Woman at laptop takes notes while wearing a headset
If you're trying to break into a new market, you may need to hire a translation service to ensure you're maximizing your reach in an authentic, meaningful way. — Getty Images/fizkes

It’s exciting when businesses make a foray into a new international market. Talks of potential audience bases, improved products and services and a larger following can overshadow an important step of the process: translation.

In order for a business to make a positive, lasting impression on the new market, it must communicate its product or unique selling point in the local language to solidify itself as a new business to watch in the market.

The importance of high-quality translation can’t be overstated, but oftentimes it can be hard for business owners to figure out where to start or how to gauge quality. Here are six important considerations to remember when hiring a translation service.

[Read: Unlocking Export Potential: How to Advertise and Market Internationally]

6 things to consider when hiring a translation service

Quality control

Errors in translations, especially translated legal documents, can be costly and dangerous for businesses. As such, when hiring a translation service, it’s most important to vet the quality of the agency. Pick a service that has great attention to detail, employees who qualify as native speakers, testimonials and proof of work and have an editor/editing team that reviews work before it gets to the client.

Having error-free documents with perfect translation is a business’s strongest way to put its best foot forward in a foreign market in which it hasn’t yet built connections.

Translation localization

Ensuring that the hired translation service can localize the requested translation may give a business an excellent reputation in a new foreign target market. When diving into new foreign markets, rudimentary translation of product or service offerings may not cut it. A talented and reliable translator will be able to adapt the translation and integrate the product’s use to a specific target audience. A successfully localized translation makes the product or service appear it was developed in the foreign target market (instead of wherever your business is based). In addition to helping your product or service fit seamlessly into the culture, a translator skilled at localization will also consider the local standards of the industry of your offerings when performing the translation.

A talented and reliable translator will be able to adapt the translation and integrate the product’s use to a specific target audience.

Single point of contact

A single point of contact (often a project manager) makes communicating, analyzing and approving your requested translation a simple process. Having one person to ask for updates on progress, revisions to work and more creates an efficient line of communication and ensures deadlines and expectations are fully understood and respected. When hiring a translation service for your business, be sure to ask if you’ll have one main point of contact after the sales process.

Having one established point of contact benefits both parties in the long run. It gives the requesting business a reliable representative to reach out to when requesting quotes for more work, or troubleshooting a previously-completed translation project. It provides the translation service an opportunity to give unrivaled customer service and earn a glowing testimonial, a loyal customer or both.

Relevant experience and qualifications

While translator skills vary wildly, here are a few things to remember when hiring translation services that will help you find the best, most qualified fit for your business.

  • Company credibility: While being certified doesn’t necessarily promise high-quality translations, it does mean the company has completed a necessary set of documented steps to retain a standard of quality control.
  • Bilingual versus qualified translator: It’s important to know if your translator is simply bilingual/trilingual/multilingual or a certified translator (which can be, and often is, in addition to being multilingual). While someone who is bilingual may fluently speak the language in which you’d like a document translated, it doesn’t mean that person’s skills and understanding of complex linguistics needed to translate perfectly has been tested and certified by a governing body.
  • Professional certification(s): Does the translator in question have a professional certification from the American Translators Association, the only organization that offers certification to translation professionals? This certification gives you and your business an extra measure of confidence in the translator’s skills.

In addition to the list above, additional considerations include education background and years of experience. When in doubt, ask the organization or freelance translator for samples of their work to gauge for yourself.

Quick turnaround

Be transparent about your timeline. If it’s an urgent project, hire a translation service or freelancer who understands and can accomplish a quick turnaround without sacrificing quality. For projects that can take a bit more time, give clear editing instructions so the translator and editor can take their time to ensure the piece communicates exactly what it needs.

[Read: How Technology Unlocks Small Business Export Potential]

Data security

Data security is important for specific industries, especially verticals such as legal document or medical document translation. When hiring a translation service, ensure the translators comprehend and value the strict confidential nature of the project — and have previous translating experience in these data-sensitive industries.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Follow us on Instagram for more expert tips & business owners stories.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Brought to you by
Simplify your startup’s finances
Not sure where to begin in getting your business’s finances in order? Navigating the complex finances of a growing start-up can be daunting. Learn about the key financial operations that will keep your startup running smoothly — from payroll to bookkeeping to taxes — in this guide.
Learn More