Translation services are an essential industry today given how connected the world has become today. The language barriers between countries are not as insurmountable as they were in the past: there are plenty of freelancers and organizations providing translation services. If you are looking for such a service for whatever purpose, here are some criteria you might want to pay attention to:
Specialization – specialization is one of the aspects you need to focus on with regards to translation services. Many freelancers tend to boast of specific specialization in certain sectors owing to years of work focused on a specific sector or language. In the case of large translation organizations, you might be able to find sectors within the organization that focus on one specific specialization as well as the more general purpose-based translators. Specialization comes largely in two formats:
Industry-based – industry-based or sector-based specialization basically refers to a specialization in one industry: economic, medical, engineering, law, etc. for example, law and legal professions tend to have more Latin terms; music-related professions tend to have more Italian terms, etc. Translators can accordingly specialize themselves in any one of the many industries and have the ability to understand and translate these Italian specific terms.
Language-based – the other form of specialization is language-based. Just as the name suggests, this means that the translator basically focuses on a specific language (or languages from the same family). This means you will German translation services, Italian translation services, Spanish translation services, etc.
The degree of formality – another aspect you need to focus on when picking a translation service is the degree of formality you are expecting from the service. This is basically tied with the question of whether you need any specific certifications, and who the target audience is. For example, if you are looking for translator services to provide certifications of your education to a foreign university, you will be looking for certified translation services. Similarly, if you are planning to translate company materials to another offshore company or branch of your company, you will be looking for semi-formal translations (especially if is within the same company).
Quality versus quantity – the next point you will be focusing on is whether quality or quantity takes priority for you. Of course, you will be requesting a degree of quality to all work undertaken by the translation service, but this point depends on the work load you are expecting to have the translation service accept. For example, a lot of files that need to be translated within a short span of time will focus less of quality than a few papers would for being translated in the same time span.