Ten essential tips for getting a professional translation

The number of translation agencies and freelance translators is growing daily. A simple search on Google for "translation services" gives more than 70 million hits! So you need a way to find the best translation company at the best price to give you a quality translation.

Ten essentials tips for getting a professional translation of your document, website, portfolio or other important text.

1. The translators must be professionals and most importantly native speakers of the target language. This is absolutely essential for quality translations.

2. The translation agency must be responsible for proof reading of your translated document. It must also be done by a second (or even third) equally competent and professional translator. For long translations and particularly if you have a tight deadline, you will find that the best agencies will use a number of professional translators to complete your translation.

3. How experienced are the translators in the company? They should have experience not only of translation into your required language, but also knowledge of the subject matter.

4. Is the translation agency a member of a professional translation association (e.g. the ATA - American Translation Association, the Institute of Translation & Interpreting, the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators, or other similar national or international body.

5. What references can the translation agency (or individual translator) offer for successfully completed translation projects - particularly for translations relating to the area of expertise you require?

6. Are deadlines a problem? Can the agency deliver your translation professionally, complete and on time within your schedule?

7. How is the pricing for the translation computed? Is it by number of words, pages, sentences or other system? Most often price is calculated based on a standard page. You will get a better price if the cost of the translation is based on the number of words in the source text. This is particularly true nowadays since a standard page is rarely found and can vary from 1,200 to 1,800 keystrokes or more depending upon the agency!

8. How competitive is the price? Remember to take into account that if you require urgent delivery the price will be higher. Prices will also differ depending upon the source and target languages.

9. Does the translation agency have an efficient project management system to ensure quality control, accurate billing and ontime delivery? This is particularly important for extensive translations.

10. And finally, will the translation be provided in the identical format as the original source text - thereby minimising your need to reformat. The better translation agencies will also offer a system allowing a client's server to "order" translations directly into the translation company's system with no email, copy/paste, etc. This is very useful for companies that use content management systems to manage dynamic text for special offers. The person who types in the special offer can order translations on the spot with just a click, and the CMS sends the order. The web page is then updated automatically with the translation.

Bear these tips in mind and your next translation will be professionally done, of high quality and delivered on time at a reasonable price.

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