Read this post before you choose the next translation vendor

How to Choose a Translation Vendor

When a company recognizes the need to translate important documentation into another language, for new and existing customers, the most important aspect is to choose the right translation vendor. This involves a detailed analysis of the costs and risks involved, the procedures for handling translation projects in the future, and an overall strategy to match the documentation needs with worldwide needs.
A vendor works with you to find the right translators based on:
  1. Regional needs (Spanish EU/Mexico, French Canada/France, Portuguese EU/Brazil, English US/Australia/England/etc)
  1. Technical needs (Science/Medical/Finance/Tech), works with desktop publishing, and verifies all final content against expectations
A large part of the translated information stays in the translation memory, which is simply a database that includes all the previously translated data. The database contains the source and the translations but it doesn’t relate to the formatted output which should always be provided by your vendor. This is the first rule for choosing the right vendor and you should not go for a vendor who does not provide it.

In-house and Out-house

A number of factors might influence your decision to translate in-house, with hired translators or outsource the job to a 3rd party. You should consider all sorts of cost before making this decision. The volume of work, the way to handle technical content, any certifications, the way in which the translation memory is handled, each and every aspect needs to be considered. An in-house translator might come with additional hardware and space costs, but you could cut down on a lot of cost if you choose to outsource the job.

Research and Evaluate Vendors

You might need to translate a technical review, or outsource desktop publishing, once you have realized what it is that you need; it is time to select the right vendor. When you hire a translation vendor, you are not merely hiring the vendor, but an entire team of people. There are translators and editors, quality assurance professionals, programmers, managers, publishers, graphic artists and tool experts. Once you have decided that it is team you are looking for, it is time to look at trade shows, membership groups, and other resources to create a list of vendors.

The First Impression Matters

What do they advertise? Who are their clients? How big is the company? How long have they been in business? These are all questions that will make up your first impression of the vendor. After you have researched, you may need to shortlist a few vendors. What impresses you? What doesn’t? You can remove the vendors who don’t come up to your expectations.

Information To Collect And Score

You can collect any information that comes within your requirements, like:
1.       Company details (history, experience, reliability, reputation, etc.)
2.       Quality standards (processes, translator experience and training, reviews, guarantees, industry standards, translated content, etc.)
3.       Project management (processes, availability, rates, performance, etc.)
4.       Technology and tools (proprietary or standardized, security, storage, translation memory, software, content management, file transfer, etc.)
5.       Rates (per word, staffing, quality of translation memory, allowable corrections, etc.)


The cost should be the last thing to compare. You need to identify the total costs you would incur to have a fair comparison. Translation vendors are more likely to charge you on a per-word basis, and added to that are the additional editing and proofreading costs. A 10% to 13% fee on top of the total costs is normal.

After you have selected a vendor and you have your documents translated, you might need to determine the viability of the vendor from a business point of view for future translations and work.

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