Choose the right translation service

Entering a foreign market for the first time can be a daunting undertaking: unfamiliar business conventions and advertising cultures, different laws and regulations, and a foreign language can all put obstacles in the way. To ensure that language does not present a barrier, language professionals will play a vital role in your export venture. Choosing the right translators or translation company could be as decisive in your success abroad as, say, choosing the right advertising agency. Basing your decision on price alone will invariably result in delays and a poor standard of work. This can prove costly for your business, not just in terms of rectifying the problems but also in lost opportunities. Choosing the right translator from the outset is therefore vitally important.

Listed below are a few criteria for selecting a suitable translation provider:

Expertise and subject knowledge required for completing the job - most translators and many translation companies (TCs) specialise in a particular text type (e.g. technical documentation, marketing material) or subject (e.g. software localisation, legal translation).

Technical resources required - e-mail, specific word processor or DTP application, etc.

Experience with comparable translation projects.

Commitment to quality - many TCs work to the ISO 9000 quality standard and/or the DIN 2345 standard for translation contracts.

What you can do / Your contribution

For each translation project, specify the following:

The purpose for which the translation will be used

The readership for which the translation is intended (e.g. general public, subject experts, prospective clients)

The delivery deadline for the draft and/or the final copy

The method of presentation/delivery (e-mail, fax, disk, file format, special formatting, etc.)

Provide the required information

Provide the translator with as much background information as possible. This is always useful, often essential, and may include:

Related drawings

Previous translations


Other published information about the product

Project management

Allow sufficient time for the translation: plan it well in advance.

If possible, avoid starting translation before the original text is completed, as last minute changes can prove costly.

Provide assistance - appoint a contact person who can answer any questions the translator may have. Remember that no-one knows your products and services better than you, and you may be the translator's best information source in his subject and terminology research.


Provide feedback - an expert evaluation of the translation will improve all subsequent work.