GTE Localize

24 Basic Questions to Ask When Selecting a Translation Partner

Posted by Anne Q. on June 30, 2021.

Selecting a suitable translation partner to work with has never been an easy task. To help you evaluate the suitability of a translation agency, as well as to assist the agency to understand your request, it is highly recommended that you make a list of related questions to all candidates and find out which answers meet your expectation.

GTE Localize recommends 24 basic questions you should ask your translation partners before deciding to cooperate with them. Please notice that the list of questions varies depending on your company’s needs and requirements so you will need to customize the questions (add or leave some of them).

Company Profile

Make sure you understand the profile of the translation partner you are going to work with. You should check to see whether they have had experience in handling content in your industry or they have any case studies or testimonials from other clients in the field. These references will help you boost your decision-making process significantly.

Questions you should ask to get such information:

1. Please send us your company profile with a summary of your company history and overview.

2. Please list your company’s offices’ locations.

3. How many years have you been in the business?

4. How many projects in the [client’s industry] field have you completed?

5. How many clients in this field have you served? Please list some of their names.



You cannot afford to have your important data leaked during the translation process. The same goes for your personal information such as name, job title, and email address. Such information should be protected and not disclosed to a third party without your permission. That’s why you need to make sure how your translation partner will handle your data by asking the following two questions:

6. Are you willing to sign an NDA?

7. What are your security and data protection standards?


Translation Services

The services that each translation agency provide is unique. They all have their own focus (specialized languages or industry expertise), working process, and linguist qualifications. All these factors have a direct influence on the quality of your translations.

You can find the most suitable translation services for your projects by asking your translation partners:

8. What language pairs do you provide?

9. What is your translation process?

10. Are your linguists native speakers of the target language?

11. How do you test your linguists for translation skills and subject-matter expertise?

12. How do you guarantee the quality of translations?


Turnaround time and costs

Each translation agency applies a different pricing method. If the price of a translation agency is higher than others, it does not necessarily mean they offer cut-throat prices. Because prices are made based on numerous factors such as translation resources quality, translation quality, or turnaround time.

To find out whether the prices are reasonable or not, ask your partner how they calculate the quote and whether there are any discounts available. Also, with the provided prices, how long will you receive the translations?

Below are some questions related to turnaround time and costs you should ask:

13. How do you calculate a translation quote?

14. Do you offer discounts for high volume projects?

15. How do you calculate the translation turnaround time?

16. Do we have to pay extra fees for rush translation projects?


Translation Tools and Translation Management System

The use of translation tools such as CAT Tools, QC Tools, or machine translation has become an indispensable part of the translation process. These tools play an important role in ensuring that your translated content is consistent and of the highest quality, as well as save you time and reduce translation costs.

You might have some translation tools that you want to use for your project in mind. Making sure your translation partner can support them is important. In case you don’t know much about such tools, asking the following questions will give you some insights before making the decisions on what tools to use:

17. Which CAT Tools do you support?

18. Which tools are used for the quality control step?

19. Please describe your Translation Management System.

20. Which Translation Management Platforms do you support?

21. Does your company have dedicated localization engineers, testers, and translation memory specialists?

22. Does your company offer machine translation and machine translation post-editing (MTPE)?


Customer Services

The majority of translation and localization projects are conducted remotely so it’s not strange if you and your translation provider live in two different time zones. This means you might not receive a response to a request immediately. In case of urgent situations, it might cause some inconveniences. Thus, the translation partner’s ability to support you during and after the project is an important factor to consider.

Below are two aspects of customer services you should ask your translation partner:

23. For urgent situations, will we be able to reach your team?

24. Do you collect customer satisfaction feedback after each project? If so, would you be willing to share a sample of the survey and a summary of recent results with us?

We hope this list of basic questions to ask your translation partner will help you choose the right translation partner easier and less time-consuming. If you are interested in finding out how to test your candidate in the next step, read our tips here.