Top Tips for Hiring a Professional Translation Service

Ciklopea 5 months ago 8 min

Finding the right partner to provide you with professional translation services takes time, and it’s not an easy task. In fact, it’s not all that different from expanding your in-house team. You need to define needs and expectations, check candidate qualifications and experience, ask for references, and more besides.

ciklopea translation services

Whether you need translations for business documents, legal contracts, marketing materials, or personal documents, your choice of a language service provider can significantly impact your success.

This impact is twofold. Firstly, your external partner can accelerate your time to market, which means that you’ll reduce the amount of revenue opportunity loss. Secondly, the quality of the translations you receive will determine how successful you are in expanding on the market.

With the right system, evaluating different vendors can get easier. Here’s how you can hire the right partner in the shortest possible amount of time.

Ciklopea is an award-winning language service provider that’s been in the business for more than 20 years. Book a call with us today or explore our translation services.

Tip #1: Define Your Requirements

translation service provider

One of the common mistakes we see during discovery calls is that our potential clients don’t know what it is that they actually need. They haven’t sat down internally to define their project needs and the scope. This step is essential in making sure you find a language partner who’s a good fit.

Similar to the scenario where you’re hiring someone for your in-house team, you need to make a list of requirements. Identify the languages involved, the type of content, any specific industry expertise required, and the deadline for completion.

Clear communication of your requirements will help you find the right translation service. Here are the things you need to consider:

  • Clearly define the language pairs you need assistance with
  • Describe the nature of the content that requires translation
  • Assess whether the content requires specialized knowledge in a particular field
  • Determine when you need the content translated
  • Estimate the volume to be translated (word count or pages)
  • Decide whether you want the translation service to provide revisions or reviews after the initial translation
  • Determine your budget for the translation project
  • Establish clear communication channels with the translation service provider

Only after you’ve done this preparation will you be able to start evaluating different vendors.

Tip #2: Look for Qualifications and Experience

One thing that is especially important in cases where you’re expanding to markets that are uniquely different from yours is external support in the form of cultural consulting or additional services beyond translation (e.g., language consulting, localization).

In any case, you need to carefully assess the qualifications and experience of your potential vendor. And how do you do that? Start by reviewing their website. As you explore it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which industries does this language service provider cover?
  • Do they have ISO certification? Which certificates do they have?
  • What types of translations do they cover?
  • What types of language tech and tools do they use?
  • How do they work with clients?
  • What do their client testimonials say?
  • What kinds of case studies do they have available to refer to?
  • Has this language solutions company received any awards?

To evaluate different vendors, make sure you use the same scoring framework. This is the only way you can compare apples to apples.

Did you know? Ciklopea was once again recognized as one of the leaders in the multibillion-dollar global translation, interpreting, and localization industry.

Tip #3: Contact the Vendor to Learn More About Them

contact vendorFinished looking at their website? That’s great! Now’s the time to book a discovery call.

Make sure to prepare your requirements and questions in advance. During the call, there are three main things you need to ask about:


  • References and/or translation samples
  • Quality Assurance measures
  • Pricing and turnaround time

We’ll go into more detail about each of these three things in a little bit. Before we do that, though, there’s another thing you need to evaluate during the call – whether or not the potential language partner is a cultural fit.

For instance, Ciklopea’s core values include transparency, integrity, and simplicity, while at its core, the company believes in continuous improvement (Kaizen), the value of partnerships, and professionalism.

The thing is, people have different visions of partnerships and collaboration. You want to make sure that your vendor’s cultural values match yours, that their work ethic is strong, and that they treat you with respect.

So, what’s a good signal that the company has experience with successfully managing client relationships?

  • They tend to show flexibility and go the extra mile to help you with your project
  • They have defined SOPs and communication channels to ensure your collaboration runs smoothly
  • They are professional yet friendly, and they provide numerous value-added services
  • They are transparent and open about the way they do business
  • They genuinely want to help you, and that’s their priority

Now, let’s take a look at the next tip.

Tip #4: Ask for References and Translation Samples

When requesting references and samples, be specific about your requirements. More precisely, provide the following information:

  • The type of content you need translation for
  • Language pairs
  • Any specific industry or subject matter you’re interested in

This helps the translation service provide relevant references and samples. However, you should bear in mind that some clients may have confidentiality agreements with the translation service. This means they might not be able to share specific documents or reveal the identity of their clients.

This is particularly common for the financial and legal industries, as well as tech. In such situations, you should ask for generic samples or references.

Once you receive the references, take the initiative to contact them directly. Ask specific questions about their experience with the translation service, including the quality of translations, adherence to deadlines, and overall professionalism.

When reviewing translation samples, pay attention to the accuracy, fluency, and appropriateness of the translation for your specific needs. Assess whether the vendor in question truly has the experience that you’re looking for.

If you have questions about the samples or references provided, don’t hesitate to ask the translation service for clarifications or additional information.

Pro tip: Make sure to ask for recent references. This is how you’ll understand the translation service’s current quality and performance. Language trends, terminology, and quality standards can evolve over time.

Tip #5: Make Sure You Understand Quality Assurance Measures

Inquiring about a translation service’s quality assurance measures is very important. Only then can you evaluate if the translations you receive are likely to be accurate, consistent, and error-free.

Quality assurance measures can vary from one translation service to another. Check the table below for the most common components.

Tip #5: Make Sure You Understand Quality Assurance Measures

Inquiring about a translation service’s quality assurance measures is very important. Only then can you evaluate if the translations you receive are likely to be accurate, consistent, and error-free.

Quality assurance measures can vary from one translation service to another. Check the table below for the most common components.

Proofreading Ensuring that the translation is checked for grammatical and spelling errors.
Editing Verifying that the translated content is reviewed for clarity, coherence, and style.
Revision Professional translation services may involve multiple translators to cross-check and improve translations.
Quality control Ensuring consistency in terminology, formatting, and adherence to guidelines.
Cultural sensitivity Confirming that the translations take into account cultural nuances and sensitivities.

At Ciklopea, we use the 6-eye principle, meaning that at least three different linguists/experts have checked the translated materials before delivery. Learn more about our translation quality assurance.

Tip #6: Understand Pricing and Turnaround Times

translation priceUnless you’re lucky enough to work at an established company with a large translation budget, every translation project implies some sort of tradeoff. You are either going to sacrifice quality, time, or your financial resources. Or at least that’s what the language industry tells you.

Make sure you understand all the costs associated with translating:

  • Are there any hidden costs?
  • What are the potential service add-ons that you could benefit from?
  • Are there any discounts available?
  • What about rush fees?
  • What is the pricing model? Hourly rates, per word, flat fees?

Ask as many questions as you can to get the full picture of vendor’s pricing and turnaround times.

Did you know? At Ciklopea, we use custom technology and optimized processes to decrease translation costs.

Want to Explore a Collaboration With Ciklopea?

At Ciklopea, we believe that quality and cost efficiency can go together, along with reasonable deadlines. We’ve been in the business for over 20 years, and ever since day one we’ve invested in our team and their professional development. Talented people, proven processes, and useful technology are the not-so-secret elements of our success.

Want to discuss your translation project with us? Book a call now! We’re always happy to help.


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