GTE Localize

Should SMEs Choose Global or Regional Translation Agency?

Posted by Anne Q. on October 01, 2020.

What are the differences between a regional translation agency and a global translation agency? Finding the answer to this question will give you a clear solution for your choice of a translation agency which has never been an easy task for any company, especially a small and medium enterprise (SME) that is planning to enter a new market.

In the scope of our today’s post, we will compare notable features of a regional translation agency with those of a global translation agency and help you decide which one you should corporate with.

Regional Translation Agency Global Translation Agency
Number of languages Specialized in some regional languages such as Asian, European, Arabian, etc. (normally below 15 languages). Numerous languages worldwide (can be up to hundreds of languages).
Costs The rate that a regional translation agency offers you in most cases is lower since they often have a compact structure and work directly with in-house translators or freelancers. The costs you pay for a translation project by a global agency tend to be higher.
They are likely to outsource the job to other subcontractors (such as a regional one), making the overhead costs higher.
Quality As long as you work with a professional translation agency, regardless of their size, the quality is guaranteed.
Number of services  Core services (translation, editing, proofreading, DTP, or QA). Core services and additional services (AI and data-related services, technical testing, technical writing, SEO optimization, etc.)
Technical infrastructure Can work with standard CAT tools and Translation Management System (TMS). Can provide more sophisticated systems such as Content Management System (CMS).
Customer Services Can be easily adapted to your specific requirements. Normally at a high standard, but should be less adaptive.
Coordination You might have to work with a couple of agencies if you need translations for different regions. You only work with one agency since they cover numerous languages worldwide.
Capacity & Turn-around time Both types of agencies can cover large-volume projects with a similar turn-around time.


What Is The Best Choice – A Regional Translation Agency Or Global Translation Agency?

As you may guess from the table above, there is no right answer for every situation. The answer lies in your demands.

If the number of languages you need to translate is under 15 languages, one or two regional translation agencies can cover your needs. Besides, when you only need core services such as translation, editing, and proofreading, there’s no need to work with a global translation agency since a regional one can meet these requirements at lower rates.

Regional Translation Agency

On the other hand, if your projects include numerous languages and additional services (SEO optimization, technical testing, etc.), it will save you time and money from the coordination efforts to work with a global translation agency that covers all the required languages and services.

For example, giant companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are localizing their content into over 100 languages, with a much more generous budget than the average companies. Therefore, it would not efficient for them to coordinate 10 regional translation agencies at once. A top global agency should be the right choice.

However, if you are an expanding company with less than a 200,000USD annual budget to cover 15 languages, working with 2 regional agencies may save you up to 30% of the cost while coordination efforts and all other factors are almost similar.


To Summarize

We hope that the comparison we made above will help you make the right decision for your upcoming translation project. If you are interested in how to build a cost-effective localization programme for a small and medium enterprise (SME) or you want to learn more useful tips like this post, don’t miss our free 38-page step-by-step guide.