Translation Checklist: How to Know Your Translation Agency Is the Real Deal

Starting a new translation project can be overwhelming. With thousands of translation companies at your fingertips via search engines, it can feel like there is almost too much choice.

Whether you’re translating into English or a foreign language, there are some key questions you should be asking and some telltale signs to look out for which can help you uncover the underlying quality of a translation agency. 

How do you know you’re making the right decision? Read through for the key factors you should consider before doing business with a translation company. 

What Are Your Goals?

It’s important to outline your goals for the project early on. This may vary depending on the type of text you want translating but also on how you would like it to be translated. There are advantages and disadvantages to relying solely on human translation, just as there are when you combine human and machine translation — often referred to as hybrid translation. 

Despite the appeal of a free service, if you need to translate your business website it is best not to rely on websites such as Google Translate. Likewise, if you need to translate sensitive documents, including birth certificates, you may be better off searching for a public notary that specializes in signed and stamped, notarized translations.

The budget of your project should also be established early on so a prospective agency can advise you on the best way forward. If you’re still unsure of what type of translation would suit you best, don’t hesitate to ask an agency that ticks all of the right boxes.

Check the Reviews

Before committing to a project, be it big or small, it’s essential to know who you’re going into business with. While you may be able to get a feel for a company by looking at its website and social media, the best way to determine how trustworthy they are is by checking the reviews. 

You can look up user reviews for global translation services left on Google and a variety of other review websites, or even check for employee satisfaction using

Ask yourself whether it is evident that an agency’s professional translation services have a clear structure and process. It’s worth searching for any references or success stories, plus reading any case studies that add credibility to their cause. 


If you need some legal documents translating, make sure the agency specializes in that area. Following this line of thought, make sure any experts are also expert translators — some agencies claim to use bilingual doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. Regardless of their bilingual status they should be qualified translators — translation is a specialist skill that requires years of training. 


It can be reassuring to see official certification of a translation agency’s quality assurance. The ISO 17100 stamp lets you know an agency is upholding specific criteria and meeting all the requirements necessary to deliver consistent, quality translations. While agencies can follow all of the requirements before being officially certified, if you require certified translations for your project then keep an eye out for the ISO 17100 stamp.

Personal Touch

Do you want to go into business with a faceless company or a well-organized group of real people? Keep your eyes peeled for websites using stock images to represent their employees — they’re probably hiding something, whether that be monolingual members of staff or a lack of translators they work closely with. 

When you make the decision on which translation agency to work with for your latest project, trust your gut. Humans do business with humans. Does the agency you’re interested in feel like a good fit for your company?

Here at Language Department we pride ourselves on personal attention. We have a skilled team of specialist translators who are managed by account directors well versed in project management. We provide you with personal yet professional customer service from the start to the finish of your project. 

Are you looking to start a new translation project? Boasting offices in both the United States and Europe, Language Department has a fine selection of qualified professional translators ready to give you the high-quality service you deserve.With over 25 years of experience and ISO 17100:2015 certification, you can put your trust in Language Department. Contact us today for reliable, specialist and budget-friendly translation services.

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