Secrets to Find a Reliable Chinese Translation Vendor

by Chao Cheng, Thursday, March 10th, 2016 at 3:03 pm

(Chinese Translation, Doing Business in China, Marketing in China)

Finding a Reliable Chinese Translation Vendor

is not an easy job

Quality Chinese translations do not come free or at a cheap price.

Comparing quotes from different vendors is always a headache.

The wise way is to identify the one who provides the highest value.

  • Quality processes
  • Smooth communication
  • Large pool of experienced translators
  • Transparent and reasonable price
  • On time delivery

Real value comes from professional and accurate translations that help you communicate your brand values.

The damage to your reputation can be irrevocable if your choose only considers price.

Secrets to Find a Reliable Chinese Translation Vendor

Secrets to Find a Reliable Chinese Translation Vendor (Photo by Chao: The Micky Mouse at the gate of Shanghai Disney Store Clock Tower together with Oriental Pearl Tower)


Questions to Ask 

  • Are they familiar with the China market?

Doing business in China is not simple.

With the help of the right Chinese translation partner, it will be much easier.

Experienced project managers will help you avoid many unnecessary mistakes in your texts, either in Chinese business etiquette or Chinese consumer behaviors.

  • What languages do they translate? 

Some agencies are extremely specialized, only working in certain language pairs or only accepting source texts on specific subjects. Others offer a broader range of services or support more languages.

The key to find a good Chinese translation service is to make sure the agency is really experienced in Chinese, project managers in some global translation agencies can not speak Chinese can can not even tell the differences between simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese , it is really a gamble!

  • What subjects do they accept?

Find out whether your subject is included in their expertise (subject list). 

Basically a decent company will not accept work if they feel they can’t provide good translation.

However, in some cases, give the project manager some sufficient time and he/she might help you locate some new resources who can meet your needs.

  • Who is the contact person?

Some agencies have a single point of contact, some have multiples.

What’s important is you should always communicate directly with the project manager who is actively handling your project.

  • How will the communication be and How do you know the progress?

Communicating with your project manager should be convenient, and get quick replies from messages or emails. 

You should be able to trace the job status easily.

  • How do they select linguists? How do they verify the expertise and experience of the chosen translators?

Like all skilled professionals, all linguists have different skill levels and experience. Before sending translators work, an agency should screen potential translators by reviewing their resumes, evaluating samples of their previous work, and verify the information.

A reliable Chinese translation vendor shall have a stable platform to do this as a regular job.

Some vendors take your order without appropriate resources and they are just scrambling to find a qualified translator for you and waste your valuable time. 

  • How do they select linguists for your Chinese translation project? Are they Native Speakers?

The best available linguists for your project shall be chosen according to your language pair, subject, service level, and schedule. 

Native speaker is the basic rule for good quality. 

Only exception exists when there are not sufficient resources for your specific subject and language pair.

  • What is the Quality Assurance (QA) process?

No person is perfect, it’s important that the translation be reviewed and proofread by a second person to catch errors, omissions or misunderstandings of the source text.

There shall be a senior reviewer or proofreader involved in the subject matter-related technical questions.

  • How do they determine the pricing and delivery time needed for a particular project?

Figure out the types of rate and whether there will be additional fees for formatting or other services.

Figure out the key factors affecting the pricing and delivery time.

  • How quick you can get the quote and estimate delivery time?

Some agency can provide instant quote, it is good and transparent.

Verify the price and delivery time for big orders with the project manager.

If an agency can’t or won’t give you a simple cost indication in a short time, don’t waste time on it.

  • Why the price is so low?

Be suspicious of cheap rates.

Chinese translation agencies that compete mainly on cost inevitably use cheap inferior translators.

It is the strategy of most agencies out there.

Theory of GIGO “Garbage in and garbage out” will seriously ruin your business reputation in the China market.

  • Why the delivery time is so quick?

Be careful of very fast turnaround time.

Don’t be fooled by most marketing messages of fast delivery.

Quality translation needs time to check the terms and verify the facts.

Agencies who offer very quick delivery time are either rushing the work, or splitting the job between multiple translators.

The best way to ensure consistency is to use one translator and one proofreader.

If you can afford the time, never rush.

  • After the job delivery, How will they handle the feedback?

A reputable agency will allow your independent review and accept the translation within a certain period of time.

Any feedback you offer should be used to update the TM and glossary for future use.

  • Who are the successful clients and what do they say?

A reputable agency will have many satisfied customers.

Check their testimonials. Their example work, documents, websites, brochures are all good things to study on.

Start a test job

  • Place a small order to test the water.
  • Use a document that reflects your typical translation needs.
  • Don’t forget to provide necessary background information.
  • You can feel all the process and how it works.

Establish Long-term Cooperation

A stable long-term partnership will definitely help you save time and money. 



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Chao Cheng

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Chao is currently China managing director of WebInterpret, a leading provider of global e-commerce solutions. Through its unique internalization platform the company enables domestic online traders to become international online traders. Chao has been responsible for the China market entry and all operations in China.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of sinostep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

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