about translation, the most difficult work / part 4

Translation agencies

Could care more about communication

Sometimes, the manager of a translation project does not transmit everything that the two parties (the translation buyer and the linguists) write each other, or they distort their messages.
We seem to pretend not to understand that we cannot really rule how people behave. We cannot rule how such project managers behave. But I recommend that they follow healthier communication principles. They are to help the service provider and the service buyer communicate if they want good results and a good trade.

I find it disrespectful that some agencies are less responsive to linguists when they don't have an order for them. Oftentimes project managers hardly have time to do more than what is urgent. But a business should increase its resources so that it deals with everything.
Too many project managers are mediocre communicators.
My solution
We want to reply to each person who addresses us respectfully, to express ourselves clearly and to schedule things clearly. Our account managers pledge to communicate respectfully with all stakeholders and to show linguists the deserved respect.

Many people think they can do international business, but some project managers don't even write English well.
My solution
Our team members command the language in which you choose to communicate with them.

Linguists are asked to communicate with rather many project managers.
My solution
Changing account managers should be avoided; when they are changed, adaptation must be supported.

Project managers usually send translators e-mails, as if those were the only form of communication. E-mails cannot cover all business communication.
My solution
We invite each person, e.g. each linguist, to talk with us. Internet calls are part of our recruitment process.
(We share only with linguists a part of our procedures for communicating with them.)

Some project managers find it difficult to use a mailing service.
My solution
My team uses advanced communication and collaboration software, so we hire people who can use it.

A new fashion has developed during recent years: Some translation agencies take orders from translation agencies. In rare cases, even a third agency mediates the transaction. I like helpful business. When a person (or a team) needs something, give them the best! (Well, the best that they accept.) Increasing the number of agencies worsens communication. Translation is mainly about communication.
My solution
My team doesn't take orders from translation agencies. We take orders from clients. We can take orders from content managers like Xerox because our services are included in content management and teams like Xerox sell the entire service package.

Could improve their procedures


Many agencies ask a translator to translate several hundreds written words and ask an opinion of a translator they trust. Sometimes they communicate this opinion to the tested translator. But this translator has no saying in this, so the agency is usually no judge of the translators they hire.
My solution
We schedule conferences with translators and arbitrate such discussions.
But, when a translator has translated millions of words and can prove it, why would anyone ask him to translate 300 more words? He can show samples.

placing orders

Some project managers attach some files to an e-mail and ask linguists to process the files and send them back in n days. Orders can be placed informally, but this unprofessional manner can cause damages.
Other project managers send orders with too little data.
My solution
We discuss every order in detail and archive order files. Linguists execute orders after they understand them entirely.

quality management

Many agencies ask translators to edit poor translations or to use poor translations (in translation memories). How do they choose those first translators? Why perpetuate stupidity and proliferate incorrect documentation?
My solution
We don't force linguists to use resources like translation memories. They are free to accept them to any extent they recommend. We assess more objectively and more precisely the quality of translations.

Translation agencies hardly ever consider translation users. For instance, they don't care much to what purpose the order is placed and who the translation is done for.
My solution
We want to know the writers and the readers of the documentation that we process because we aim to assure a high quality of the entire content management and communication cycles.

Many agencies pay rather little

Many agencies push prices down.
My solution
We decelerate this trend. We promote the best linguists and do not impose prices. Of course, we fulfill the role of a negotiator, so that clients can trade with linguists.

Many agencies keep more than 50% or 60% of what clients pay. This percentage is sometimes shared between two intermediaries. What other things do you buy with such sales commissions?
My solution
We have high costs and pay high taxes and we'll lower at least the costs. But we always cost you less than many other agencies; we keep enough to serve you excellently.

Some agencies pay late

Agencies usually pay promptly after they receive the money from the client, but they have accepted longer and longer delays.
My solution
International money transfers take minutes. We must not look for reasons that they should take months.

Few agencies avoid paying

Groups of translators, e.g. on LinkedIn, discuss such cases. I have refused orders from agencies that haven't paid for all the orders executed by linguists. To some I have written that I can start executing their order after I receive the invoiced amount; they have never placed an order with me. Why wouldn't they trust a linguist that has never defaulted?