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How to choose a translation agency

By Katie Reed | November 14, 2022 | Blog Services - Translation Translation Tips

Translation is a key part of any international project, so how do you choose the right translation agency? Calling on our 30 years of experience of working for international businesses, we’ve compiled a list of elements to consider when you come to choose a translation agency.

  1. Recommendation from a trusted source

We all rely on recommendations from friends, whether for restaurants, car mechanics or electricians. The same is true at work, so it’s a good idea to ask a friend or a colleague who has had a good experience with a translation agency. It’s also a good idea to check the previous translation work was in the same or a similar sector. There may be some overlap in terminology, but a translation agency specialising in market research, for example, will understand the language and conventions of your industry and the same is true for others such as marketing, healthcare or tourism.

  1. Reputation speaks volumes

Testimonials are a good way of establishing the credibility of your next translation agency. If their clients are willing to share their positive experiences, this is a mark of confidence in their abilities. Even anonymous testimonials can be a good indication of what you might expect in terms of quality, service and delivery to deadline.

  1. Professional bodies

Association membership is a good indicator of professionalism as they abide by their codes of conduct. For UK-based translation agencies, look out for the ATC (Association of Translation Companies), ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) and CIoL (Chartered Institute of Linguists). Additional credibility can be established if their linguists themselves are members of professional bodies in their respective countries, such as the French SFT (Société française des traducteurs) or German BDÜ (Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer).

  1. Length of service

It’s best to look for a translation agency that has been in business for a number of years. Credit checks are also a good indicator of their reliability and help to build confidence that they’re reliable.

  1. Specialisation

If your next translation agency specialises in your industry, they will have a greater understanding of how to meet your needs. Their pool of linguists will also be best placed to translate your texts using the right terminology, phrasing and audience awareness. They can also advise on cultural references you may need to consider for a particular market which may be relevant in one field but not another.

  1. Careful linguist selection

ISO 17100:2015 provides requirements for the core processes, resources and other aspects necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service. The standard covers elements including but not limited to language competence, qualifications, experience, CPD and technical competence. An agency confirmed to provide an ISO-certified service will carefully select linguists on the basis of their qualifications, experience and language expertise.

You may wish to ask for the same linguists to be used on future projects. Your agency should keep meticulous records of who has worked on your projects to ensure consistency, where possible, going forwards. It is worth bearing in mind that many agencies work with freelance linguists so you may need to allow additional time for them to be available for your project.

Quality is our top priority

The Language Factory offers an ISO 17100-certified translation and revision service, the gold standard in translation quality.

Meeting and exceeding this standard, all our translators:

  • Are mother-tongue linguists
  • Hold a Diploma, BA or MA in translation
  • Have at least 5 years’ professional experience as a translator
  • Passed a successful translation test
  • Provided 2 professional references

Contact us today to discuss how we can help with your next translation project.

Find out more about our translation services:

Business translation

English editing service


Audio translation