How to Choose the Best Document Translation Service: Your Complete Guide

Language Service Provider (LSP), LSP

Are you looking to get your product guide translated to Portuguese? Do you want to extend your market to Asian countries like Japan? Translating product documents to another language is a step to extending your market.


North America is the second-largest market of the language services industry. As of 2018, it has a market size of around $21.8 billion. It comes second to Europe where almost half of the language services market comes from.

Finding a good document translation service may prove to be a challenge. With so many translation agencies, finding one that offers quality service isn’t easy. Below, we have a guide on how you can look for the best translation service in the market.

1. Know Your Needs

Before you hire a document translation service, find out what you need to do first. What do you need translated? Is it a general document with few jargons or is it specialized?

Your material might need a translation expert who is also familiar with legal terms. Or, the material may have a lot of jokes or puns. If you need your product manual translated, you need an expert who would know how to translate it in a technical and simple way.

Document translation is different from verbal translation. However, the agency may need to know if you plan to have a document translated to orate later. It’s also helpful to know the audience you need the translation for.

Knowing your requirements is a big help when you start shopping for a translation agency. These needs will be your guide when selecting translation services. Once you’ve got a go-to translation agency, you can start focusing on your business more.

2. Check for Quality and Experience

As with all services, you want to make sure you get one that has the most quality. With translation services, you can see the quality in speed and accuracy. Attention to detail, proper syntax, and apt word of choice are also marks of quality.

How do you know a translation company will offer quality service? Well, great translation companies hire professionals. These include effective project managers and translators in specialized fields.

How would you know if the translation service you’re hiring has sharp attention to detail? The main influencers of that quality are editors. Professional editors are important to language translation companies.

Without professional and experienced editors, a service can still translate English to Romanian. However, the message can turn messy, incomplete, or incomprehensible. Sometimes, even a single mistake can cost you a great deal.

3. Guarantee Your Confidentiality

Does the document contain sensitive information about your product or your business? Even if it doesn’t, would you risk its privacy? You don’t want a translation agency that exposes the documents they translate.

Before you decide, make sure to check a translation service’s non-disclosure agreement. Confidentiality should be part of the legal agreements other than the typical terms. 

Legitimate translation services should include this in their contract for service. Medical translation services especially should show this to you before translating a document. They should also ensure secure storage for your documents.

Ask about signed confidentiality agreements with editors and translators. Ask if the translation service is HIPAA-compliant. It will only take you a few minutes to ask these questions.

4. Hire Translation Agencies with Competence in Specialized Fields.

You want a translation service that has expertise across a wide range of industries. This is more practical than jumping from one translation service to another. It’s also better than depending on a translation service that relies on quick research rather than educated translators.

More people are getting employed in the translation and interpretation industry. From 2010 to 2017, there was a 24% increase in companies in the industry. That means people with in-depth knowledge of certain fields are becoming translators.

Not all companies have translators for complex IT, medical, or legal documents. Let’s say you need a financial document translated from English to Hungarian. A good agency will have an English-Hungarian translator adept on financial matters. 

A smart move is to check all the topics of your documents before you decide on a translation service. This way, you know if the service has translators that are familiar with the topics. 

5. Ensure the Service Holds Credentials

Learn about the translation agency better before you decide to hire it. Find out if it has the necessary certificates and credentials. Low-quality translation services will have low standards and won’t be holding credentials.

Certification from the American Translators Association is one of the necessary certifications. It’s also important to make sure the translation service has ISO certification. When you do a check on translators, they should have a degree in translation studies.

Let’s say you need files in specific industries translated. The translator needs certification to translate them. For example, translators for legal documents need accreditation in legal document translation.

These certifications don’t exist as embellishments only. They are signs that the translation service is of good quality.

6. Request Recommendations

Sometimes, the internet is too big to hand to you the translation agency you need. Asking for recommendations is always a good way to find translation services. If Google’s search results page isn’t providing the right companies, try posting on forums. 

You can ask your friends or relatives if they know of any. Often, people you ask will be more than glad to give recommendations. Note that it’s always a good idea to check the reputation of a translation company before you select it.

7. Things to Remember About Document Translation Service

Remember that translation experts and native speakers are different. A native speaker may or may not have the capacity to translate your document well. Translation experts undergo training and learn the best way to translate documents.

The translation service you hire must have localization abilities. Remember that not everything is translatable. Idioms and puns are only a pair of examples of language features that have deep ties to one language or culture.

Some things are acceptable in one culture that may be taboo in another. Even if you speak the same language, there will be moments when the message won’t come across as you intend it to be. Also, the choice of words is important when you’re communicating with non-English speakers.

This is where translation companies with expertise on localization have an edge. They will know the right terms to use in the other language. They’ll also be knowledgeable on the etiquette and taboos of the culture.

Find the Translation Service for You

That’s it for our guide on how you can find the best document translation service. 

The world grows smaller every day thanks to globalization. The language barrier doesn’t have to limit the scope of your market. 

Did you find this post educational and enjoyable to read? If you want to read more posts like this, check out our blog page. For questions on quality translation services, feel free to contact us now.

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