Whether you need a language translator for business or personal reasons, you probably don’t have available employees in your office or friends who can meet your professional and/or legal needs. For most businesses, having a full-time staff of translators is too costly. Even if you have bilingual contacts, they may not have the necessary certifications, technical knowledge or fluency. Neither may they have the time if they are overloaded with too many other projects and responsibilities. So who can you find that is qualified, affordable and available to translate your project and trustworthy enough to get a document translated correctly without cutting corners?
Communication in business and in your personal life is critical to your success. The information you exchange must be reliable, correct, and professional. In many cases, we must exchange information securely and be cost-efficient at the same time. And when we need to exchange information, it usually needs to be exchanged at once. These factors and others make our choice for the right translation services provider paramount, particularly when communication has profit and loss, health and safety, job security and legal implications.
Unfortunately, many people do not make the best communication choices, because they weight price first in importance. If they are told the price will be cheap and the quality will be good, they tend to believe the sales pitch. Translation agencies may also oversell themselves. Instead of evaluating whether they have the right resources to complete a project successfully, they exaggerate their capabilities.
Finding an agency that is legitimately concerned about you getting the best official English translation, regardless what agency you choose is a tall order. Similarly, putting a price on a qualified, reliable and available translator who consistently produces accurate communication is nearly impossible.
The tips we offer below serve as a guide to help you find the best translation service in Houston. By following them, you will put your best foot forward in finding the best translation service to meet your business or personal needs.
Find a Responsive Agency
As you begin to evaluate companies, be mindful of how responsive companies are to phone calls and emails. If they do not return your call, give them one more chance. But if their phones still go unanswered, it’s a good indication that you need to look elsewhere.
At the same time, watch out for red flags. If you have only a few pages that need to be translated and the company tells you that it is going to take a week, then you should wonder why it might take them so long. Very few circumstances might require a week to translate 30-40 pages of text. While good translation takes time, certain minimum levels of performance should be easy for any professional linguist to translate accurately and professionally, regardless of content or medium. A company has the assets to perform at a minimally acceptable level, or it does not. You don’t want to find out on your specified completion date that a poor performing translator couldn’t meet your deadline. In my experience, translators who work inexcusably slowly are most prone to catastrophic errors, poor quality, missed deadlines, excuses, inconsistencies and other costly and embarrassing problems.
Beware of Deception
Every provider has good service and bad service experiences. A fact of life, however, is that some companies make a quick buck by wearing you down by nickel and diming you, inflating the prices they charge, adding fees, and engaging in unethical practices. Be on the lookout for any company that claims to run sales or promotions. Stay clear of any company offering per-page prices. Instead, insist on per-word prices. Per-page pricing offers always come with stipulations that ensure you pay more, not less. Read the fine print and make sure you understand it. If you need a certified legal translation, ensure that the agency will notarize it for free. These days, most agencies include certification and notarization for free. Evan though notarization isn’t always required, it is increasingly necessary.
Always remember, if a company needs to lie to get your business, they are probably lying about many other things. Be careful.
Choose a Document Translation Service That Knows Your Business
At a minimum, translators must be fluent in the languages they translate from and into. But more important is having expert knowledge of the concepts and terminology they are translating. For example, if a translation services company specializes in providing Spanish-to-English translation or English-to-Spanish translation lacks industry experience or relevant knowledge about law, they probably aren’t qualified to provide legal translations of complex contracts and agreements. Similarly, a Portuguese translator who lacks an engineering degree is probably not a good choice to translate an engineering manual.
Find a Translation Company that is Qualified to Translate Official Legal Documents
Whether you are applying for immigration or closing an international sales contract, you need a legal translation agency that is skilled in translating official documents. While an official legal translation requires certification and notarization, the critical factor is the translator. The legal translator you use must be familiar with legal terminology, concepts and variations between systems of law.
Beyond competence, the agency also need to have a notary public and be able to provide original translations that are signed by the professional translator.
Choose a Local Agency When Possible
Because a company is listed as local doesn’t mean it is. Some companies claim to be local to deceive people into thinking they are. They set up virtual offices, equivalents of post office boxes, which give the company a fancy mailing address and the opportunity to trick unsuspecting consumers into believing that local support is available. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people call me who had been burned badly by these companies. The companies that claim these fictitious local listings also claim to have local reps. What they don’t tell you is that their local representative is the person who sell the virtual office space. Many of these companies create a credible face by using fake reviews and other methods. Often the reviewers have very suspicious review stories. For example, the companies they review are a different company or in another state. Or they review other virtual office locations of the same company. You would do others a good turn to leave bad reviews for these companies and call them out. If you are unsure, visit one of these locations in person.
In my experience, when someone needs a translation, they need it immediately. Whenever possible, choose local for your professional, legal and medical translations. Without local representatives, bad things can go worse really fast. You may court trouble when that translation agency can’t provide notary services from a duly sworn notary in your state or make a critical revision without wasting valuable time by having to mail you an original copy. As a final note, non-local companies always have a higher cost of service and much lower quality. When in doubt, plug their address into Google and scan the search results for the words “virtual office.” If still in doubt, visit the location and then call an honest local company that you know is local for added insights.
Set Reasonable Expectations
A little upfront planning can prevent a lot of headaches and frustration. Too many times, the expectations of clients are too high. When a document translations agency has great reviews, that doesn’t mean they are miracle workers. Often, the quality and success of a translation is a team effort that involves the client and the translation agency. We’ve had clients infuriated with us because the post office was closed on Thanksgiving Day, which prevented their translation from being delivered. We’ve had clients leave reviews because they left their belongings behind in our office. There have also been clients demanding refunds due to a spelling or typing error. Some errors are impossible to avoid all the time, even for companies with armies of proofreaders like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.
Two Office to Serve You
DALLAS TRANSLATION SERVICES
5025 Addison Circle Drive
Addison, Texas 75001
- Fort Worth
HOUSTON TRANSLATION SERVICES
2020 Montrose Blvd. #202
Houston, Texas 77006
713 – 589 -3112
- Sugar Land
- League City
- Missouri City
- The Woodlands