How Translation Agencies Really Work

Posted by Short Owens on March 27th, 2021

The translation/localization market is huge and getting bigger each year. There?s a lot of money to be made, and that attracts not merely professional providers, but also unscrupulous players that are either outright cheating or just economical with the reality. Buyers get quotes which range from suspiciously rock-bottom to unjustifiably sky-high and don?t know what to think. How can the price for exactly the same task differ so much? Or is someone taking them for a ride? What is translation? Before you understand just how much translation costs, you will need to ask yourself a more basic question: what's translation? Everybody thinks they know the answer to this one, but consider it for a minute: Is Google Translate?s output really ?translation?? If a language student translated something within their homework, does it deserve exactly the same name as what professionals do? For better and for worse, there is no one standard definition and it?s the type of any creative work that there?ll continually be arguments about what?s good enough and what isn?t. The good news is that there are best practices out there, widely followed through the entire industry with the exception of some fly-by-night operators, whom I?ll reach later on. The standard process goes something like this: Before translation - Collecting files, deciding what must be translated and what doesn't, putting together reference materials like translation memories, termbases, style guides and so forth, getting quotes and deciding who'll do the work. Translation - That's where the magic happens. An extremely educated bilingual professional actually enters the words in the new language that reflects the foundation text in an accurate and perhaps even beautiful manner. There are three things that can occur next: - The translator says it?s ready and that?s it, also referred to as ?self-check?; - it?s sent to another linguist who checks the task word-by-word comparing to source, also called ?editing?, which adds 33-40% to the price; - it?s sent to another linguist who checks the target-language version only, generally known as ?proofreading?, which adds 15-20% to the price. - Finally, in most cases automated QA checks will undoubtedly be done on the content to consider issues that are easy to miss for the human eye, such as for example double spaces or missing punctuation. These checks could be run by the translator, the editor/proofreader or the agency. After translation ? taking the translation and putting it back into the environment it originated from. If it?s a formatted document, such as for example .docx or .pptx files, you have to replace the initial text with the translation and usually make some extra adjustments to layout, line-breaking and fonts to make it all look good. If the written text is from software or a website, things have more complicated and quite a bit of work may be needed to integrate it correctly. If you wish something translated, you can do it in a few different ways starting with the simplest (and free!) to probably the most sophisticated: Translate it yourself, if however you speak the language Use Google Translate or another free online machine translation tool Ask an employee or a friend to do it for free or cheap Find a freelance translator Upload your files to an online crowdsourced translation marketplace Work with a different agency (Single Language Vendor - SLV) for every language Use an Multi-Language Vendor (MLV) Build a full-service translation department in your company Nepārmaksā, pieņemamas tulkošanas cenas, saprātīgi termiņi (Andovar fits into the one before last, in the event you?re wondering.) How much does translation really cost? It?s a free market, so people can ask for what they please, based on how they value their work, what their costs of living are, if they?re just starting and want to get work experience or they're seasoned professionals busy with long-term clients. But there are established averages with regards to professional translation and one way of finding them is through It is a huge online marketplace where translators advertise their services and buyers post jobs. Based on what rates a large number of translators have entered within their profiles, Proz publishes a table with averages. You can observe the most famous languages below and the full and most recent table here. how-translation-agencies-work-img-1 Remember that they are rates charged by individual translators, and that: Agencies often offer translation + editing or proofreading by another translator, which increases cost. These rates are for what?s called ?new words?, during every project there will also be ?repeated words? which many providers offer at a discounted rate because of translation memory technology. Agencies may do other work in addition to translation itself, such as: create style guides and termbases, localization engineering, DTP, testing, etc. That is sometimes rolled into the per-word rates, sometimes not. Short, urgent and technical or creative texts usually demand higher rates, while simple, long rather than urgent ones are cheaper. Agencies are businesses, so that they add a profit percentage to the rates they pay to translators. Keeping in mind the aforementioned, the rates charged by individual translators are the foundation on which agencies calculate their pricing to end clients. Not all agencies are alike Some buyers of translation choose to use freelancers directly. It?s obviously less expensive, and can be a good notion for simple jobs in one or two languages. When projects get bigger, new languages are added and file formats are not straightforward you may need an agency to help handle all the extra work. Secondly, dealing with different freelancers and/or online marketplaces constantly means you will see no consistency between projects. Agencies typically maintain reference materials like translation memories, termbases and style guides, which help maintain consistency over time. To be competitive, agencies search for methods to lower their costs and offer cheaper rates to clients. Some ideas are sound, others unscrupulous and even illegal. Let?s look at a few: What?s included? Some agencies understand that it?s risky to offer translation without any editing, proofreading or quality control, they could still do it to make their rates as low as possible. When you compare rates between agencies, ensure that you find out what they include in the per-word rate. Could it be translation-only? Translation with editing? With proofreading? What QA steps are followed? Do they charge for localization engineering, file handing, termbases, style sheets, etc. separately? Geo-leveraging It?s not a secret that costs of living and in operation are low in some countries. The planet has been becoming flat for a long time and outsourcing or moving offices to less costly regions doesn?t create as much controversy as it did previously. Translation companies do that too. While translators themselves usually live and work in their native countries (see next point), agencies offer localization engineering, desktop publishing, audio recording and project management that may be done cheaper elsewhere. That is one of the reasons Andovar has offices in Thailand, India and Colombia. To be able to know where your work will in actuality be done, ask your vendor. Native speakers Native speakers of - let?s say - Norwegian usually reside in Norway where costs of living are high. This makes it one of the most expensive languages to translate (as you can see in the table higher up). But imagine if we look for speakers of Norwegian internationally? Maybe one with low costs of living, like India or Russia? Bingo ? they will definitely consent to charge lower rates than their friends in snowy Norway! But is Norwegian their mother tongue? And when they are native speakers who happen to live abroad, is their knowledge of the language on par with their compatriots in Norway? It can be, if they made an attempt to stay in touch making use of their native cultures and the way the language is used. (Un)qualified translators Not only is it a native speaker, why is someone qualified to translate? There's actually no easy answer to this and while some countries have official certification, translator associations and exams, others don?t and there is absolutely no established international standard. What this means is an agency can call whomever they need a ?qualified translator?, including people who find themselves students, inexperienced and not native speakers. As the results may be acceptable for simple content, there should be transparency about who'll do the work. Outsourcing Many of the world?s biggest MLVs don?t actually work as simple agents between clients and translators, but add more layers of outsourcing. When the language pair or subject material isn't their forte, they hire smaller vendors to do the work. However, with every additional level the chance of miscommunication, delay and end price all increase. Reputation How to proceed if an agency insists they only use native-speaking and highly-qualified professionals, nevertheless, you still have doubts? Proz, the web site mentioned earlier, also maintains a database of translation providers along with scores translators provide them with. It?s worth finding out about the company you?re speaking with and observe how they fare. If they are not on the list or have almost no scores ? they likely don?t work with professional translators or have only recently opened. If the scores are low, this means they don?t treat their translators well. Another website worth checking is GlassDoor, which stores comments from company employees and ex-employees. What?s a PM Fee? Most agencies will charge something called the Project Management or PM Fee. It typically ranges from 1 to 10% of the total and covers the work of the project manager handling your projects. Taking the PM Fee out of your per-word rate can make it go down, but PM Fee will still be added down the road. Some agencies may also have Set-up, Kick-off and other types of fees. When comparing quotes from agencies, ensure that you check just how many percent they charge you need to include that in your comparison. Audio quality Many agencies, and Andovar is one of these, also offer audio services in various languages. Some have their very own recording studios built to industry standard and produce broadcast quality audio, while some ask speakers of the language to record the scripts in the home using their own computers as well as mobile phones. Desire to guess which costs more? And which one is of higher quality? Bait and switch Some agencies present great-looking CVs of translators they use and offer their just work at rock-bottom rates. How is that possible? It?s not the same people doing the work! The CVs could be real, but the translation is done by their less-qualified colleagues. The extreme version of the is the following: Do you know what the latest translation agency scam is? It goes such as this: Advertise to get the very best resumes from linguists. Advertise to get the lowest cost amateur translators at 2 or 3 3 cents. Swap the contact details on the linguists? CVs with newly created Hotmail or Yahoo addresses that go to the scammers. Advertise unbeatable rates of 6-7 cents and show prospective clients the amazing CVs of the good linguists. Obtain the translation done by the cheap amateur translators. If possible, get advance payment or at least 50% using PayPal. If client complains about quality, use that fact to won't pay the amateur translators. Sometimes the scammers even leave the names of the borrowed linguists unchanged. Laugh all the way to the bank. Concentrating on what doesn?t matter Some providers will go at great lengths to make a good impression: They?ll say they use thousands of translators to create themselves appear to be big companies (but they are actually freelancers rather than full-time employees); Try to impress with ISO or other certification (but it?s put on something as meaningless as ?recruitment process? and not have anything regarding translation quality); Show off their worldwide locations (but they are only virtual offices with no employees on-site); Discuss flawless quality and thousands of satisfied customers (but provide no real testimonials with names and contact details). Business is business? I hope this article explained a number of the tactics translation agencies employ. Business is business so when long since it?s not illegal, a company can perform whatever it wants. However, as a buyer of translation you should know who you?re dealing with before hiring a company to work for you

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Short Owens

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Short Owens
Joined: March 26th, 2021
Articles Posted: 3

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