ways to provide you with quality services?



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This