The boutique translation agency: small is beautiful

For years, businesses turned to the world’s largest language service companies: global translation agencies offering a standardized service with a big price tag. Bigger is better, right?

Thousands of contractors and project managers work daily in hundreds of big agency offices in major cities across the globe. Global agencies opened up new markets for big Business by communicating their clients’ brands to the masses in every language under the sun. Global brands offering corporate, pre-packaged translation solutions – but at what price?

But, for most businesses, a presence isn’t enough. International enterprises lose when their product or service isn’t as relevant as a local competitor’s.

As businesses seek relevancy and knowledge of their niche market, they are going small. A David and Goliath scenario, where a boutique translation agency continues to out maneuver larger rivals delivering a human touch with perfect timing.

Another year of mergers and acquisitions is in full swing, and boutique agencies are hot on the menu. We can expect to see many more small agencies snapped up by rapidly growing multinational groups.

Large groups are finding themselves having to offer every service, language and specialization imaginable.

What is a boutique translation agency?

A boutique translation agency brings the same type of niche services as a boutique law or PR firm. A small firm can adapt to the client’s ever-changing needs. Boutique language service companies are fast-paced and flexible enough to even become an extension of the client’s team.

With a small, skilled team, a boutique firm reacts quickly. Instead of hustling to break through the bureaucracy of large firms, clients get fast solutions to their problems. Their small size gives boutique firms the freedom to follow market trends and industry developments to offer cutting edge services.


Unlike large agencies, a boutique translation agency does not try to meet every need. A small firm offers true expertise. A boutique firm knows their target language, culture and industry inside and out. For clients working with Asian languages, a small firm’s mastery of context and culture is key.

What’s more, boutique firms know their target market. Each member of the specialized team brings deep expertise across a few subject areas or industries, like marketing, technical or medical translations.

Many boutique agencies go even further to help clients gain relevancy in their local market. They offer services like localization, DTP and quality, express translations.


With a small firm, clients have much more than a specialized expert. A boutique firm also brings a personal touch.

Put simply, a boutique agency knows their clients. Instead of making clients choose from pre-packaged services, they learn the client’s core values, goals and work-style. Then, their service is built directly around the clients needs.

Since small agencies are, well, small, they want to keep their business. That desire to earn and keep a client drives them to consistently deliver excellent results. They work with highly trained, qualified translators and take quality control seriously. It’s not just a box to check – it’s their relationship with you.


Companies are often surprised to learn they can actually save money with a boutique firm. That’s partly because small firms tailor solutions to the client – not the other way around. Many small agencies also manage their teams online, so overhead is low.

Smaller firms often elect to employ contractors in their target market. Translators likely live in the country whose language they specialize in and receive payment in their local currency.

This allows a boutique agency to keep quality high and costs low. Translators are happy with generous rates in the local currency, and stay with the agency long-term. On the other hand, clients are thrilled with the quality and value.

Why choose a boutique translation agency?

Clients win when a smart and nimble team invests in their success. In an ever changing, evolving world, a small firm can offer the most personalized solution. Clients who want to be relevant today, tomorrow and for years to come will continue to choose the company that evolves with them. With the winning combination of quality and value, boutique translation agencies are here to stay.