Finding the Right Translation Service: 3 Things You Need to Know

Finding the right translation service can be a complicated process but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three articles we’ve published recently to help you find the right translation service.

Lesson 1: Find out how the translation service works and if you can trust it

The truth is, every translation service provider that deals with human translators is crowdsourced. Many of the traditional agencies and new startups use the same translators behind the scenes. The difference lies in how translators are brought into a community and how their performance is monitored when translating.

Earlier this year we wrote a piece in American Express’s OPEN Forum, 3 Tips for Choosing a Crowdsourcing Platform You Can Trust. The article encourages those shopping for human powered internet services to ask three fundamental questions:

Q1. Does the Platform Vet Its Crowd?
Q2. Is the Crowd Available 24/7?
Q3. How Much Control Do You Have Over Transparency?

Here’s a brief summary of our answers to those questions and a related graphic (your provider doesn’t have to give these exact answers, but we thought they’d be helpful):

A1. Yes. We are highly selective. Only 10% of our applicants are accepted into our translator and interpreter community.
A2. Yes. As a global company with a global translator base, we can translate your content anywhere, anytime.
A3. A lot. Our translation platform allows you to see where your files are in the translation process and who’s working on them.

How to choose the right translation service

These three questions are in no way the end-all-be-all to determining if you can trust a translation provider but they are a good start.

Lesson 2: Understand their commitment to customer support

A few months back we took some time to distill our customer feedback and publish 5 Things to Look for in an Online Customer Support Platform on Yahoo!. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. SLAs: Look for a clear and fair service licensing agreement (SLA). Specifically, the SLA should address any concerns you have around time of completion and percentage completed.
  2. Certifications: Are members of the crowd certified? If so, by what governing body and how rigorous of a process is involved?
  3. Experience: Experience is harder to fabricate. Place substantial value on those that have done a task or solved a problem before.
  4. Customer Feedback: If you do not see customer feedback displayed publicly, ask the company why not. If they do not have an answer (or fail to answer) you have likely weeded out a crowdsourcing company.
  5. Test Drive: Finally, try before you buy. Any company worth their salt will offer you a chance to test the system. If a company is requiring you to buy the product first, you are better off finding a competitor.

Lesson 3: Determine if this translation service is worth the investment

Cost is a key factor in any business decision and with the cost-per-word ranging from as low as free in machine translation to as high as $0.50-per-word from a traditional translation agency, finding a cost-effective solution is important. Here’s a look at the industry landscape:

the most cost effective solution to finding the right translation service

We offered up Three Questions To Ask Before Investing In Cloud-Based Software in Forbes a few months back, here they are:

Q1. How much work [and what types] can the platform handle?
Q2. How does the platform educate you on how to use the product?
Q3. What analytics do they track and what test do they run [and what feedback do they track]?

Just like any healthy company, being position to scale, engage customers, and address pain points are crucial to continuing to grow. A curated community and cloud-based service, should be able to handle nearly every type of translation request at scale. They should also allow the user to easily engage with their translation service on any device. Here’s a graphic we pulled together to help educate our prospects and customers that they can translate anything from anywhere:

A translation platform on any device

As for the final question around analytics and feedback, a translation provider should treat this as their lifeblood both on the customer and clients side of their business. If a company is truly people powered, then they need to place significant value on feedback from their people. Be sure to ask for case studies and testimonials before committing to a translation service.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feed at

-The VerbalizeIt Team

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