How to Compare Services From Different Translation Vendors

How to Compare Services From Different Translation Vendors

At first glance, when comparing service providers, it may be tempting to go with the least expensive option. When it comes to choosing a translation service provider, this can often be the wrong move to make. Why? If you receive a quote for translation services that is way cheaper than that of a different provider, then something is likely off. Either they are not quoting the exact same services (translation workflows are usually unique to each client) or the people who will be working on the project aren’t as qualified and trained as you need them to be. Oftentimes the linguist doing the job is still in training, is not certified, or is not specialized in the field.

When you choose the cheapest option, there’s a high chance that the deliverables you receive won’t match what you thought you were buying. As the saying goes—you get what you pay for.

That’s not to say you have to go with the most expensive option to get the best quality, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. If two different vendors give you a different rate for the same language combination, you need to make sure you’re being offered the same product and only then can you benefit from going with the least expensive option.

These are some factors worth keeping in mind when comparing different translation service providers—especially if you anticipate having ongoing translation needs. Because that means the selected provider may become a long-term partner.


When getting to know different translation providers, pay attention to how your communication flows with them and what channels they use to communicate with you and your team.


You should also take note of what technology the vendor will use to work on your projects. A solid Translation Management System (TMS) and computer assisted translation tools (CAT tool) that allow for good terminology management and QA checks is a must-have.


Ask each localization provider to walk you through their work experience. Does the vendor have case studies or references they can share with you? Success stories and testimonials can also tell you a lot about the company. Experience is really important here, as one company might use non-professional translators or use very low-paying translators that don’t produce the best quality work, nor have resources in-house to check the quality of the work or use the right technology. That may explain why their prices are so low, so be very weary of vendors that offer inexpensive rates.


What workflow does the language provider use to manage projects in a seamless fashion and what integrations do they offer to work with your company? Make sure they align with how you and your team like to work.

Project management

You want to work with a good project manager to make sure the process runs smoothly from start to finish. See if you can find out what the level of expertise the project management team that will be working on your projects has. You can also find out what time zones they are based in to make sure you can align timing wise and can facilitate ongoing dynamic interactions. It can be helpful to meet with the project manager, project management team, or translation team beforehand via a phone call or video call to help make sure you’re all on the same page about project needs and workflow.

Quality control

What quality control measures does the vendor have? Are they certified by international quality standards like ISO 9001 and 17100? Do they work with in-house reviewers and quality control specialists? These are important questions to ask to learn more about the quality control that a vendor offers.


You want to work with a translation company that has a good reputation in the industry and amongst translators. You can look for feedback about the company in social media and online forums to make sure they are a trustworthy vendor.

Company culture

Does the company culture of the provider align with your team’s culture? When you share the same values, the provider feels like an extension of your own team.

The Takeaway

As tempting as it may be to choose the most affordable translation vendor so you can stretch your budget as far as possible, it’s important to compare the services and the experience backing those services before you make a final decision.

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