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How do you select a translation agency?

How do you select a translation agency?

Just between you and me; how do you select a translation agency? What mainly determines your choice?


You can look up the most trustworthy-looking websites of translation agencies on the Internet, request a few quotes, make a few calls, make some more calls, and then… hope for the best?

If you leave it at that, you’re selling yourself short. With a little extra work, you can retrieve a lot of valuable information about translation agencies; entirely for free. You don’t need to hire Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes and useful websites

You were already surfing on the Internet; all you need to do is visit a few useful websites to find out more about the background of the translation agencies you have selected. Combining the information found often leads to surprises.

A good place to start is the website of the Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands (www.sidn.nl); the organisation responsible for domains which end with .nl. Here, among other things, you can see when the domain was registered and who the domain holder is. This gives you a good starting point for finding other activities of the owner. He may very well be a mover. Yes, those types of work combinations really occur!

Always check the website of the Chamber of Commerce (www.kvk.nl) as well. Here, you can retrieve some basic information regarding the translation agencies quickly, easily, and free of charge. And that information may be more useful than you initially suspected.

Combine information that is up for grabs

Do the translation agencies use the same information with the Chamber of Commerce and on their websites, or does their business look a little ‘brushed up’ online? Or does a translation agency pretend to be bigger than it really is? Do they act like they have a small army of translators, but are actually registered with the Chamber of Commerce as a sole proprietorship? Just think logically. How big is that translation agency going to be, if you know that a B.V. is a more interesting legal form if you have a turnover of 150,000 Euro per year or more?

By combining data from the Chamber of Commerce, you can also find out whether translation is the core business of an agency, or whether you are dealing with another mover…

Exotic assignments

And how long has the agency been in existence? If it was registered with the Chamber of Commerce less than a year ago, but indicates it has major clients like Unilever and Ahold, how should you interpret that? In general, building a good client base takes quite a while, and multinationals of that size often have their own in-house translators. Surely, they may outsource some work if they need to translate to and from an exotic language. But can the translation agency you are looking at deliver such a service?

And last but not least; do not forget to look for experiences. What do customers of the various translation agencies write in web forums?

Or would you prefer a specialist?

Let’s go back to translation agency websites. The average detective can often discover a thing or two on those.

For instance, you can sometimes read that prices are kept low because students are used for translation. No offense to those students, they undoubtedly do their very best. But what is it all about for you? You want to have your manual, resume, brochure, or contract translated. Work that must be done impeccably! Sure, you can leave that work to a student, but given the choice, you would certainly opt for a technical or legal translator who is tried and tested in this field; and has been for decades. A specialist who, moreover, does not need to be more expensive!

How is that possible?

Translation Agency works with these kinds of specialists, and still offers very competitive prices. How do we manage to deliver top quality at such competitive prices, you can find out here.

Oh yeah, and when selecting a translation agency, always check whether they, like Translation Agency™, are a member of the Association of Translation Agencies in the Netherlands (www.vvin.nl). This is a good indication of whether they are driven and passionate about their profession.

And… is the translation agency in possession of the ISO 9001- and NEN-EN 15038-certifications? Why these two? Simple: they are the highest certificates possible; the golden Olympic medals for translation agencies, if you will. The first guarantees the highest quality of the products, processes, and services, and the second is the European quality label for translation agencies.

And Translation Agency™ just so happens to have both!

  • Posted in: Translationagency facts
  • Julian Wagenhuis
  • 10.augustus.2014
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Translation Agency has the highest certificates for translation agencies: ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015. Top quality and service are always our number one priority.


Translation Agency is a member of the VViN and EUATC; Organisations of translation agencies that work together to optimise quality and service.