You get what you pay for, and sometimes other people also get to keep what you pay for.

Law firms ordering translations from large translation brokers in the US should remember that they have essentially no control over who does their translations and in what country the translations are done.

Yes, the Internet is convenient and brings together supply and demand separated by great distances. But do you want your sensitive litigation or patent prosecution documents to be sent to China, to be translated by entities and people you (and often your US-based translation broker) can never know? I would think not, but many law firms using US companies purporting to do translations probably have no idea where their documents are being sent to be translated.

You might be receiving letters of accuracy certification attached to translations, but these are very often not signed by a translator and, when you see a translator’s name, we have discovered in numerous cases that it is a translator who had nothing to do with the translation or is a totally fictional name. In general, the person signing the certification letter is often a non-translator who has no ability to know or attest to the accuracy of the translation you were sold. It’s best you know what is going on after you place a translation order.

Avoiding the above-noted risk is not that difficult. One way is to engage with a translation company that actually does translations; most translations are done by a few large translation brokers that don’t do any translations. Your translation provider should also commit never to sending your documents to high-risk locations or to places that use translators that they cannot identify.