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A behind the scenes look into translation agencies

If you were to ask a person not related to the industry to explain what exactly translation agencies do? “Well, they translate texts.” Anything else? “That’s all!” Incorrect. Nowadays content is available in various sizes and shapes, not only as a written document. Companies produce content for video, info graphics and audio formats, and they all require translations. Clients are increasingly looking for service providers that offer comprehensive solutions.

A one-stop agency

The advantage of translation agencies not only takes away the need to pick the most suitable translators for your project but putting it simply – accomplish more. Currently, an increasing number of translation agencies also offer desktop publishing services and visual solutions. They operate as a one-stop shop for all your needs. If you are working with an individual freelance translator, but the project requires material to be delivered that is ready for printing, then you will have to send the translated document yourself to designers and desktop publishing artists to turn it into a brochure or other required format. And what if there are errors in the desktop publishing work? Will you proofread the text yourself or send it to the translator for proofreading? A translation agency can also provide desktop publishing services for brochures, flyers or any other visual, digital or printed documents which requires translating – making it print-ready.

Translation agency vs. freelance translator

Translation agencies can quite simply accomplish more which is especially important if a client has lots of work to offer, has taken on large-scale projects or requires regular translation. Language pairs should also be considered. For example, you operate in the Baltic States and Germany. Therefore, you require translations from the English language into Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and German. If you hire freelance translators, then it is quite impossible that one translator will be able to cover all these language pairs. You will require several translators and each time you will have to explain the project, send all documents, and agree on all the organizational matters. Tricky, isn’t it? Whereas you can provide all this information in one go to a translation agency. In addition, translation agencies usually work with CAT tools and translation memories, therefore all previously translated phrases about your products will be saved in the translation memory and next time, when asking for a translation, you will be able to save both time and money. Translation agencies offer both small-scale translations for individual clients and larger projects for big international corporations. The entire project can be managed from translation, proofreading, and editing texts according to the quality management system. Translators work in teams coordinated by a project manager.

Not everyone who knows the language, can translate

Many people think that an employee who has a good command of the required language can do translations for the company. They are mistaken. If your employees are not professional translators, they will not know how and when it is necessary to specify certain terms or pay attention to the words and expressions with a double meaning. And even, when you have found a freelance translator, no matter how great and skilful they are, there is always a limit to how much one person can do! Sometimes, even the most professional freelance translator can deliver a low-quality translation due to excessive workload or other reasons. However, in a translation agency one job goes through the hands of several people: translator, proof-reader, editor, therefore the possibility of mistakes is much smaller! Freelance translators that work with agencies are usually asked to complete a test translation in addition to sending CVs and work references to further ascertain the quality of translator’s work.

When a translation agency is a “must-have”?

If you have a lot of work or are working on big projects, then a translation agency is your only option. Similarly, when you require not just a translation but also other solutions, which is often the case with marketing materials, a translation agency is your “must have”. Also, if you work with sensitive subjects, for example, legal affairs, healthcare, and other areas where translation mistakes can create serious legal consequences and liability, your best option is to work with a translation agency. They have access to pool of professional translators, glossaries, resources, and progressive translation software which is an absolute necessity in these cases.

Which translation agency to choose?

First and foremost, a good translation agency is formed by a team of experienced specialists. A professional translation agency will pick the most suitable translator for a specific job who has the relevant experience, know-how and understanding of the respective sector. Also, the communication process, efficiency of communication and professionalism of the project manager is equally important.

Before you choose a translation agency, check that they have experience in your required field. For example, some translation agencies specialize in medical, pharmaceutical, or legal texts, others – in marketing, advertising, and creative texts, while some others offer an even wider selection. Check which clients already work with the translation agency, maybe you can read or find out reviews about the agency. Also, there are agencies that offer only written translation, but others provide interpreting services as well as multimedia translations, subtitling and desktop publishing. Evaluate the services on offer including deadlines and budget. It is not always wise to go for the cheapest offer. Sometimes, it is better to pay a bit more for a high quality, professional translation, instead of saving a bit and receiving low-quality translation laden with errors. You can’t expect value without spending some money.

If you have doubts about which translation agency to choose, feel free to talk to several and find out their price offers, and ask any questions. This exchange can provide you with valuable information. If you have questions about the translation process, you need a translation or any other language service, contact the professionals at Linearis who will be able to offer valuable tips about organizing the translation process, or for example, guiding you through the organizing of a multi-language event or the localization of your website.