A few months ago I needed to translate an official letter from English to German. I called a few friends, but no matter how good their intentions were, none of them had advanced knowledge of the German language. I had to look for a translation agency and I rushed the first centre I saw. They told me to leave the letter, that they’ll contact me, but there was no chance of getting the translation earlier than 5 days. I took my letter and left, determined to find an online translation company that would help me on time. And I did. That’s how I got the idea of giving you some tips to help you choose a good translation agency. Here are my suggestions, briefly:
1. Gather some information about the agency
Do not let your documents in the database of any translation company that you do not know about. It is preferable to use an experienced company with many employees and/or collaborators. An agency that works with a handful of people either will not be able to provide translations into lesser used languages or will be unable to fulfil your order in time. From this standpoint, you should ask yourself:
- they have years of experience and work with thousands of translators in different countries?
- they can cover any type of translation, in any language combination?
- their translations are correct being done by specialists, many of whom are native speakers of the source or target languages?
- your document will be translated in a very short period of time, as you will not have to wait for one of the ten employees to complete a stack of translations so they can get to yours?
2. Check the possibility of placing the order online
Why be on the road wasting time in traffic just to send and receive the documents from the translation office, when you can send them directly online? You only have to scan the files that require translating, attach them in an email and sent them in a matter of seconds. A serious agency, the type of which I mentioned earlier, receives the files, analyses the requirements and workload and comes with a price quote and an estimate of the project delivery. These are written in a form that becomes a sort of contract between the parties. And if the agency assumes the order and makes a commitment to finish the translation in three days, so shall it be!
3. Checks for a price simulator
Even if the exact price of a translation can’t be known until the documents and requirements are analysed, the translation agency should have a calculator on site to help you see the approximate costs of the work. The agency that I chose only required me to get online, choose the source and target languages, the number of pages and the type of translation and it showed me the estimated price. Obviously, the final price may vary if you want an emergency translation or if the text’s difficulty is increased.
4. Find out if the agency has specialized translators for your field
I only needed a simple translation of a letter but others may require literary translations, translations in the field of economics and banking or IT, legal, medical translations, etc. Those areas required specialized translators.
If you want a certified translation of a document, you should inquire in advance whether the agency does this kind of translation (as it must be done by a translator authorized by the Ministry of Justice).
You can’t let just anyone do the translation, even if you only need a simple translation of a CV or of a covering letter, in a language requested by the employer. The translator must have experience with this kind of translations. Rely on an agency where the translator’s work is overseen by a reviser. That is how you will know the translated document given to your partners will not have any mistakes in it.
This would be my advice. Take it into account and you won’t regret your choice. What I find very nice regarding the possibility of ordering a translation online is that anyone can have fast, quality translations at a good price. This used to be a problem, especially in the provinces, where good translation companies are very hard to find.