Choosing a Translation Company: 10 Interview Questions

When interviewing a potential candidate for a job, you ask a series of questions to determine the right fit. Choosing a translation company means finding the right partner to help you communicate with a multilingual audience. How do you know which is the right fit for you?

Potential clients interview us every day. Based on this experience, we want to help you with your process of choosing a translation company.

Interview Questions: Choosing a Translation Company

#1 – What makes you different?

There are many options to choose from. You may think that it is easy to get a few quotes from a few companies, and then make your decision solely on price.  After all, translation is translation… right? As you scratch below the surface, you will find that each translation company is different in some way. The next few questions get a bit more specific, and they will help you answer this question.

#2 – How do you screen your linguists?

Vendor management is an important function at a translation company. Most translation companies work with freelance linguists (an industry standard). A good translation company should have a vetting process in place that ensures quality, accuracy, and confidentiality with their content. Ask them about their process to see how a translation company selects the appropriate linguists for your content.

#3 – How do you handle network security and confidential information?

Working with global freelancers may send off a red flag! Your content may contain sensitive information, especially with healthcare, banking and finance industries. Ask a translation company how they handle confidentiality. They should answer that they are able to execute a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with you, and that they have one signed with each linguist that they work with. They can also provide information about network security and solutions for secure file transfer.

#4 – Tell us about your process. Can we customize this process to meet our needs?

A translation company should have a process in place from quoting all the way through delivery. The most important thing about the process is – how does it make life easier for you? A translation company should communicate with you clearly and frequently. If you need to incorporate something into the process such as client review, a Certificate of Accuracy, or back translation, the translation company should be able to.

#5 – Who will be my point of contact? Will I have a dedicated team with an account manager and a project manager?

Consistency and communication are important in any business relationship. Having a single point of contact (an account manager) keeps it easy for you – one person to reach out to. That person knows your account, inside and out. They will handle all things “client-facing.” The account manager works with a dedicated team of project managers. This team will know your content, your files, and the dedicated linguists to use.

#6 – How do you ensure quality?

A good translation company will talk about their quality assurance process. This starts with translation, editing, and proofreading (TEP) – content is translated by one person and then edited and proofread by another. They also incorporate steps such as post layout review (PLR) of all desktop publishing (DTP) projects and quality assurance for formatting.

#7 – How do you handle consistency?

You may want to expand on this by asking about translation memory and term bases. Translation memory is a technology tool that should be used. Ask your potential candidate if they use translation memory. Your translation memory is a database of previously translated material. Once something is translated, it can be leveraged for consistency and cost savings. Your translation partner can work with you to create, update and maintain glossaries in your key languages.

#8 – How do you handle quoting?

The quoting phase is very important. It is where you seek quotes for a project that is usually of a larger scale. This is a great way to determine if a translation company has the bandwidth to complete not just small translation projects, but projects of a larger scale. These projects can be high volume translations or they can also involve multiple components – audio, video, localization testing. A good translation company will work with to accurately scope the project so that their quote will match what is invoiced.

#10 – Who do you work with?

When interviewing anyone for a job, references are always important. Who do you work with? Browse their website for case studies. Ask them about clients that they work with that are in your industry. Also, ask them if they can provide references.

It is important to choose a candidate that separates themselves from the rest of the pack. If you establish an interview process, then choosing a translation company becomes much easier. Good luck making the right choice!


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