How to Choose the Best Document Translation Services

Millions of people use free Google translate services or other automated translators for casual purposes, out of curiosity, or for fun. All too often, students use it in an attempt to complete elective language courses. Of course, for anything other than curiosity seeking, only professional-grade translation services are acceptable. This is especially true for professional or legal document translation purposes. But how do you choose the best document translation services? Here, we will lay out some basic facts and metrics to help you make the right choice.

How to Choose the Best Document Translation Services

The first thing to consider when you are looking to hire a document translation team is the seriousness of your needs. If, like in the examples above, you are just curious about what someone said in another language, you can probably figure it out to your satisfaction with a Google language search. However, if you are dealing with business partners, potential business partners, or are looking to have legal or other important documents translated, then you need to work with reputable, experienced professionals.

Second, you need to select a service that offers professional translations in the language and the format you are looking for. If, for example, you want a legal document translated from French to German, you should, ideally, work with a native German translation specialist who is fluent in French. The final destination of the document is important as well. Your translator should be aware of legal formalities, legalistic language, and other relevant colloquialisms in the destination language.

Next, consider the type of translation you need to be completed. Are you looking for simple translation services, desktop publishing, translation, proofreading, and editing? Few translation services offer all of the above. In most cases, it is a good idea to work with a company that does all of the above. This is especially true if you are operating an international business and relations with persons who speak your target language will be a regular occurrence.

One more thing to consider is familiarity with the industry, legal category, or type of document you need to be translated. One translation expert may know your target language but perhaps is unfamiliar with immigration law, for example. In this case, you might need to do some more shopping.

Finally, it is best to work with a recognized leader in international business translations with all the services mentioned above, as well as certified language translation services.

Best Time to Hire a Document Translation Service

For starters, the best time to hire a document translation service is the moment you know you are going to need one. Why? Because your translation could take time. It will take at least an hour or two for a professional translation expert proficient in the target language to complete your translation. Naturally, that is only if he or she has all the resources on hand at the time you make your order to get started. If your translator needs to do any research, it will take at least one full working day.

Chances are good, if you are working with a translation service with a winning reputation, you will have to go on a waiting list. This will delay your translation significantly, especially if there is a great deal of demand. In some cases, your translator may need to research legal terminology in the target language and familiarize themselves with the area of law or formality with which they are dealing. Finally, a certified and fully line-edited, and proofread final product will take longer if you want your document certified.

To answer the question more specifically, you should hire a professional document translator when your credibility is on the line, when the matters it concerns are very important, and when a mistranslation could spell disaster.

When you believe your translation would benefit from personalized service and attention, it is time to contact the pros.

Additional Things You Should Consider When Looking for a Translation Company

Naturally, international communications across language barriers is complex. Legalities, business formalities, and other concerns complicate things further. Here are a few more things to keep in mind when hiring a translation service.

Quality Control

Vetting a prospective translator can be tough. That is why it is best to work with a proven service with a reputation for quality. Certification can take time and is almost impossible to guarantee. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced team, fluent in many languages.


Fluency is important, but the best translators are born in a country where the target language is native or has spent at least a year emersed in the culture. This goes as well for legal details and specific industries. Languages are constantly changing, and you need to work with a translator who is deeply embedded in the language.

A Single Point of Contact

There is enough risk of things getting lost in translation with these kinds of issues. The problem is compounded when you have to communicate with multiple intermediaries while your translation is being drafted. The best translation services offer a single point of contact.

Qualifications & Experience

The best translation experts can show they have a history with the target language, have studied it, and are fluent in both languages before and after the translation. 

Rapid Turnaround

The better the translator, the faster the translation, in most cases. With some exceptions, the best services can often offer rapid delivery times. But of course, this will vary from case to case.

Information Security

Finally, the security of your personal, business, payment, and other information is key. You cannot afford to have your customers getting hacked by international data pirates. 

Find a Translator that can Offer You all of This

In order to ensure that the translations you purchase are done accurately and efficiently, you need to work with a company with a proven track record. By choosing to work with an established translator, such as the Etcetera Language Group, you are choosing to work with a team of translation experts who are fluent in dozens of major international languages, global industries, and legal formalities in numerous countries and regions. These experts are the best in their field, with years of experience and a fulsome education in the various languages they study.