Choosing a Translation Company: Is Bigger Really Better?

Or What Makes the Difference in the Quality of Translation Services

Choosing a translation company for your project can be challenging, especially if you are unsure what to look for. It is especially true if you want to establish a good long-term partnership with a translation company for ongoing collaboration.


Have you ever heard a service company praising itself for having hundreds or thousands of clients? Have you ever dealt with a company like that? How did it make you feel?

Too Big to Care?

Calling the office and being put on hold for what seems like an eternity only to be transferred to someone else, having to explain the same thing over and over to different people, then maybe being promised that they will get back to you “as soon as possible…” then not hearing back from them for days or even weeks, or ever… then dealing with yet another person when you take the time to call them again, explaining everything all over again…

Suppose you are brave enough to trust the office with your business after that ordeal. In that case, you might end up dealing with people who apologize for their lack of knowledge, as they have just joined the company, or whatever other excuse for poor service they might have.

Sounds familiar?

If you are like me and are tired of this type of service, there is a good chance that you’ve given up dealing with big companies altogether and have decided to hire a small, local company for the service you need. I like going to a local butcher to buy meat and a local bakery to get a cake for my dinner party.

Unlike impersonal large chain grocery stores, I am personally greeted in places like these. It feels good to have that small talk with a shop owner, to be treated like an old friend, but what is even more important is that I know I am getting quality: I know that the baker has put all his craft and soul into making that loaf, he carefully wraps and packages it for me, I know that he actually cares if my family will like it. Next time I see him, I will make sure to let him know how it was.

Translation Company With Sales-Driven Mass Production

The translation industry is no exception. A big translation company gets business not because the quality of its services is exceptional but simply due to huge sales and the marketing force it employs. Once they get your business, you become just another one of their many clients. In fact, such translation companies have so many clients that losing one or even a few won’t hurt them too much — their sales team will work hard to bring them ten times more.

The translation process of large translation companies is mass production, and their success depends on volume. They compile huge databases of qualified contractors, which is great, isn’t it? Well, it is to a certain degree. In order to become their vendor, translators usually take a standardized test. Having a lot of translators is crucial, as everybody should be replaceable.

In reality, it works like this: you send the translation company your project, let’s say, the software UI localization to be translated, and they assign it to someone who presumably does a great job translating the strings. They might even have them proofread by another linguist (for which they will charge you extra) and follow other QA procedures to deliver a quality translation to you, their client.

In a while, you have a new set of strings requiring translation and send them to the translation company again. The translation company tries to assign the project to the same translator, but that person is not available (because they recruit freelancers just like smaller companies). The project manager pulls up the database and assigns the project to the next person on the list to get it going as soon as possible. Oh, and the project manager could be different this time around.

This scenario can repeat itself over time, and eventually, you end up with inconsistent translations in your software, as in my car’s navigation system, which sometimes says, “Would you like to start the route guidance?” while at other times I hear: “The navigation is canceled.” Wonder why? Because the translation company recruited different translators to work on the same project, each used their preferred words. Not too big of a deal in my case, perhaps, but it might be crucial for, say, a medical device or a law enforcement software localization if terminology management is not taken seriously.

Impersonal Vendor Management

A big translation company is either too busy with hundreds of clients to properly update and manage their Glossaries and Translation Memories, or you get what you pay for, and updating Translation Memories and Glossaries would cost you extra.

Their relationship with their vendors is often impersonal, from assigning the translators for the project via online check-out systems and having several Project Managers involved to having the vendors wait for months to get paid for their services. It is not unusual for a large, “well-established” translation company to be involved in lawsuits for constantly delaying payments to their vendors or not paying them at all. We hear stories like this in the media all the time.

translation company

How much do you think their vendors care about the projects they work on? They might be well qualified and even produce high-quality translations, but will they care about the bigger picture? I don’t think so.

Is There an Alternative?

We are not a big translation company by any definition – we don’t have a fancy office, don’t print numerous copies of glossy brochures, and definitely don’t employ an aggressive sales crew…

The Most Powerful Endorsement Is a Satisfied Client

We are a boutique translation company with a comfortable number of clients, and we thrive by using word of mouth to build our clientele. Many of our clients have worked with us for over a decade and keep praising our services. They are also confident enough to recommend us to others. Does this mean that we are perfect? Of course not! We work with human translators, and humans occasionally make mistakes.

Translation Company with Client-Centred, Personable Project Management

What makes us different is that we work hard to establish close and trusting relationships with our clients; we see ourselves not as contractors or outsourcers but as partners who work closely with our clients on our shared projects.

We do not use the one-size-fits-all approach and work closely with you to find the best localization strategy for your global expansion. We help you every step of the way and make you feel welcome and cared for.

Working with us, you will have one point of contact available to you at any time, attentive to details and responsive. We are transparent and work with you, not for you to build that trusting relationship. Hence, you feel comfortable voicing any concerns during our collaboration so we can refine our work together. And if there is an issue, we will prioritize resolving it efficiently and in the best way possible.

The dedicated Project Manager will contribute to your project’s growth and scalability.

Personalized Teams of Hand-Picked Translators For Each Client

We build working teams specifically for your company and are continuously learning more about your product, eventually becoming experts in your industry just like you are. Because we see ourselves as your strategic partner and valuable contributors to the success of your organization, our translators are attentive to detail and see the big picture and the larger purpose of their work. Our hand-picked translators know they are valued here at Art One and are in for the long haul.

Absolutely No Shortcuts When It Comes to Quality

We are not after quantity and don’t aim for a large number of clients; in fact, we will probably never have hundreds of clients, but we are proud of being boutique, approachable, and on personable terms with our clients, including a few high-profile ones. Strictly following our rigorous QA Process, we at Art One don’t take shortcuts when it comes to quality and consider quality a pre-requisite rather than a differentiator.

Our amazing team of expert translators, interpreters, DTP specialists, transcribers, voice artists, and multimedia localization engineers, along with caring and responsive project managers, have worked very hard over the years to earn our trusted reputation.

We welcome companies who value such partnerships to join our exclusive clientele. Our promise to you is that at Art One, you will be getting personalized attention, no matter how big or small your project is, because it will be our very own project each time, all the time.

Art One Translations is a recognized top translation company that specializes in technical translations and software localization and offers a turnkey solution for all your multilingual language needs.

Whether your project is a technical documentation translation, SaaS Localization, or RFP translation, we are in this to make a difference.

  • Have a real impact on our clients’ international success;
  • Create better experiences for your audiences around the world.

To learn more or to request a free quote, please contact us.

We look forward to adding value to your work and becoming your preferred translation company.

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