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The Translation Software and Services for 2019

Saige Driver
, writer
| Updated
May 23, 2018
> Technology

Translation Software and Service Comparisons

Finding the right translation tool is a vital task for companies doing business globally. Translation services simplify and facilitate international business communication. However, incorrectly translated contracts or messages can be awkward, expensive or downright catastrophic.

From international SEO tools to multimedia translation, there is a variety of features businesses should carefully assess. To help you find the best solution for your business, we evaluated dozens of translation services and software to find the best ones for your needs. 

In this guide, we highlight the key features to look for in a translation service or software, how much you should expect to pay, and the best tools for different needs. We chose Babylon Translation Software, inWhatLanguage, One Planet and Straker Translations as our best picks. You can read more about each below, including what features impressed us.

Best Picks


Below are all of our reviews for translation software and services. Our coverage includes reviews of the best translation software and translation services. See all of our reviews below.

State of the Industry

Communicating with international employees and customers can be stressful and difficult for small businesses that hope to cash in on the global market. According to IBISWorld's 2017 Market Research Report of translation services, the industry is expected to continue growing, driven by an increase in globalization and the continued shift toward e-commerce.

The right translation service or software can alleviate language barriers by giving you and your staff the tools to communicate in a timely and effective manner. One solution is to buy and install translation software, which is best for businesses that engage in daily global communication or for first-pass translation. This software typically includes context dictionaries and translation memories, meaning you can save perfect translations and use the same terms again. Most translation software can integrate with email and Microsoft Office applications.

Another option is translation services. These providers employ native language speakers who understand local languages and cultures. Companies that offer this service typically hire translators who are accredited by the American Translator Association or another association. Businesses can choose human translators for their knowledge of specific industries and specialties. Translators are able to translate documents, websites, campaigns, phrases or words in context. As relationships develop, translation services become more accurate.


Pricing structures vary widely. For translation services, pricing is typically quoted for each project, and quoted prices vary. On average, a 250-word English to French translation is about $50. However, the cheapest quotes are less than $40, while the most expensive are more than $100.

Pricing for some translation software is broken down into tiers, with monthly or annual costs increasing as more features are offered. Packages range from free software for basic translations to $16 a month for features such as context dictionaries. Other translation software is available for a one-time price that could range from $39 for basic services to more than $1,000 for advanced features such as integration. When evaluating pricing, you should consider which features you need so you can decide whether the basic service tier or package will meet your needs.

Negotiation Tips

Before purchasing a package or making an agreement with a provider, be sure to try some of these negotiation tips to ensure you're getting the best deal:

  • Find out if the provider offers a discount if you pay for the tool annually rather than monthly.
  • Ask if the provider is willing to match the price of a cheaper competitor.
  • Ask if it offers discounts for multiple projects at a time or throughout a month.

Before signing on the dotted line with any provider, you should understand exactly what you are buying and what features you'll get with the plan. The contract should include everything you agreed on.

What Makes a Great Translation Service?

No matter what type of translation project you have, finding a reputable and reliable translation company is pivotal – your business may depend on it. You may even want to learn more about the vocabulary used when searching for the right translation services. While the type of translation you need is a crucial consideration, here are three other key factors to keep in mind when you seek out a translation agency.

Translations Services: What Kinds of Translations Are Offered?
The translation company you select will largely depend on whether it offers the type of translation you need. A translation agency should boast a range of services that go beyond basic document translation; the best companies provide language translation of web content, multimedia and standard documents. Any translation service you consider should be well versed in the industry your translation falls under. For example, if you need a translation of technical documents, such as manuals or product specifications, the service should have experience translating these types of documents. Likewise, a service should have extensive experience in legal translation if you need legal or certified translation.

Most business translation services offer certified translation of official documents, such as birth certificates and adoption papers. This type of translation is accompanied by an official certification from the translator or translation company certifying that the translation is an accurate and precise translation of the original source document.

The best translation agencies also provide services such as desktop publishing, software localization and language-specific search engine optimization (SEO). Desktop publishing refers to turnkey translation services for printed materials. In addition to actual text translation, the service handles all design elements, such as typesetting and formatting. With desktop publishing, the source files are sent to you complete and print-ready.

Software localization refers to adapting a software application into a different language for a different culture, and language-specific SEO means that the service can help optimize webpages for your target international markets. Additionally, many services provide localization testing and cultural consulting to ensure that your translation makes sense both linguistically and contextually in your target country.

Accreditation: What Helps Determine Quality?
There is no primary governing body over the translation industry, but there are specific industry certifications and affiliations that are relevant to these services. Certifications that are indicative of top-notch translation services include the ISO 9001:2008 and EN 15038 certifications. The ISO certification specifies requirements for quality management systems within an organization. The EN 15038 certification is also a quality standard, but it is specific to translation service providers and set forth by the European Committee for Standardization.

It is equally important to evaluate a translation service's internal quality assurance procedures and translator qualifications. The service should employ translators accredited by the American Translators Association or another professional association. The translators should be native speakers of their target language to ensure both technical and cultural competency. To ensure accurate translations, the service should have multi-level quality assurance procedures and be transparent about what its processes entail.

Many renowned translation services are also compliant with the open standards set by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA). While LISA has officially ceased operations, the organization has released its portfolio of copyrighted standards for open use. These standards help promote consistency, interoperability and quality management within the translation industry.

Support Resources: What Kind of Help Should You Look For?
All translation services provide contact information, but what support resources do they offer that are truly beneficial? If you're looking for a long-term relationship with a translation company, it should assign you a project manager to ensure the service meets your company's specific needs.

Another capability you should look for in a translation service is translation memory technology. Translation memory refers to a linguistic database that captures and saves repetitive phrases for future use. It enables translators to work faster and can lower the cost of your translation projects by eliminating the need to translate repetitive phrases. It is important to note that this technology does not replace human translators; it simply augments translators' skills to provide faster and more accurate translations.

Look for services that also provide an online customer portal where you can track the progress of your translation project and contact your project manager. Other resources you should consider include the speed at which the translation service returns your quotes, customer references that are posted or available on request, and informational articles or blog posts to help you become more familiar with the company's translation services.

The Services on Our Lineup: How We Tested, What We Found

Unlike machine- or computer-generated translations, human-powered translation services understand the subtle cultural nuances of local languages that can alter the meaning of your translation. To assess the companies on our lineup, we ran multiple tests to determine the accuracy of translations. For example, in one test, we took a 250-word page in English and asked for a translation into French. In another test, we asked for a 275-word page written in Spanish and asked for a translation into English.

We also asked for quotes for these translations. Quoted prices varied widely, with an average of around $50 for a 250-word English to French translation. GengoEDGE Professional and InWhatLanguage offered the most reasonably priced quotes at less than $40, while Dynamic Language was the most expensive, at over twice the average price.

However, the results of our tests concluded that price did not predict translation accuracy. Straker Translations, while priced lower than our average cost, scored highest overall in accuracy. Gengo also did well in accuracy, speed and overall value, and One Planet was right behind them. We also combined translation price and service to form a Translation Value score. We scored for how many sets of eyes checked or edited our translation and how many services, like desktop publishing for instance, were included in the quoted price.

Translation Software: What to Look For

The best business translation software recognizes the language you are working with and allows you to convert an assortment of documents types to another language. It offers a variety of languages to choose from and provides good support and a user-friendly interface. It translates email seamlessly, allowing all parties to write in their choice of language and have the email delivered in the language of the recipient. It likewise converts all Word documents, Excel reports and PowerPoint presentations inside their native applications and from the original languages in which they were created. Below are the criteria you can use to help you evaluate these translation software products.

The best document translation software includes a variety of features that enhance your translation experience. Particularly useful features include instant language recognition, batch processing of file folders full of documents, text-to-speech capability to help you learn correct pronunciation and an integrated spell-checker.

Available Languages
Before comparing other software attributes, determine which software supports the languages your company requires. The range of supported languages in the translation software we review goes from one to ninety-nine. Some software contains all supported languages in a single product. Other programs, even those that support a high total number of languages, only offer language pairs   English and Spanish for example   as separately purchased products. Better translation software offers multilingual packages that contain several languages in one program.

Supported Formats & Files
If you plan to translate a wide variety of documents, you need a product that can manage a large selection of file formats. The best software allows you to work inside these various document formats, particularly the popular business programs in the Microsoft Suite. Being able to easily browse internet sites in other languages is also important for research and communication with overseas business partners. And while not many of these applications are Mac compatible, if this is a consideration, we also note that in this section.

Help & Support
The vast majority of software providers have telephone and email support, but some offer more convenient live chat as well. Each provides a range of other customer support options, like FAQs and user forums. In this section, we list details of these options along with ease-of-use information gathered during the live testing of each application.

Common Translation Software and Service Questions & Answers

Have a translation software or service question of your own?
Ask an Expert

How can I succesfully develop my business as a freelance translator?

7 responses
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Hi Katrien, There are some great recommendations provided below, but I do agree with Gary. In your question I don't see a few key factors 1) What language(s) are you translating? 2) What is your goal as a freelance translator: a) Who do you want to work for? Do you want to work for large corporations or do you want to work with solo-entreprenuers? b) What are you thinking of charging? This will definitely narrow down your potential client. c) Have you done...

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Rather than focusing on managing the differences, in my experience successful teams and business partners leverage and value them. When this applies not only to the language or cultural variances, and crosses over economic and position titles, you can almost guarantee successful results, projects and better ideas. I've seen both success and failure in helping form and implement mobile projects in agri-business. When the end users input and feedback are valued and included, the business gains...

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It may sound out of place, but it's been true for me. I watched and memorized a lot of stand-up comedy jokes. (i.e. Seinfeld, Carrey, Connolly, etc.). I'm Mexican and lived my whole life in Mexico. I studied English in elementary school and needed it in college, but the truth is that it was until I started working in Mexico for a U.S. company that I found myself capable of breaking the ice with jokes that I liked, while imitating the accent (phonetic memory, not just learning the language). ...

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If you have a very large volume, you should work with the translation agency. They can provide fast translation in a short period of time. I highly recommend <a href="">Ad Gloriam</a>. I work with this agency many years.

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List of the The Translation Software and Services for 2019