Translation agency

When choosing a translation agency is the right choice

The translation agency versus freelance translator decision is an important one for any company that is in need of translation work. As money is a key issue for any business, some companies automatically lean towards a freelancer, thinking they will be the less expensive choice, but is that always the right choice?

Advantages of translation agencies vs. freelance translators

Although at first glance, a translation agency may be a little more expensive, in the long run many companies find that it is far more time and cost effective to go through agencies than deal with a private freelancer.

Project team

One of the main advantages of a translation company is the fact that they have a team of translators, overseen by a project manager. This means that the correct translator for your specialized area will be chosen, ensuring high quality of work. Freelance translators generally only have one or two specialties.

In addition, a team means that there is always somebody to cover the work if a translator falls ill or becomes unavailable at the last minute. Choosing a freelancer means that there is a high risk of delay if anything unexpected arises.

Timeframes

In the event that you have a very large translation project, multiple translators will be assigned, meaning that the work can be turned around in a very short timeframe. The project manager will deal with all communications between the team, saving you time and making the whole project much more time efficient.

Proofreading and quality verification

Proofreading your own work is almost an impossible task, as however dedicated a freelancer is, it is very difficult to spot every typo or grammar error when you have written the text yourself. Most translation agencies provide a proofreading and quality verification service, meaning that translations are checked by a second translator, and when multiple translators are used for high volume projects, the work will be standardized to ensure consistency. Remember to check with the translation agency if revisions are made by a different translator than the one that translated the text

Other advantages

Other advantages of using a translation agency over a freelance translator are that there are generally more payment options available with agencies such as credit cards, and they are also more likely to have more advanced translation technologies that remain unaffordable for many freelancers.

Time is money

The reason we say that it can be more cost effective to go through an agency is that, quite simply, time is money. How much is you time worth? If you are spending time communicating with multiple freelancers, proofreading work and essentially project managing the translation project yourself, how much is that actually costing your company? Your time could be spent elsewhere. The difference in cost between an agency and a freelancer is often surprisingly negligible, especially when you take into consideration the above points.

questions translators

Questions to ask clients during the translation process

Translation projects are important and a part of the overall creation of useful content for companies. There are many problems though that may surface during such a project. One of the most important issue faced by a translator is the right understanding of specific terms. Many translators believe that it may be unprofessional to ask for clarification as this could show lack of knowledge, but, on the contrary, asking the right questions and in the right way during a translation project will show that you are going out of your way to deliver an accurate translation.

Questions before the Project

All translation projects should be preceded by obtaining some basic information which will allow you to understand the right context. The first question to ask is: who is the target audience? You should also find out if the client can provide some reference material such as glossaries or any previous translation they have done of similar content. Another key aspect is the tone of the translation because some languages such as Spanish have distinct informal and formal tones.

Questions during the Project

Clients often need to translate documents which are specific to their industry and it is difficult to understand a term or acronym which is used internally in a company. However, make sure to only include questions which you have not been able to search out satisfactory answers for. You should always refer to dictionaries, forums and do a research in the web before contacting a client.

Don´t rush and email your client if you come up with a question in the first page of a text. A good rule of thumb is to read the whole document first or check if the term in question appears more times in the document so that you have more context to understand it.

It is very common to come up with typos in the source document and you should always query your customer if you think there is an error which could change the meaning of a sentence. You will definitely score some points with your client if you identify these type of errors which are usually overlooked.

If you have too many questions which do not prevent you from continuing translating, a good option is to insert the questions as comments, your client can have a look at them once the translation is finished and answer you back inserting comments as well.

The right questions will not bring your value down, rather raise your prestige as a translator who values his clients and aims to deliver a professional translation, turning a one-time customer into a return customer.