Translation has its challenges (getting the nuances of language right, for one thing).
You need a partner—a translation company with software and services—that can help you maximize your cost savings and minimize the time and energy necessary to deliver accurately-translated content.
But with well over 100 language service providers out there, which one do you go with? That’s the question we’ll answer today.
The 7 best translation companies
Here are the top providers of translation services. Let's see how they stack up against one another.
First up is Smartling, our end-to-end translation solution designed to grow with your content. Not only are we trusted by hundreds of brands like Samsung, Shopify, and Canva, but we’ve consistently been rated #1 on G2 for Translation Management. In fact, we were the #1 enterprise translation management system for 15 consecutive quarters!
Our software and professional translation services make it easier to deliver translated content to global audiences in their native languages. Smartling’s centralized platform makes the process easy. Customers achieve improved time to market by up to 50% and reduced translation cost by up to 70% without compromising results. We have a 100% translation quality guarantee.
- Human translation by professional translators who are both native speakers and local experts
- Professional services for onboarding, migration, web proxy maintenance, and more
- Day-to-day management of your account with Managed Services
Languages: Unlimited language pairs
- Marketing materials including website content, emails, and lead magnets
- Applications, product documentation, and user experience copy
- Customer support content including FAQs and help documentation
- And more…
Industries: Marketing, finance, legal, government, security, procurement, gaming, and more. Smartling can work with companies of different sizes and industries. We will find you a personalized solution, depending on your needs.
Company based in: United States & Ireland
As you can see, Smartling is truly full-service. Need limited support now and a lot more in the future? Already involved in or preparing for a large-scale translation project? In any case, we have a solution for you.
With nearly 30 years of experience and 10,000+ native-speaking linguists to its name, this company is often a top search result for translation and localization. In 2021, TransPerfect generated more revenue than any global language service provider, coming in at over $1.1 billion. Its 2021 merger with Semantix—another top provider of translation and interpretation services—makes it worth considering for large-scale translation efforts.
Services: Translation and language services (document translation, AI and machine translation, etc.), content creation and management, transcription, and multilingual customer support
Content types: Website content, training and e-learning materials, videos, mobile app UX copy, etc.
Industries: Life sciences, retail and ecommerce, legal, travel and hospitality, technology, media and entertainment, digital marketing and advertising, etc.
Company based in: United States
Next is RWS, which has translated millions of words for companies like Coca-Cola and Nielsen. Although RWS’s teams claim to have “deep experience in almost every sector,” it specializes in regulated industries.
Services: Translation, transcreation, interpretation, and globalization testing
Languages: RWS’s CAT tool Trados Studio supports over 450 languages
Content types: Marketing copy, e-learning content, video content, etc.
Industries: Government, aerospace and defense, industrial manufacturing, automotive, energy, telecom, etc.
Company based in: United Kingdom
Lionbridge is another popular translation company. It handles more than 4,000 projects daily across over 250 different markets. Its versatility has no doubt played a part in racking up 2,100+ customers around the world.
Services: Translation, software localization, interpretation, multilingual SEO and digital marketing, content optimization, website localization
Languages: 350+ languages supported (and 2,000+ language pairs)
Content types: Website content, videos
Industries: Consumer packaged goods, ecommerce, technology, legal services, retail, etc.
Company based in: United States
5. Summa Linguae Technologies
Next is Summa Linguae. Its mission is to “help global, content-rich companies with any multilingual data challenge.” To this end, the company offers data solutions and localization technology and services. Not to mention managed services such as localization project management and multilingual help desk support.
Services: Translation, transcreation, localization testing verification and proofreading, and multilingual data analysis
Content types: Financial, legal, medical, and patent or intellectual property-related documents, technical documents, and audio
Industries: Finance, legal, medical, construction, agriculture, and automotive
Company based in: Poland
Awatera is another top translation company. With thousands of translators across 130 countries, it serves over 5,000 corporate clients and translates millions of words yearly.
Services: Translation, interpretation, localization and localization testing, certification and legalization, manufactured language services, and video production
Languages: 80+ supported languages
Content types: Website content, multimedia files, mobile apps, games, software products
Industries: Pharmacy, patents, events, oil and gas, engineering, etc. Company based in: United States
7. LanguageLine Solutions
Last is LanguageLine Solutions. Its philosophy is simple: if content isn't easily understandable in English, it will be no better when translated. So, the company has a division and trademarked process for ensuring clarity across communications.
Services: Interpretation, translation, language interpreter testing and training
Languages: 345+ supported languages
Content types: Websites, documents, technical documentation, multimedia, training materials, software, etc.
Industries: Healthcare, financial services, government, insurance, etc.
Company based in: United States
5 questions to ask before partnering with a translation company
The above are among the best translation agencies out there today. But that doesn’t mean you should pick one at random and expect good results. You need a company that meets the needs of your business specifically. Especially if you plan to scale your translation efforts or have enterprise-level translation needs currently.
There are many questions you can ask to help you make the right decision. You can find several of these in our Sample Translation RFP if you’re interested. Here are a handful of the most important questions:
“What’s your unique value proposition?” Before you ask this, define your biggest needs. Besides accurate translation, for example, is specialization in your industry essential? Asking each company you’re considering what sets them apart from the competition can help answer this. If their answers align with your needs, that’s a positive sign.
“What are your areas of expertise?” Many translation companies offer similar products and services, but they all have different areas of focus. So, educate yourself on what expertise you need a partner to bring to the table. Then, ask about the areas in which potential candidates have the deepest expertise and see if you find a match.
“Which of your customers have been most similar to our business?” The translation company that’s been around the longest or generated the most revenue is not automatically the best. Especially if they’re not accustomed to working with companies like yours. Sometimes you can’t beat the expertise that comes from hands-on work with similar businesses.
“What products and services do you offer? How do they align with our company’s needs?” Do your research on what services and products are most likely to help you accomplish your objectives. (This can help you narrow down your list of translation companies and prevent you from buying services you don’t need.) Then, confirm what the companies you’re speaking with offer, and why those offerings are or aren't right for your business.
“What security measures do you have in place?” The security of the info you’ll translate and all personal data available to your translation company are important. Ask about compliance certifications and security measures to be sure your data will be protected.
These are just a few key points to consider when considering a translation company. Being thorough in your evaluation is key.
How to choose the right translation company for you
Beyond asking thoughtful questions, there’s more you can do to find the company that's right for your translation needs.
Narrow it down to a handful of agencies, get quotes, and narrow it down further to just three. Then, give all three the same small test project. Evaluate the quality of the translations with the help of native speakers. Reflect on your experience working with each company. After this process, you’ll have a much better idea of which company you can count on long-term.
Just remember that it’s not all about your current needs. You need a company that can adapt and grow with you as those needs evolve. This is one reason a true full-service translation solution like Smartling is so valuable.
You can translate any type of content with the help of our translation management software, Neural Machine Translation Hub, and human translators. And you can do so for a fraction of the cost—and in a fraction of the time—it would take to handle translation manually. Curious how Smartling can help you reach your translation and localization goals now and in the future? We’ll be glad to chat about it with you. Schedule a meeting with us today!