Not all translation companies are alike. Figuring out what services are important or how to judge a company’s ability to provide a quality translation can be tricky, especially if this is your first translation project and you don’t really know what to expect.

To help you find the right translation company for your project, here’s a checklist of things to consider.

What Qualifications Should You Look for in a Translation Company?

Check the languages provided.

You want to be sure that the translation company can translate your document into the language you need. But don’t just think about what you need for this project, think about your long-term needs and make sure they can meet your language requirements for all your upcoming projects as well. You also want to confirm that they use native translators (native to the language they are translating the document into), as this is critical to ensuring that the translation reads well.

Verify their expertise.

The more experience the translation provider has in both the type of document and industry for which the document is written, the better the fit. For technical translations in particular, finding a provider with subject matter expertise in your industry is critical. In other instances, it may be that experience with document type, such as translating employee handbooks, is more important than the industry expertise.

Look for ISO certification.

ISO certification adds another level of assurance that the translation company follows global standards and industry best practices and is invested in achieving high quality, precise translations. Depending on your industry or the type of translation you need, using an ISO certified translation service may be required.

Understand their processes.

Looking at cost alone is not necessarily an apples to apples comparison. You need to understand how your project is managed and by whom. Are the translators certified in their native language and subject matter? How many translators will work on your project—one or multiple? If multiple, what processes are in place to ensure a consistent translation?

Does the firm have an editor review each translation? And is the editor referencing the source document to check that your intended meaning is being conveyed, not just reading the translation?

If correct standards and controls are not in place, quality can often suffer.

When comparing quotes you want to make sure you understand the level of effort the translation company is putting in behind the scenes to guarantee accuracy.

Determine how projects are managed.

Having a dedicated project manager assigned to work with you will streamline the process and improve the quality and consistency of your translations over time. You get a reliable partner and only have to discuss your projects with one person, no matter how many different languages you require.

Now that you know what to look for, you can confidently select a translation company with the right processes and expertise to meet or exceed your expectations.