Choosing a Translation Provider

How to Choose a Language Services Company | Part One: Choosing a Translation Provider

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The process of choosing a language services provider doesn’t usually bring about feelings of warmth and delight. In fact, if you don’t know which questions to ask, choosing the proper translation and localization vendors can be downright tedious. Luckily, we’ve sorted through the technical patter for you, leaving only what’s important. Check out part one of the two-part series, “How to Choose a Language Services Company,” to get started.

How to Choose a Translation Provider

A translation provider can enhance or enervate your company, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. To start, you should clarify your company’s needs and consider factors such as your company’s size and location.

Know Your Needs

Before contacting any translation provider, you should sit down with your team and assess the company’s needs. By doing so, you can create a list of requirements you need the vendor to adhere to and therefore streamline the process of finding the perfect company. Some of the most pertinent questions include the following:

  • What purpose will the translation serve? Is it mainly for in-house? Now, if it’s for your clients or for your clients’ clients, you should expand the list of questions to consider
  • Who is the target client? Should the translation be written in a specific dialect or be catered to a specific demographic?
  • What is the budget and deadline?
  • How many rounds of proofreading will you need?
  • Would you want to do any in-house reviews? Do you have people for that and how are they qualified to enhance the process and the outcome?
  • What format do you need the translations to be in? What format are they in now?
  • How many words are in project? If it is a large project, you may want to assess if all of it needs to be translated at once or in phases to ease the bottom line.
  • Do you have any company specific terminology that you would like the translation team to use? How will you provide materials for the translators to familiarize themselves with company jargon?

While it’s smart to shop around for the best translation provider, you should have answered all of these questions before reaching out to potential providers.

Consider Company Size

Once you’ve answered questions about your own company’s needs, you should consider the profile of a translation provider you should seek.

A single language vendor, or SLV, is usually a smaller company that’s located in one location and caters to one target language. However, some SLV’s may offer multiple language services if they collaborate with another company. One of the appeals of working with an SLV is the possibility of forming a tight-knit relationship with the provider.

However, a multi-language vendor, or an MLV, has its own perks. These vendors usually offer more translation services with different languages from those that an SLV can provide alone. In addition, MLV’s oftentimes have in-house digital publishing, testing, and more. A company like this can tackle various large projects with ease.

Now, take a look at some questions below that your company should ask its potential provider before doing business with them.

  • How many languages and types of translation services does the company offer?
  • How many employees work there?
  • Do they have extensive vendor resources, or are they restricted?
  • How long has the company been in business and how reputable are they?
  • Do they consider themselves an SLV or MLV? Which is better for your needs?
  • Does the company have designated project managers?


In today’s globally connected world, distance is much less of an obstacle than it was even 20 years ago. You can get your language vendor on the line, Skype or GoToMeeting with a push of a button. Your consideration should be more about how well your vendor understands your needs and your market.

Before settling on a translation provider, talk to your team about whether you’d prefer to work with a local or a global company. In addition, consider which is more important: to work with a large corporation that can handle your expansive project or to work with a smaller business that can cater to your individual needs. And, most importantly, ask as many questions as you feel comfortable.

Choosing a Translation Provider

Knowing exactly what your project requirements are before choosing a translation provider. Remember to clarify these requirements with your team and consider the purpose of the translation project, budget, and outline the processes to ensure the final product meets your expectations. Once your team has a full understanding of the project, choose a translation provider who is best suited to handle your project. A company that is smaller and more local may be a better fit for your project rather than a larger company who can offer additional services which may not not necessarily be exactly what your project requires.

**At Bromberg, our team of qualified interpreters and translators are ready to meet your needs. With over 170 languages offered, we are confident that we will be able to offer solutions to all of your language service needs. Contact us to find out how we can help.

**This post is part one of this series. Be sure to follow up on this blog next week for part two where we offer tips for choosing a localization provider.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Deb Pearl

    The company I work for has been starting to work with people overseas, and we have been wondering how to find a good interpreting service to help us out. That is a good idea to consider our company size before we try and find a company and how many languages we will need. We would want to find someone who can meet our needs and it would be better to establish our needs before we go looking! Thank you for all the tips!

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