How to Choose A Translation Services Supplier

If you are thinking of translating your company’s technical or promotional material into foreign languages, identifying a good quality supplier of translation services can be a headache. Professional translators work exclusively into their mother tongue. Their job is to produce copy which accurately reflects the message and style of your original text, whilst reading fluently in the target language.

Why do I need translation services?

One of the most obvious barriers to successful exporting is the language barrier. A common assumption is that most business dealings are held in English and that most business people speak English. In fact 94% per cent of the world’s population does not speak English as their first language, and not as many Europeans speak English as we think. For example only 27% of Italians speak English and only 18% of Spaniards speak, read and write English with ease.

How much do translation services cost?

Translations are normally charged per 1000 words so the fewer words you have to translate, the cheaper it will be. You don’t need to get reams of material translated – your company profile might be sufficient at first, along with essential parts of your website. A professional translation of a page about your services should cost you no more than £50 (minimum charge may apply).

Translation agencies are generally more expensive than freelance translators but do offer additional benefits such as an extra quality control, specialist niche translators (medical/legal/engineering etc.), multi-language desktop publishing and a one-stop-shop service if you need several languages to be translated at the same time.

The important thing is that whenever you decide to purchase translation services – use a tried and tested professional translator or agency and don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Is translating our material really necessary?

Results of the British Chambers of Commerce 2004 Survey – The Impact of Foreign Languages on British Business — found that exporters who adapted and localised their products/services and sales literature for their export markets, and who placed value on having staff with foreign language skills, enjoyed average export sales growth of 7% — or £290,000 – over the previous year.

So we know there are sound reasons for producing sales and marketing material in the language of your target markets, but where do you start looking for a translation services provider who will produce a translation which reflects the time and effort you have spent on getting your English language material right?

Here is some quick advice on how to choose a reputable translation services supplier.

A good place to find a reputable translation services supplier is through the Institute of Translation and Interpreting ( whose members, both individual freelance translators and professional translation agencies must adhere to strict codes of conduct. The Association of Translation Companies ( is also a good source of information and suppliers of translation services.

Free copies of the translation buyers’ guide “Translation: getting it right” by Chris Durban, can be downloaded from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting website at

Can’t I get the text translated free?

There are numerous websites available offering free machine translations. Whilst there’s no doubt that these services provide you with the gist of a foreign language text if you need it quickly, they should not be used to translate material representing your company, as they are at the very most 75% accurate — meaning one in four words will be incorrectly translated.

In summary, the best way of ensuring you find a reputable translation services supplier is to look for a translator or agency with membership of the ITI or ATC and don’t be afraid to ask for references or free sample translations.

About The Translation People

The Translation People is a technical translation and interpreting company, providing services in over 100 language combinations in a range of fields including engineering, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, medical and legal among others. We have exclusive access to a global network of translation services experts with specialist translation qualifications in their native language. Our core services include Technical Translation Services and Interpreting Services.

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