Tuesday, 05 November 2013
It is difficult for many professionals to accurately assess value when requesting translation services. The client is often unfamiliar with the target language, and therefore unable to evaluate the final product; this is just one of the many reasons it is critical to select the right translation service provider. This article will provide you with some insights to help you choose the right translation service provider for your project.
Freelancers Versus Translation Companies
It will come as no surprise that, as a translation agency, we tend to suggest working with a translation agency versus a freelance translator. This is our recommendation for most projects, but not all. Because we are “on the inside” of the industry, we see the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a translation service provider, we do have our own staff, but we also work with freelance translators who work for themselves and for other agencies.
So, why bring your business to us rather than work directly with a translator? Again, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly—and we have seen many ugly translations. All too often, newbie “translators” believe that just because they are capable of speaking two languages, they are qualified to call themselves translators. Nothing could be further from the truth. Translation requires additional skills—impeccable writing, analytical thinking, expert organization, and so forth—professional skills specific to this field that can only be acquired through experience.
Translation Is an Art Form
A painter can paint a portrait so realistic it will take your breath away. A sculptor might transform a heap of rubble into a magnificent object. A translator, also an artist, uses words and sentences as his or her medium. Beginning with the source document, the translator chooses words carefully, painstakingly molding the work so that the end result projects exactly the desired effect. Many things are in play during translation; in addition to deeply understanding the source document, the translator must also choose the precise vocabulary that will bring forth the intended meaning.
The translator is charged with a great responsibility in transforming a work into its new form. Some translators do this incredibly well; they have the talent and an insight into both languages that enables them to understand the small nuances and connotations of each language. These translators are artisans, and as with all great artists, their job is not at all easy.
Translation Companies Use Freelancers
Can a boutique agency, such as Translationz, staff over 300 translators and interpreters? No, and neither can our competitors—even large companies with multimillion dollar revenues cannot afford to keep a staff with specialised language skills sitting idle, waiting for a project in their field. In fact, a lesser-known industry secret is that while the larger agencies often have more staff, they are purely sales staff. That’s right; the big agencies employ more people to cold-call potential customers than to actually translate, project manage, or proofread.
At Translationz, both our in-house and off-site linguists have been carefully selected and work with us on a daily basis. They are a part of our team because of their consistently high-quality, professional translations. We have extensively tested our translators, and we retain only the best. We continually strive for improvement and have no qualms with discontinuing relationships with translators who do not meet our strict quality-control standards.
Our Commitment to Extraordinary Work
Translationz retains only translators whose work meets or exceeds expectations. We proofread and provide our translators with feedback to ensure ongoing improvements. If you are seeking translation services and do not have a prior relationship with a translator or know the quality of their work, there is a good chance you will get burned. The quality may be poor, and you will be none the wiser: “It’s all Greek,” as the saying goes.
We receive several résumés each day from translators seeking work. It is a very competitive market, and some translators resort to embellishing their résumés with phony titles or unearned credentials. We even find translators using family members for references, or listing the big agencies in their CVs for work that never actually occurred.
To ensure the best possible outcome, we recommend due diligence on your part when choosing a translation service provider. Get to know your translator or translation service agency well. Review their social media pages and search for them on the Internet. The research may be time consuming, but the time and effort spent up front will pay dividends in the end. Avoid the fire and don’t get burned!
Karen Hodgson, CEO of Translationz
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