How to choose a Translation Partner (part 2)

Let’s start off by making a few assumptions. Ok, so you’ve read “How to choose a Translation Partner (part 1)”. And you agree that translation agencies should be more, what shall we say, trustworthy because, well, they have a business name and…

…but hang on! Can’t any Tom, Dick or Harry set up a Translation Agency?

Of course they can! And that was kinda the tongue-in-cheek point I was trying to make in Part 1.

The translation industry is easy to get into: Computer? check. Internet? check. Speak one language? check. Speak another language? che…..well I get by in French.

If a freelancer might be anything but modest, think what a translation agency might do to win business.

Our advice is “Trust No One”.

But take heart because “The Truth Is Out There”.

We feel that if you need something translated, you should get a quality job. Full stop. And by that, I mean that the translation should meet your needs. If you need a contract translated and sworn as a true translation, that’s one thing. If you need an email translated, that’s potentially something quite different. But in each case, you need a translation.

In 20 years of translation, we’ve never heard these conversations:

client: “I need this translated. English to German. By Friday. It’s ok if the translation’s crap.”

client: “How much will it cost?”

agency: “500 euro.”

client: “hmmm. What about a crap translation? how much is that?”

agency: “Ah…that’s on offer right now. Crap only costs 200 euro”.

Our advice – and you see it time and again here – is to look for independent quality certification. We think the important ones are:

ISO 9001 – obviously!

UNI EN 15038 (translation services)

UNI EN 10574 (interpreting services)

It’s very important to look for independent certification. Just ask your translation partner for a copy of their certificate. It’s in a convenient PDF document. Then check the details. It’s easy. It costs nothing. But could save you a packet.

Whilst it’s true that freelancers will be cheaper than translation agencies, do you really want to check the credentials of every freelancer? Of course not. You need to concentrate on your business.

Our business is translation and part of UNI EN 15038 gives very clear instruction on how to select and manage translators. What that means is that when we say we review, assess, evaluate and continually monitor our translators, we mean it. Because that’s what the quality certification demands.

In short, trust independent quality assessments. Then trust the companies that hold them.


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