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Whether you’re writing an RFP or want to find a better translation partner for your organization, asking thoughtful questions can help you find the best provider for your needs. So how do you know what to ask?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are five questions you should ask translation providers to gain critical information about support, human translation, security, pricing, and quality assurance.

Account Support 

If you ever need help, getting questions answered and problems resolved should be fast, easy, and satisfying. Your language services provider (LSP) should supply an experienced, knowledgeable primary contact that simplifies access to the larger support team.

Q: Will you assign us a dedicated account manager?

 Why ask: Many providers have sales representatives who temporarily fill this role but move on after the contract is signed. A dedicated account manager is available to answer questions or concerns and act as a single point of contact throughout your partnership with the provider.

Bonus content: How CyraCom provides the tools and support services you need

Human Translation

Human translators and editors understand language far better than current machine translation software options. You need a partner to help you localize your content, provide cultural understanding, and accommodate the literacy level of your audience for better communication.

Q: Do you use machine translation?

Why ask: Many translation providers use machine translation as a cost-saving or time-saving measure. Unfortunately, relying on machine translation instead of human translators during any step of the translation process may result in lower-quality translations for clients.

Bonus content: Is ‘free’ machine translation worth the risk?

Information Security

You need detailed information about the LSP's security measures to protect your organization from potential data breaches.

Q: How will you keep my translated content secure?

Why ask: The traditional translation industry practice is to email files to translators’ individual computers, where they are then worked on in external, potentially unsecured systems. Vendors should have safeguards in place, let you know who’ll have access to your documents, and confirm any third-party security accreditations.

Transparent Pricing

Comparing translation quotes can be confusing. You need to know what’s included and what the translation quality will be like.

Q:  Does your pricing include project management fees or editing by a separate linguist?

Why ask: You need to understand what the final cost of a project may be. Some translation providers may include a “project management fee” on their pricing sheet, typically listed as a percentage fee for all other rates. Other translation providers may seem to have low rates because they do not include editing in their translation process or have only one person translating and editing the work.

Bonus content: Translation pricing: How it works

Quality Assurance

Investing in human translation should result in a high-quality final product. You need to know the steps vendors take to deliver flawless translations.

Q: Does a third party review for quality assurance?

Why ask: A review step, sometimes referred to as proofreading, is a final quality assurance measure. The reviewer ensures that common issues (errors, omissions, layout abnormalities, etc.) are resolved prior to delivery.

Want more questions?

CyraCom recently published 5 Things to Ask Your OPI Provider, or check out our RFP guides (healthcare / business / 9-1-1) to see what other questions you may want to ask your OPI provider.


Lindsay Lawson

Lindsay Lawson

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in interpreting and translation services, how language works.