are Valuable Service Providers
Using services of translation companies may be the only possible solution for your translation needs. Everything depends on the characteristics of your translation project. Here are pros and cons of using a translation company which will help you to make an informed decision.
Translation agencies range from “mom-and-pop shops” to established businesses to families of companies providing language and other business services globally. As a rule, a translation agency has the capacity to manage big projects with very tight deadlines. It can handle many file formats and work in many platforms. In addition, leading translation agencies offer a very wide variety of language combinations, specialties, and services.
- Language combinations:
It’s true that some translation agencies specialize in a group of languages (e.g., Asian, Western European, Eastern European). However, large agencies with a network of dozens, hundreds and, in some cases, thousands translators based in different countries are well positioned to offer translations from and into many foreign languages. This service is convenient, especially if you need translation into several languages.
- Areas of specialization:
Some agencies specialize in certain subject areas. There are agencies that specialize, say, in legal translations, medical translations, financial translations or software localization. However, more often than not you will find out that a translation agency can offer you translations in many different subject areas.
- Language and Business Services:
The larger the translation company the more services it can offer. And these include: translation, back translation, proofreading, editing, linguistic validation, cognitive debriefing, interpretation, software and website localization, software testing, desktop publishing, subtitling, voiceovers, transcription, transcreation, multicultural marketing, litigation support, etc.
If the budget is tight, you may not be able to afford paying for the convenience and added value offered by translation companies (e.g. selection of language specialists, management of multilingual projects, quality control, desktop publishing). So if your project is small or can do without these additional services use a freelance translator.
Another aspect that may upset clients is communication through a project manager instead of direct communication with language professionals who will actually do the job. It may be frustrating because personal communication is always more effective than communication through an intermediary (and a project manager is an intermediary in this case).
| An abstract from The ATA Chronicle, July 2005, p. 21, that serves as a proof of the necessity for the client to be involved in the translation process: |
“…buyer’s insight: “…We would like to be able to trust suppliers in your industry, but we have observed first-hand that there really is no guarantee, regardless of the lofty declarations in glossy brochures…”. This… company, listed on the Paris stock exchange, had been burned when a freelance translator working for a well-known translation agency submitted a substandard job and the agency reviser failed to notice – despite the stringent quality control procedures prominently displayed on the agency’s website”.
ARTICLE: Business Outreach: What Do Clients Want? Received Wisdom Revisited
AUTHOR: Chris Durban
Be aware that glossy brochures, attractive websites, and detailed descriptions of rigorous quality control procedures of translation companies, even those with the international reputation, do not guarantee you the quality.
Don't be hypnotized by marketing materials of a translation company. Instead, get involved in the process as much as you can: prepare glossaries, provide previous translations, explain clearly your translation requirements, give a link to your website, set realistic deadlines, define a contact person to communicate with the translation agency.
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_____________________________________________________________________ Website owner: Irina Lychak, self-employed freelance linguist, Russian translator, Ukrainian translator, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine