The first point people take into consideration when hiring translation services is price. Unfortunately price is usually also the last point people consider. If you don’t know what you’re looking for and all of your options seem the same then it’s natural to go with your cheapest option.
Yet price isn’t a good point of consideration for a few reasons. Most of the large translation companies are going to quote you about the same amount for your job, but the quoted price you receive won’t necessarily reflect the price you ultimately pay as it’s hard to provide a truly accurate quote due to the complexity of the translation process. Two companies can quote you the same price for the same job and ultimately charge you substantially different fees upon completion. If you do run into a company that quotes you considerably less there’s no assurance you’ll end up paying less.
A better point of consideration when making your choice lies in the quality of work each company provides. Quality is also a tricky point to consider because translation is not only a subjective process but you will also be unable to personally evaluate the end product.
You can, however, indirectly evaluate the quality of a company you hire by checking out the work they’ve produced in the past and by seeking out referrals. Go through your network and find out who has hired translation companies in the past and who they would recommend. Look at the official documents that prospective companies have produced and find independent reviews of those translations by qualified evaluators. With recognised translation companies past performance is the best indicator of future performance.
It’s also a good idea to seek out translation companies that specialize in the form of translation you require. Most companies will produce equally accomplished translations for common languages like Spanish and English, but fewer companies are going to excel at translating Croatian. If you need a piece of literature translated than find a company specializing in translating books. If you require legal or medical translation than find a company practiced and well versed in those fields. The more specialized the company you’re working with, the more likely you’ll receive a translation you can trust.
There will always be a certain level of risk involved when hiring translation companies, but that risk can be significantly mitigated by selecting specialized companies with a history of successful translation work. Ignore the false promises of lower prices and faster turnaround times and focus on the tangibles that will actually matter when you receive your translated texts.