Getting your company’s business communications translated for foreign language markets can be a complicated and time-consuming process, especially if you’ve never worked with a translation company before. Fortunately, most are professionals who know how to take large and/or complicated projects and make them as painless as possible. That usually means on time and on translation company budget.

But without having worked on a translation project before, how can you know if your chosen translation company is living up to the expectations they set.

Here are a few red flags to watch out for:


Quality begins with a translator only translating into their mother tongue. There are, of course, exceptions, but if your translation company is translating professional translation services your documents from English to Spanish, German, or Chinese without any native Spanish, German, or Chinese speakers on staff, then you may have your first red flag for working with them.

A quality translation also requires subject matter expertise. Legal experts should translate legal documents. Business experts should translate business documents. And so on. It is impossible to stand behind the quality of a translation if subject matter experts aren’t involved with the project. When translating specialized industries, someone that just knows the language will not provide a quality translation. It is important for the translator to really understand the specialized terminology so the translation will be accurate. A word for word translation will not provide the same meaning as intended in the original document.


Cost should be a secondary consideration to quality, but, as we all know, sometimes costs and budgets dictate choices. Avoid making choices strictly on cost alone, but, if cost is a major factor for your project, then consider these points:

  • The cheapest service will most likely create expensive headaches down the road with missed deadlines, inaccurate translations, and poor customer service.