How to Choose the Right Translation & Subtitling Vendor

Updated: October 14, 2021

Lightning boltSearching for a video translation & subtitling vendor can be overwhelming, but not all vendors were created equal. After some time in the industry, we’ve gained expert insight on what to look for in a vendor – services required, cost-effectiveness, accuracy, and more should all be considered.

Translated video content has the potential to reach a global audience and increase your brand’s visibility, and the right vendor can play a role in making this happen. Keep reading to learn more about what you should be looking for in a translation & subtitling vendor:

Questions to Ask a Translation Vendor



Naturally, one of the most important factors for consideration in choosing a translation & subtitling vendor is quality. 

The industry standard for caption & transcript accuracy is 99% – while there’s no comparable industry measure for subtitles & translation, they should still create an equitable viewing experience. According to user-powered subtitling platform & 3Play translation partner Amara… 

High-quality translated subtitles should:
  • Not cover too large an area on-screen
  • Include natural, logical line breaks
  • Allow viewers to follow the video’s plot, even if muted
  • Allows viewers to read 1 whole subtitle before the next appears

Direct (“word-for-word”) translations don’t always work, and some words or phrases in the original language don’t have a matching equivalent in the target language. That’s why translations should always be done by professional linguists, so that any cultural nuances in your video content can be accurately captured. 

3Play guarantees a 99.6% measured accuracy rate across the board, and our translation services are seamlessly integrated with our usual captioning & transcription services – which means we guarantee the same level of accuracy with our translations as we do our transcripts. Additionally, we use linguists with industry-specific expertise across topics like technology, healthcare, education, and more to ensure that our translations read as if they were originally written in the target language. 

When looking for vendors, don’t hesitate to ask for examples of translations they’ve done or even test a file with them. This can be a great way to assess whether or not a vendor meets your expectations on quality.



girl on computer Finding a vendor with consistently high quality is important, but almost more important is finding one that can maintain that quality, regardless of content quantity. Some vendors offer faster turnaround times, but will stipulate limits on file sizes or the amount of content that can be guaranteed within that window. This means that quality is altered by quantity, and as a result, your video’s transcripts or subtitles may not be as accurate as possible. 

On the contrary, 3Play has worked hard to design a robust video accessibility solution that provides consistent quality at any quantity. Our system was built to handle large volumes of video uploads per day (without notice), and our flexible workflows & user-friendly account system ensure that there’s no transcription job we can’t take on. 

But we don’t stop with our system – we aim to create an accessibility partnership with each of our users, so all your video accessibility & compliance needs are met in one place. 3Play users will always receive the same level of dedicated onboarding, individual account management, and white-glove support, regardless of what services you require.  



Regardless of how much content there is to be translated, everyone’s subtitling needs vary, from turnaround times to output options.

When searching for a translation & subtitling vendor, look for one that allows their users to choose deadline turnaround windows for files and projects. Ideally, turnaround specification will be a practically integrated workflow feature (for example, included in the content upload process rather than separately emailing the vendor to specify turnaround). 

Speaking of workflows, it’s a good idea to find a vendor that provides an intuitive user experience, making the upload & download process seamless. If your content is hosted on another video player/platform (like YouTube, Wistia, and more), a compatible integration will link that account to your vendor’s account. This automates the transcription process – which means transcripts & subtitles will automatically post back to your video, wherever it’s hosted – to save you time by eliminating any unnecessary steps.

At 3Play, our innovative transcription process is so easy to “set and forget,” you (almost) won’t even notice we’re there. With a multitude of file format outputs, video platform integrations, and foreign language translations available to choose from, we give users the flexibility to individually customize our future-proof solution – so as long as your translation & subtitling needs stay the same, so will our service & delivery.

 Download the free translation vendor checklist ➡️ 



Another aspect to consider when researching a vendor is customer support. 

Scaling your translation workflow can sometimes be complicated, particularly the more customized it becomes. It’s imperative that you have a dedicated and reliable team to support your needs and concerns.  

We recommend choosing a vendor that can be easily reached and offers clear guidelines for your questions or concerns, like support documentation. 

At 3Play, we offer a support team and a dedicated account management team. Customers with complex workflows are assigned an account manager that provides in-depth, one-on-one support for their unique needs

You can always ask a vendor how customers rank them for support. It’s likely that reliable vendors will have surveyed their customers on satisfaction or have publicly displayed reviews. 



For many organizations prospecting a potential vendor, pricing may be a significant factor. 

Organizations typically receive an annual or quarterly budget, and if they’re new to the translation process, more often than not, it’s not factored into the budget. This may make finding a solution much more challenging.  

It’s simply not enough for a vendor to be cheap. The age-old saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more applicable than when it comes to the translation process. 

A good vendor will provide you with a solution that doesn’t break the bank while never sacrificing quality. They should offer affordable solutions and may even provide discounts for a large amount of video content.  

Vendors should also provide you with information about how their price is determined. Many factors can go into this, including the process, features, customizations, etc. 

At 3Play, we believe in providing our customers with a high-quality and cost-effective solution. Since our process uses a combination of humans and technology, we’re able to keep our costs affordable.


Want to learn more?

How to select the right translation vendor! Discover the best questions to ask. Download the checklist

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