3 ways to better manage multiple translation vendors

If you’re a global company, you likely have multiple translation vendors that you turn for content translation. In fact, according to leading translation industry analyst firm Common Sense Advisory, 95 percent of companies have more than one translation vendor; and of that 95 percent, 8 percent have more than 30 vendors.

That’s a lot of translation vendors!

Although it may seem like having all of these vendors around will help make your job easier, managing multiple translation vendors could actually be making your company’s translation program needlessly complicated and time-consuming.  To make sure your various translation vendors are not making your process bulky and inefficient, there are a few things you’ll want to implement on your end.

Create content consistency

As a global brand, it’s truly important that your organization’s messaging and services are upheld across all languages. Juggling multiple translation vendors makes this particularly difficult, since writing styles and expertise could vary significantly amongst translation vendors and the linguists they hire to work on your translations. To help maintain brand consistency, create style guides and glossaries that each of your translation vendors can utilize. This will give all localization teams a much better sense of your business’s brand and typical tone of voice.

Equally important to global messaging consistency is to keep a centralized repository of all of your company’s translation memory. Some translation vendors try to keep your translation memory separate from the pack, which is only harming your translation program. Having a centralized translation memory that can be leveraged by each of your translation vendors will keep your messaging consistent across all projects; not to mention it can save you a significant amount of money by allowing you to reuse already-translated segments from the vendor of your choosing. Remember, your translation memory should always belong to you – not to the vendor you choose to partner with.

Eliminate program inefficiencies

Keeping track of vendor communications and project statuses can be a major hassle if you work with numerous translation vendors – especially if multiple points of contact are assigned to your translation projects. By using a translation management system that all of your vendors can log into, you can centrally administer and manage all of the translation projects you outsource – eliminating any duplicated efforts or project inconsistencies. From submission to delivery, translation management systems also give you the ability to track every part of your translation program, so you can be sure your projects are being delivered on time no matter which translation vendor you’re working with. Yet, be sure the translation management system you choose to work with can be opened up to all of your translations vendors – something not all systems can guarantee.

Similarly, if certain departments in your company already work within a critical business application (such as a content management system) certain translation management systems can be linked directly into your internal system to help completely automate the translation process. This way your team won’t have to leave the workbench they are familiar with to request translation projects and collaborate with different translation vendors.

Assign a program coordinator

Global companies that face the complexity of a disorganized translation program may feel like having multiple vendors is the sole predicament. However, the issue may not be the fact that you have multiple translation vendors, but rather how they are managed. When working with multiple vendors, it’s important to assign a translation program manager who can oversee your translation memory, projects and all translation vendors, and also report on your company’s overall cost containment and return-on-investment. By doing so, you’ll have a company-wide understanding of how your translation program is being executed in each of the departments requesting translations – allowing your organization to make educated decisions regarding your translation initiatives.

If your company doesn’t have the time and resources to assign one person as your translation program coordinator, things can get quite messy in a hurry. Certain translation vendors understand this, and that’s why they offer managed services. Working as an extension of your organization, a managed services option provides the services of a localization expert who can help direct and coordinate your translation program across all of your translation vendors – so you don’t have to hire specialists or add to your current team’s workload.


Managing multiple translation vendors doesn’t have to be an ongoing annoyance. Follow these three practices, and your translation program will be a lot more orderly – even with several translation vendors to keep track of.

Do you manage multiple translation vendors at your company? If so, how do you keep track of corporate translation efficiencies? Share your experiences with us below.