1) Great quality. An outstanding translation company will never compromise on quality. Over and above everything else, a great translation is the criterion used to measure the work done and most highly prized by clients.
2) Competitive, not Lowest Pricing. I have always been skeptical of claims delivering highest quality at lowest prices. Having worked in the translation (and other industries) for a decade, I am forced to conclude that this simply is not possible. High quality translations can only come from dedicated professionals who have spent many years honing their skills. They therefore have a right to fair renumeration. Thus great translators will not work below a certain price, which is ultimately borne by the client.
Competitive pricing, on the other hand, is a definite possibility. The outstanding translation company can act as a medium between the client and translator, negotiating a fair, acceptable and competitive price between the two.
3) Deliver BEFORE, not on time. Delivery on time is acceptable. However, this is only the minimum industry standard. You have only met, but not exceeded client expectations. So when possible, deliver before time. There are also practical reasons why this is so beneficial. Let me illustrate with an example:
Suppose a translation is due by 5pm today. You deliver at 5pm to the client. He checks and discovers mistakes and misunderstandings. There is a mad scramble to correct the document as he needs to deliver to HIS boss at 5.30 pm.
Suppose now you deliver at 2pm. He is free at 3pm, reads it and discovers the problems. You (and him) now have at least 2 hours in order to rectify the problems. There is time for revision. No fuss or panic is created.
4) After Sales Service: A great translation company will always ask its clients for feedback and ways to improve.
5) Reliability and consistency. An outstanding translation company will always deliver on time, with great quality translation and competitive pricing. It should also be able to hold one to its best translators and avoid changing them for long-term assignments.
These are just some of our personal feel.