What Kind of Translation Agency Do You Need?

The search for available translation agencies will yield no shortage of results. The language service market will grow to over $56 billion in value by 2021 to meet a rising need for global content.
Rodrigo Demetrio
12 min
Table of Contents

What Kind of Translation Agency Do You Need?

The search for available translation agencies will yield no shortage of results. The language service provider market will grow to over $56 billion in value by 2021 to meet a rising need for global content.

What Kind of Translation Agency Do You Need?

The search for available translation agencies will yield no shortage of results. The language service market will grow to over $56 billion in value by 2021 to meet a rising need for global content. Almost every company—from app providers to e-commerce sites and online publication agencies—will eventually have to look internationally to grow. Success in this global direction will depend on your ability to reinvent your offerings for a new market without losing what made you popular in the original. That is where the search for an ideal translation software localization agency comes in.

Choosing the right provider will make all the difference, but most business leaders don't even know where to start when creating localized content for a new market. If you want to grow your brand, you must review the available language service providers carefully, along with their business models and the technology they rely on. The first step is evaluating your translation needs in a successful global launch.


You should consider translation services if: 

  • You have a large amount of complex content to translate or ongoing updates.
  • You are anticipating significant regional growth.
  • You have a high number of active users seeking a specific language.
  • You anticipate a full-scale marketing campaign.
  • You intend to translate content into multiple languages

You may not need them if: 

  • You have a small amount of content for translation into only one language.
  • You have minimal views of content from the region in question.
  • You have resources familiar with your company and capable of handling the translation activities on your behalf

Full-scale translation services aren't always necessary. In some cases, a simple machine translation may work for you. In others, you may have the bandwidth to handle the entire project in-house. However, if you have significant content to translate, you may want to consider working with an agency early on. In these cases, the sooner you work with a company to create standards for your translation, the better.

Translation Business Models to Expect

As demand for translation services grows, so does the complexity of business models. While virtually thousands of companies are now involved in this kind of translation service, they all break down into several basic categories.

Large Translation Company

Large translation companies are typically a one-stop shop to allow for translation into many different languages. These top translation companies do hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business annually and, as a result, have locations and personnel worldwide.

  • There is a wide breadth of services and solutions.
  • Teams are available from several time zones.
  • 24/7 service is standard.
  • Very refined account management is likely for larger organizations.
  • You gain access to an endless array of translators with different levels of expertise.
  • Initial bids may be more attractive than those from smaller translation companies. ‍
  • Accountability is a common problem as the business is vast, and errors are hard to trace.
  • Price creep is typical as the company may try to upsell other services to make up for the small initial bid.
  • Outsourcing is prevalent, and you can expect standards to drop as there is no real management of subcontractor quality.
  • Each division is divided and separated, sometimes into different operations.

Small Translation Company

Smaller translation companies typically do only a few million dollars in business per year and have few locations centralized to a specific region.

  • Teams are highly specialized in a specific language or subject matter.
  • A more flexible business model allows them to change direction as needed.
  • You may have more direct access to project leaders than at a larger company, where you may be lucky to reach a random customer service representative. ‍
  • Turnover at agencies can lead to significant changes in quality.
  • The range of technology and skill sets for managing quality may be limited.
  • There is no guarantee of due diligence on processes and QA.
  • Language options are often limited to the common options with few regional dialects.


A single translator will specialize in a specific language and often works remotely from the targeted region.

  • This is usually the cheapest option upfront for companies.
  • Direct contact is common, and the customer service experience is strong.
  • The translator may be located in the target region, giving them greater insight into accurate translations aimed at the particular market. ‍
  • The translator may be less receptive to feedback and take criticism personally.
  • Scalability to a higher volume of work or more diverse language options isn't possible.
  • The translator's access to and grasp of technology may not be sufficient for the project.
  • They may resist diverting from their preferred tech solutions even to merge with yours.

TMS (Translation Management System)

The translation management system (TMS) is not an agency but a software that may power an agency. Popular options include XTM International, Transifex, and Memsource.

  • Most allow for flexible setups to accommodate any organization.
  • Leaders have plenty of ownership over the translation process.
  • High visibility: quickly check tasks and review project status. ‍
  • You will need an expert to manage tasks within the TMS.
  • You must self-run your translation agency, as only the technology is included.
  • You must also manage the vetting and hiring of translators.

How Bureau Works Operates

Bureau Works utilizes a distinctive business model that seamlessly integrates a top-notch Translation Management System (TMS) with the operational capabilities and accessibility typically associated with a prominent enterprise. This innovative approach allows Bureau Works to deliver exceptional localization management services while leveraging the advantages of a large-scale organization.

With its advanced TMS, Bureau Works empowers businesses to efficiently manage their translation projects from start to finish. The TMS serves as a centralized hub, streamlining the entire localization process and providing a comprehensive set of tools for project planning, resource allocation, translation workflow management, translation quality assurance, and collaboration. By leveraging this cutting-edge technology, Bureau Works ensures consistent, high-quality translations while optimizing time and resources.

Moreover, Bureau Works stands out by offering the agility and personalized attention of a boutique firm combined with the scalability and extensive capabilities of a major company. This unique combination enables Bureau Works to cater to the diverse localization needs of businesses across various industries, ensuring effective communication and successful global expansion.

Why You Should Use The Services Of Bureau Works

  • Our service is fully and easily scalable.
  • All project costs, deadlines, and results are predictable.
  • Our platform allows for full transparency of all tasks as well as billing and company ROI.
  • We offer a wide range of highly qualified translators and use AI to assign the best possible translators for your projects.
  • This is a full end-to-end solution for any localization process and any industry. ‍

After reviewing the pros and cons of each business model, you're likely to have a good idea of the kind of translation agency that's right for your future prospects. However, you must still examine how individual agencies manage their workflows, tools for facilitating the localization process, and communication and transparency standards. To understand these additional important elements, you need to evaluate the technology at the heart of the agencies.

Supportive Software for Localization Management

You'll need three basic types of software to help you control workflows, eliminate redundant tasks, and manage costs.

  • Translation Management Systems
  • (TMS): The TMS will help you monitor projects and responsibilities related to assigning translation tasks, uploading strings, monitoring progress, and managing the project itself. It is a tool designed to maximize translator efficiency by allowing transparent, streamlined workflows.
  • Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) Tools: CAT tools help translators complete tasks faster by allowing them access to corporate lexicons, translation memories, termbases, search tools, and spell checks. These tools help translators complete tasks faster and improve the quality of completed work.
  • Business Management Systems (BMS): A BMS is necessary to keep track of costs, ROIs, and the efficiency of projects. Without one, leaders wouldn't be able to analyze how their translation efforts are paying off or determine where they should focus their attention.

It's not unusual for these systems to overlap on some level. A TMS may come with built-in CAT tools. A BMS may allow for assigning and workflow management of translation projects. Some systems may integrate and connect with others. For example, a TMS may communicate with a content management system (CMS) to allow for seamless uploading of new content—a significant timesaver.

Before deciding on an agency, evaluating the supportive software at stake is vital. Disparate software solutions lead to business segmentation and missed communications. However, as translation is only a small business component, finding a tool that combines all three systems in a single collaborative space is rare.

This multi-dimensional software is something that only Bureau Works has accomplished to date. Our platform is a repository for company-specific translation memories and term bases to provide a higher-quality, more efficient overall translation. It leverages artificial intelligence to assign the best translators for the target language, subject matter language industry, and tone based on their prior performance data. Also, it provides a workspace for them to accept, translate, and submit strings before those projects move on for review and approval in the same system.

Regarding business management tasks, the system allows you to keep track of billing and payments on a granular level. You can run reports based on previous projects to determine where you're spending the most money, and you can get a clear picture of your ROI. This allows you to make smarter decisions about localization and expansion in the big picture.


Making the Final Decision for Seamless Localization

In today's globalized world, businesses and individuals often require translation services to bridge language barriers and expand their reach across different markets. Choosing the right translation agency is crucial for ensuring accurate and culturally appropriate translations effectively convey the intended message. With numerous quality translation services and companies available, it can be challenging to determine the best fit for your needs. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a translation agency:

Expertise and Specialization

Translation companies vary in their areas of expertise. Some specialize in specific industries such as legal, medical, technical, or marketing translations. Assess your requirements and look for the best translation company or agency with experience in your field. Their familiarity with the subject matter will ensure accurate and industry-specific translations.

Quality Assurance

Accurate translations are vital to maintain your brand's reputation and credibility. Look for a certified translation agency with a robust quality assurance process. Ask about their quality control measures, such as proofreading, editing, and reviewing by native speakers. Certifications like ISO 9001:2015 demonstrate a commitment to quality management systems.

Linguistic and Cultural Competence

Translation services go beyond mere word-for-word conversion. They require an understanding of the target language's nuances, cultural sensitivities, and idiomatic expressions. Choose a translation company with a vast network of native-speaking professional translators who possess linguistic and cultural competence in the target language.

Technology and Tools

Efficiency and accuracy can be greatly enhanced by using the best translation companies' technology and tools. Inquire about the translation company's use of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, terminology databases, and translation memory systems. These tools can ensure consistency in terminology and help reduce costs and turnaround times.

Scalability and Capacity

Consider your long-term translation needs. If you foresee expanding into new markets or requiring translations for multiple languages, choose a translation agency that can accommodate your growth. A company with a large pool of translators and resources will be better equipped to handle large-scale projects and meet tight deadlines.

Confidentiality and Data Security

Translation often involves sensitive information, such as legal documents or confidential business materials. Ensure that the translation company you choose has strict confidentiality protocols in place. Ask about their data security measures, including secure file transfer protocols and non-disclosure agreements.

Client References and Testimonials

Seek feedback from past and current clients of the translation company. Check their website for testimonials or request references to get insights into the quality of their services, responsiveness, and professionalism. Reviewing and testimonials from notable clients can provide valuable information about their reputation and customer satisfaction.

Pricing and Transparency

Translation costs can vary depending on language pair, document complexity, and turnaround time. Request detailed pricing information from different translation companies and compare their rates. Beware of companies that offer significantly lower prices, as it may compromise the quality of translations. Look for transparency in pricing and any additional charges or fees.

Additional Services

Consider whether you require additional services beyond translation, such as website localization or desktop publishing. Localization involves adapting content to the target culture and can be crucial for effective communication. If you anticipate the need for these services, choose a translation company that offers comprehensive translation and localization services.

Customer Support

Effective communication and prompt response are essential when working with a professional translation agency. Evaluate their customer support system and assess their responsiveness and availability. A reliable translation company will have dedicated project managers who can address your queries and provide regular updates on the progress of your translation projects.

Selecting the best translation agency requires careful consideration of various factors, including expertise, quality assurance, cultural competence, technology, scalability, confidentiality, client references, pricing, additional language services, and customer support. By evaluating these aspects, you can make an informed decision and find a translation company that meets your specific requirements and delivers high-quality and accurate translations. Remember, choosing the right translation agency invests in effective communication and global success.

Bureau Works can act as your all-inclusive translation agency by combining our powerful platform with interpretation services from our range of linguistic experts. Contact our team to learn more.


Finding the right translation agency is crucial for businesses seeking global expansion. The choice depends on content volume, regional growth, target languages, and marketing campaigns. Bureau Works offers a unique solution with its advanced Translation Management System (TMS) integrated with the capabilities of a large-scale organization. It ensures efficient project management, quality translations, and scalability. The platform provides transparency, predictability, and a centralized hub for translation memories. Bureau Works considers expertise, quality assurance, linguistic and language services industry cultural competence, technology, scalability, confidentiality, client references, pricing, additional services, and customer support when selecting an agency. By evaluating these aspects, businesses can choose a translation agency that meets their needs for accurate and culturally appropriate translations, effective communication, and global success.

Rodrigo Demetrio
Steering the marketing ship at Bureau Works with 17+ years of MarTech under my belt, I transform mere ideas into tangible realities. Passionate about languages and their power to build bridges, let's build a new one?
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