The internet puts global markets on your doorstep, but how do you reach customers in other countries if you cannot speak their language? This is where translation services come to the fore, to present your business needs in local terms around the world.
However, it's not enough to machine-translate from English – translation services for business must have a large degree of human input, to ensure that any translation is not just literal but also works according to different idioms and idiosyncrasies.
This is the only way to properly reach global audiences, and avoid embarrassing miscommunication, especially when you need to get your marketing message and online retail properly presented for different language markets. This is where website localization becomes essential, in order to make sure that saying what you mean is the same as meaning what you say.
The challenge increases when you need technical documents translating, not least with legal or medical information, and even instruction and training manuals.
Luckily there are a number of companies who can provide online translation services. Quality can vary, with so we've listed only those translation service companies that have established themselves through brand recognition and accreditation. Here then are the best in translation service companies.
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Absolute Translations works with global brands to provide professional translations in over 200 different languages. Clients include American Express, Deutsche Bank, Virgin Atlantic, JP Morgan, and Pizza Hut. The company has headquarters in London, and has offices in France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal.
Absolute Translations works to the principle of working with local translators, with all work undergoing further human-user proof-reading. A range of services are offered, from simple translation to multilingual typesetting, as well as audio transcription and video subtitles.
The company works across multiple business sectors, and can handle technical documentation for legal services, financial industries, market research, as well as for the medical profession.
Absolute Translations has a string of accreditations, not least ISO certification, and has almost a thousand reviews posted to Trustpilot which are almost all positive.
Pricing isn't provided on the website, but there's an easy to use form you can use to ask for a quote.
Bubbles is a British company that services big brand names across the world, and has 3,800 translators around the globe to provide translation services in any of over 280+ languages. Clients include Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Lego, Levi's , Intel, and Disney.
The company provides a whole range of business services, including website, email, and translation for apps. The company can also work with business cards, contracts, brochures, and instruction manuals.They also work across a number of industries, not least marketing, manufacturing, technology, automative, and also charities such as the Red Cross.
As well as being accredited in the UK and Europe, Bubbles also provides a lot of helpful information on its website, not least a 28-page guide to buying translation services, as well as a number of help and advice articles that feature marketing and strategy discussions for embracing world markets.
The company doesn't advertise a flat rate service, but it does provide an easy to use quote service on its website.
Alta provides a wide range of specialist language services, not least for providing translations, but also interpreting, as well as language testing and training. The company was founded in 1980 and has its headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Clients include IBM, GE, Delta, Blue Cross, and Walmart.
The company offers a numbers of translation services, from translating documents, websites, and software. Key industry areas include documents, legal, HR, technical, marketing, and general business translation services.
Additionally, Alta also offers translation services over the phone. It also provides a range of interpreting services, which can be provided on-site, over the phone, or via video, as well as in conferencing situations. On top of that, they can also provide language testing for businesses, not least for healthcare, legal, and government agencies. Alta can also provide language training for employees.
Alta advertises nearly 100 languages that it works with on its website, with a third of these having featured pages. However, Alta invite prospective customers to contact them if the language required is not listed.
Although the company advertises set prices for language testing, it doesn't advertise a flat rate per word for translation services, and instead advises that this can vary according to the language and the technical difficulty of the work to be translated. However, they provide a quote form on most pages, making it easy to contact them for a price.
Day Translations provides general translation, transcription, and interpreting services and can work with over 100 languages. Headquartered in New York, Day Translations has multiple offices across the US, as well as in Dubai, France, Israel, China, and India. Clients include such as Amazon, AT&T, Fox News, Nickelodeon, Bank of Americam and HBO.
The company offers a number of translation services for a range of industry sectors, not least legal services, healthcare, technology, finance, automotive, retail, and travel, as well as offering both academic and literary translation services. Day Translations can also provide voice-over and subtitling services.
There are also a number of interpretation services offered, not least in person, over the phone, and for conferencing, plus there are opportunities to provide localized language training and tests. Day Translations is also accredited and a member of a number of industry bodies, and can provide certified translations where required.
As with similar companies, there are no flat-rate fees advertised for the translation services, but Day Translation makes it easy to contact them for a quote.
Multilingual Connections provides a range of language services across the areas of translation, transcription, multimedia dubbing, and interpreting. Founded in 2005 and based around Chicago, the company specializes in 77 languages, and clients include Google, NBC, Penn State, Four Seasons, and airbnb.
The company offers a range of translation services, not least for marketing and market research, legal and law enforcement, technical, museum and cultural translation. They can also provide additional language services, not least for focus group, interview and ethnographic transcription, as well as corporate training and website localization.
As part of its wider raft of services, Multilingual Connections also provides a number of multimedia options, not least audio recording and dubbing for different languages, as well as subtitling and subtitle translations, and multilingual desktop publishing.
Altogether, Multilingual Connections is one of the smaller translation service companies listed here, but is by no means less professional and it has the brand client support to prove it. Although it lists fewer languages than other companies, it's worth noting that it's better for a company to work to its strengths, rather than attempt to over-reach itself.
As usual, no flat rate fees are provided, but there's a button to request a quote on every page of the website.
GlobalLink helps organizations break down borders with website and software localization and professional translation services.
The service offers a string of applications built to manage the obstacles of localization. Each application can function independently or as part of an integrated globalization management system (GMS) to drive efficiency across the board for organizations looking to expand into foreign markets.
These apps include an IT solution for launching and maintaining multilingual websites, a localization platform that provides customized workflows, CMS integration, and multi-vendor management, a translation memory solution, plus a review portal. There's also a web-based management tool that allows translation managers to modify, review, search or delete existing terms to maintain a consistent company message.
If your organization is seeking a longer-term solution to translating communications and penetrating foreign markets, the wealth of services available with GlobalLink makes it a worthy candidate. You can grab a quote via the website.
Focusing on straight translations rather than business localization tools, Pairaphrase applies its specialist technology to translating 57 different languages for professionals.
The platform’s secure file translator tool enables organizations to batch upload and translate multiple files at a time and is able to process 24 different file types, including PowerPoint, AutoCAD, Excel, InDesign, and scanned documents. There is also a plugin available to work directly in Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office products.
For smaller batches of text, the translation wizard tool allows users to securely copy and paste their text before scrubbing all data clean on exiting the application, storing it within the organization’s translation memory bank.
Another handy feature comes in the form of the voice-over translation, which enables users to upload a script file and receive the translated version as an MP3 or WAV file in 18 different languages. Pairaphrase also includes real-time collaboration tools that allow teams to work together no matter where they are.
Prices start from $ 125 per month.
Text United has built a cloud-based platform for all your translating and localization needs. Bringing together outsourced and in-house professional translators, it promises “consistent and quality translation” that outdoes the service offered by agencies working in the same market.
Text United provides a multi-faceted environment for teams to work together on projects while monitoring and editing translations throughout. These range from simple text translations for your website to complex software localizations.
Its UI is slick, modern and intuitive, allowing users to focus on the nitty gritty of their projects rather than spending time figuring out the software. Adding to the convenience is integration with third-party platforms such as Dropbox, Github, Bitbucket, SharePoint and Outlook.
Even Text United’s basic plans, starting from $ 65 per month, include features such as an overlay editor, translation memory, terminology management, machine translation and multilingual SEO support, while other tools like API support, data migration and platform integration come further up the scale.
Focusing on the sizeable task of software and service localization, PhraseApp enables organizations to collaborate with translators in a simple, fast and transparent manner. The platform is powered by API-driven software that extracts language data from source code and makes it available for localization through an online editor.
Users operate their projects from an easy-to-use dashboard that offers a real-time status of the whole translating process at a glance. You can keep track of new tasks, missing translations and texts that require proofreading with just a few clicks. When you’re away from the dashboard, PhraseApp allows you to receive updates on translations and comments via email, in-app notifications or through integrated messengers like Slack.
Adjusting translations is aided by a useful search function that can identify all text resources containing a certain word for a quick fix in multiple areas, while proof reading features enable other translators on the platform to swiftly verify text if required.
Prices start at $ 170 per month for up to five users.
Geoworkz by Lionbridge pitches its translation software at freelancers, agencies and enterprises alike, with a range of tools that support large-scale translations and localization projects.
Dubbed the Translation Workspace, features include a live assets tool which provides live updates to all translations, glossaries and review packages. It also offers project management tools like asset aliasing, which controls individual or group access to all live assets, thus protecting customer security.
The software comes kitted out with numerous collaboration tools, including its live, online interface which allows users to review and comment on projects. The service integrates with GeoWorkz Marketplace, a job site for multilingual experts, helping you find resources, service providers and to collaborate with other subscribers. To help you audit everything going through the platform, a reporting and analytics feature includes stats to measure costs, productivity, project scope and more.
Despite the solid range of features, the Geoworkz software feels a little old fashioned and clunky compared to other services, so it may be worth trying the free trial before committing. Price plans aimed at freelancers start from $ 11per month, agency packages at $ 56 per month, while enterprise offerings start at $ 290 per month.
Other translation software to consider
Lokalize does what it says on the tin, localizing and translating mobile apps and web content for companies big and small. The service allows clients to upload localization files, then edit and translate their copy with either their own translators or Lokalise's professionals.
Another market player is Transifex, a cloud-based platform that localizes websites, web apps and mobile apps. It brings together communities and groups to collaborate from one place, where roles can be assigned and projects managed collaboratively through to completion.
Crowdin targets developers with its web-based service that facilitates the translation of mobile apps, web apps, games, support documentation and more, to aid expansion to the global market.
OneSky is another cloud-based translation service for localizing apps, games and websites. It translates projects both big and small, from freelancer to enterprise level, with over 50 languages covered by its ‘hand-picked’ team of translators.
Finally, we have MotionPoint, which specializes in translating and localizing websites and software, but also uses ‘complementary technologies’ for producing translated copy for social media, sales material, digital marketing and offline use.