Whether you are looking to select a new language services provider or you are planning to evaluate the relationship with your current vendor, it can be difficult to determine where to start.

Here are four key factors you should consider:

#1: Responsiveness

You should hold all of your vendors to a higher standard for responsiveness, but you should certainly expect timely response on e-mails and meeting requests. Quotations should typically only take 24 to 48 hours. Complex projects and large projects may sometimes take longer, but a responsive translation services firm will communicate that upon receipt of the request.

#2: Ability to Provide Consultation

When evaluating translation providers you will gain some valuable knowledge about suggested workflows and best practices. It is a good idea to use those meetings to get familiar with the plan for handling your projects. Discuss key topics such as translation memory management, internal review process, handling UI strings, and managing project updates. During the discovery phase you will also learn about how well the provider’s team cooperates with your team. This is extremely important. You must gain the confidence to delegate the translation function to your vendor. In order for the initiative to succeed, the vendor must actively seek out help from you or your colleagues on content questions, troubleshooting and general project concerns.

#3: Technology and Experience

Your vendor should have the ability and experience to support the entire document life cycle. In other words, can they support you with issues that come up in all three stages of the process – project creation, translation and output?  The vendor should provide technology that simplifies the process along with solid experience that can help you overcome issues in the process. Most vendors look great during times of “smooth sailing,” but can the vendor support you when complex issues come up?

#4: Cost Management

You will notice that cost was not listed first. Cost is incredibly important, but you should be comfortable with points #1, 2 and 3 before comparing costs. Many translation buyers focus on cost per word. This is a mistake. The reason being, much like asking a home building for the cost per brick, the focus should be on total cost (internal and external) as well as any additional services being offered. Different vendors may interpret the request differently and it is important to understand the level of service that is being quoted.

The translation industry is powered by an enormous pool of freelance translators (some 200,000 freelancers in the world). Vendors primarily recruit from the same pool of labor, so labor input costs tend to be fairly standard across most translation vendors.

Note: Be careful with bids that are significantly lower than competing estimates. Be sure to ask the vendor how such a difference in cost is possible, and if the level of service matches the other bids.

All vendors should provide exceptional service in support of the services they offer. Take your time evaluating translation vendors and make sure that you are choosing the team that makes you feel like you have gained a translation department in your organization.

MadTranslations Offers Specialized Services

Our expertise in the content development process allows us to differentiate our translation service because frankly no one knows it better. Many times our customers are frustrated with the broken workflow introduced with other tools, so they come to us because keeping the integration with Flare and MadCap Lingo not only helps reduce costs and speed delivery time, but makes it easier to bring translated content back into Flare.

Through a full range of localization services, MadTranslations helps clients succeed in the global market by localizing their products, software applications and technical documentation into more than 50 languages.

“Working with MadTranslations, we have beat every estimated project date with impressive accuracy, responsiveness, and advice on terminology for different locales. MadTranslations has consistently provided us with high quality translation and localization, responsive service, competitive pricing, and an understanding of our authoring environment.”

—Tracy Stone | Technical Publications Manager, Avtec, Inc.


As you evaluate your translation needs, MadTranslations can provide a free analysis and quote to help you get started.

Recent Customer Case Study

Avtec, Inc., a leading provider of pure Internet Protocol (IP) dispatch console solutions, recently selected MadTranslations as its provider of translation and localization services. You can learn how Avtec cut translation costs by roughly 40% with the help of MadTranslations here.

To learn how MadTranslations can help you on your next translation project, click here.

About The Author

Mike McDermott

About Mike McDermott

Mike McDermott, Director of Language Services for MadTranslations - a division of MadCap Software - leads the localization production teams. Mike’s experience in the technology and language services industry includes working on US federal government technology initiatives and growing private commercial business units. In his spare time, Mike enjoys spending time at the beach, reading, and outdoor activities.

Last Modified: May 15, 2015

This entry was posted in MadCap Software, MadTranslations, Tech Comm, Tips & Tricks, Translation. Bookmark the permalink.


  • Chuck Vermette February 12, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Mike a corollary of #2 – a good vendor should look at your project first, compile it in the original language, and see what they problems are (if any) with the source. They should then in turn explain any issues they find and how they affect timing and cost.

    My firm adopted this process (yes at my suggestion), and it saved us a great deal of time as well – we weren’t fixing the same broken links, bad formatting etc. in several different languages. We fixed them once in the original and made everything smoother down the line.

    • Mike McDermott Mike McDermott February 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      That is a great point, Chuck. Any issues present in the source project will certainly be carried over to the translated projects, if they are not caught before the translation effort begins. We encourage our customers to run MadCap Analyzer prior to submitting for translation as this brings to light a lot of issues/errors as you mention above. This can end up being a huge cost and time saver.

  • Laura Kapp February 15, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    Great article, Mike. And good point, Chuck, re: the importance of having clean, issue-free source files before translation begins. I would suggest adding maintenance/updates as a fourth stage to this process. How easily and cost-efficiently I can update a translated documented and how reliable and effective the vendor’s translation memory management tool works increasingly comes up in our consultations with the vendor. Getting me the initial translated output on time makes my team and our clients happy. Making the maintenance of that output manageable for future releases makes me very happy (and keeps me sane).

    • Mike McDermott Mike McDermott February 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Very true, Laura. Lingo’s Project Update functionality helps tremendously with Flare updates. These points should be discussed early on and a plan should certainly be in place for project updates.

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