I was recently forwarded the following unsolicited comments from one of our medical device clients to a colleague of his. The text is presented as is, except for edits between brackets to protect the identity and company affiliations. Bear through the advertisement to note the salient lessons. These pearls of wisdom should not be dismissed!
“The best advice I can give you if you manage translations is to find a company like GlobalVision International, the one I used at [my previous employer] and now use at [my current one].
Honestly, they do the bulk of the work and their ability to deliver a quality product on time and on budget with a minimum of fuss is everything you want as a translation manager. Their ability makes you look good or bad.
Specifically what makes a translation agency good, in my opinion, is the emphasis they place on finding, hiring and retaining qualified, experienced, intelligent project managers. They are the one you directly work with and who need to understand your needs, to anticipate them, and to make all the messiness of dealing with the translators and reviewers invisible to you. The less time you can spend on it, the better. And for that you need a company that will assign a good, experienced translation project manager to your account and keep him or her with your account long term.
Cost is also a big factor. You’ll get tons of vendors coming after your business, offering you up-front discounts or offers of negotiated lower rates if you do all your business with them. Don’t buy into that. Ask them about their stable, long-term rates. Ask them the rates they charge their regular customers, and ask to talk to those references to confirm what they tell you.
The translation company will make that part of your job hard or easy, and the quality of the project managers, along with the price, are the chief considerations.
I know I sound like a commercial, but if you can influence the decision, go with GlobalVision, and tell them I said so–not that they give me anything for it! ”