Does a second translator proofread the translation? Proof reading was important in the original, so it is important in the translation as well. [SEE: One Tier vs. Two Tier Translations] This should always be the case unless you will only be using the translation internally or you have your own proofreaders. Good translation agencies will also have tight quality management to weed out underperforming translators.
Experience. There is no substitute for it! Always choose a translator or company like International Contact that specializes in your particular languages and document types, one with a verifiable history, testimonials or other information that will let you know the quality of the translations that you will receive. Accuracy is essential, especially with business, legal, technical and medical translations. Errors can be costly. That’s why it’s so important to utilize competent, efficient and experienced translation professionals that can complete work in a timely manner.
Does the translator use translation memories? This is becoming more and more important and is now used by many translation agencies. A translation memory is a database that is used by so-called CAT (computer aided translation) software. It effectively recycles translations done in the past. When you have a second text to be translated, the software searches its database for each source sentence to check if it has been translated in the past. If so, the old translation is inserted in place of the source text.
A good translation agency will still have all the text proofread in context to make sure it fits, but you should not have to pay for the same translation twice. When you update your documents or have several similar documents to be translated, this can potentially save you thousands of dollars on translation services. It should not be confused with machine translation or automated translation.