Language services companies, also known as translation agencies, range from a single translator or interpreter to large, multinational corporations.
Bigger isn’t always better. It really depends on the type of project you are working on and the type of relationship you need with your vendor. Working with a smaller company will give you personalized service that can be beneficial if you have highly complex projects with a narrow scope.
Larger firms can help with complex projects involving multiple languages, multiple products, or both. They can also provide ancillary services, such as desktop publishing, multimedia support, and printing. Large firms typically assign a project manager to act as a single point of contact to give you the personalized service of a smaller firm.
Another benefit of working with language services companies is that virtually all of them use some form of "computer-assisted translation" tool, or CAT tool for short. These tools store translated text into a database. This saved copy may be reused, typically resulting in a quicker, cheaper translation for similar projects.
In selecting a language services company, the key is to focus on the "process" that the company follows and not the "product" that they produce. For example, are the initial translations subject to additional review or proofreading by other language professionals? If so, how many rounds? How are the translators or interpreters chosen by the company? How large is their database of translators and interpreters? What does the company’s own quality assurance process look like and what specifications do they use to judge translation quality? By working with a company that has standard review and quality assurance processes in place, you will greatly increase the likelihood of receiving a quality final product.