Three Alarms Indicating That It Is Time To Change Your Translation Provider

Every morning the same thing happens. The alarm clock rings at 7 and, without thinking, I press the “snooze” button to numb a little more. After a while, the alarm goes off again. Snooze again.

This battle with the clock repeats itself for a long time. Until it rings one last time and I realize it’s now or never. I can not ignore it anymore. I must get up if I do not want to be late for work.

This scene is replicated even when we are awake, that is, in many aspects of life. All the time, symbolic alarms ring or imaginary warning signs emerge in certain situations.

At first we discard or reject them. But if they persist, then it is time to act. They are problems, details that annoy us, things that are not working properly.

In business this happens almost daily. The ideal world where everything works perfectly, where nothing has to be adjusted, does not exist.

Of course, here we will concentrate on our area, translation.

Have you worked with a translation provider for some time? Are you a solo translator, a group of translators and editors, or a Chinese translation agency? Has there been a problem?  Are there signs that I’m doing something wrong? Maybe it’s time to change your  provider?

 time to change your translation provider

Let’s see 3 alarms that indicate that it is time to rethink of the relation:

1- Bad communication 
2- Deadlines not respected 
3- Jobs not delivered correctly

Let’s analyze each one. Is there any remedy for them?



Is your Chinese translator impossible to get in touch with via Skype? Does it take time to answer emails and calls? Do you know who to turn to?

As a customer, you want to see the finished work, as soon as possible. And being on the other side, not knowing what is being done or how you are working, can be exasperating.

For the provider, the story may be different. Depending on how you look at things, you may think you are responding correctly and on time. Well, the perception of time is not the same for everyone.

Ask for a meeting with your  translator or general manager (if you work with an agency) and raise questions about how the two parties are communicating.

Do not neglect the signals. If trying to organize this meeting also becomes complex, well, the alarm has reached a critical point.



Does your supplier constantly ask for delivery times to be extended? Something is not working well.

These deadlines were defined by you in relation to a certain planning, weren’t they?

True, extraordinary situations can arise that imply delays sometimes. But if this becomes ordinary, stop it as soon as possible.

Caution: If this alarm continues to ring, the employment relationship may become unsustainable.




Have you ever received your project realizing that the delivery is not correct?

The failures can be several:

– There are missing pages or files 
– The layout is not messy
– There are translation errors that a bilingual colleague student could spot
– You lack the translation memory that you requested

How to proceed? Of course, you should request the delivery as soon as possible and notify your supplier of its non-conformity.

You may also require:

– Explanations about the translation process and its development. 
– Extra control measures (for example, that before the delivery, the project manager uses a checklist to check that each step has been carried out in the correct way).


In reality, these are problems that can arise in any type of interaction between people and in jobs with a certain level of dynamism.

The problem is when the corrections we requested seem to have no effect and the alarms do not stop ringing.

Talking with your language provider and finding a balance between what you intend and what they can provide you with is the most important aspect.

But if both parties do not reach an agreement, or you do not like the service, well, maybe it’s time to look for the exit door and change the provider.

Remember: do not go back to the ” snooze ” option and act.