Erin Vang, PMP
Principal Pragmatist, GlobalPragmatica
Localization and translation are almost always outsourced, and for many good reasons. Vendor management is therefore crucial to any localization or translation program, and it starts with vendor selection. Every aspect of vendor management—the financial and legal relationship, communications, project coordination, risk planning, and so on—will be easier if you start by taking the time to find the vendor or vendors that are best-suited for your needs. A huge number of companies are eager to have your business, most of them will bend over backwards to adapt their processes to your needs, and many of them are truly excellent. But one size does not fit all. The best possible vendor for one company might be a lousy fit for your company.
If I had to get it down to one sentence, my advice would be this:
Don't go by price, go by who understands your needs the best.
If you have time for more than one sentence, read on.