How to Vet Translation Vendors

The content translation industry is booming. Organizations that offer translation services are now choosing to outsource their work. When you do decide to utilize the services of an external agency, it becomes imperative to find service providers whose working style is similar to your own.

Finding a translation vendor isn’t the challenge; finding the right one is. The human resources of the company have a direct bearing on productivity and earnings. This is why organizations have manifold requirements when it comes to hiring the right type of talent.

Who is the ideal translation vendor?

There are multiple companies out in the market, who offer translation services. But what makes a vendor the perfect one?

Firstly, a good translation vendor is one who has a good mix of native and non-native translators. Secondly, the vendor will have an established quality control and review process. The vendor will have specific divisions working on particular types of projects, allowing for knowledge specialization and each division will have its own reporting head and team.

This will help streamline the entire workflow. The ideal company will use state-of-the-art translation management software and databases to manage the translation services that they provide. The vendor should ideally be involved in constant process improvement and should be part of associations or agencies which allow for knowledge exchange.

Unfortunately, not all translation vendors meet the criteria mentioned above. This is where a structured and thorough vetting process comes into play.

Vetting the vendor

There are multiple considerations that come into the picture when you want to choose a vendor. From the services they offer to the processes they have set up, everything needs to be taken into consideration.

First, your vendor should be market-driven and provide all of the most commonly requested for services. Take a look at the languages they offer.
Do the languages suit the niche you cater to? What about specific dialects?
Do they hire native speakers to provide the actual service? Consider these questions well before you proceed.

The second thing to find out is their work history. Check to see the type and size of projects they have worked on in the past. Will they be able to handle large, multi-lingual projects that may come their way? Ask them for references and review their work.

Another factor to consider is the process they implement. Do they follow industry benchmarked processes or are they innovators in the field? What type of translation technology do they use? Do they have a comprehensive database of all the work they have previously done? What about memory management systems? A host of similar questions needs to be asked.

Operational efficacy is another consideration. What will be the turnaround time for each project? Is there going to be any service level agreement?
What happens to the intellectual property of the translated content? The quality of the translation, the level of customer support and project re-work policies are other important factors that you need to look into. You will even need to have a discussion about the commercials of outsourcing the work.

Select the vendor who’s right for you

There is no one size fits all policy when it comes to choosing a translation vendor. At the end of the day, you need to consider the requirements of your own organization while making a choice. Take into consideration your competitors. You may also want to consider the possibility of setting up your own in-house translation team in the future.
Finally, make sure your vendor and you have similar work ethics, as this will make all the difference in the world.

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