So how does a translation services agency actually operate?
What do we mean by a translation services agency?
What do we actually do? And who is it who speaks all these languages?
Most people have come across Korean, but have you ever heard of Urdu, Tagalog or Xhosa?
To many, the translation services agency remains a complete mystery. To us, however, language and translation represent our bread and butter and whether we are translating from French into Dutch or English into Japanese, we are following a familiar and well-established procedure.
What are the core principles?
Quality, quality, quality. Well, that’s quite true, but it’s not enough. As a client you also want to be kept informed and to get good service.
For example, take two clothes shops. They both carry matching brands and their prices are the same, but one of them gives that little bit more – better service, or a smile.
Which one do you go back to?
It’s no different for a translation services agency.
Winning someone’s custom counts for nothing if they never return after the first job.
And this is where the project manager plays a critical role in building a strong relationship between the client and the translation services agency.
Six key characteristics that make up a fantastic project manager
- An exceptional multi-tasker – a translation project manager’s range of tasks can be huge. Supporting linguists and managing multiple multilingual projects at the same time is just the tip of the iceberg. Multitasking and managing different components of a project efficiently lead to a successful outcome.
- Strong communicator – good communications play a crucial role in the success of a project. Clients’ instructions must be passed on in a clear manner to the translators while clients themselves are kept fully informed on the status of their projects.
- A problem-solver – things do sometimes go wrong during the translation process and a small problem left unresolved can create difficulties much further down the line. A good project manager is aware of potential pitfalls and will identify and flag up any issues, always seeking solutions rather than offering excuses. Tackling the issues head-on helps everybody.
- Organised – in a translation services agency, project managers can find themselves juggling many aspects of a project, such as raising a quote, scheduling deliveries, writing instructions, checking translation integrity, updating translation memories, drawing up terminology lists, and so on. Keeping on top of all of this demands exceptional organisational skills. Nobody wants to miss deadlines and frustrate their clients, so a good project manager maintains an overview and structures their work diligently.
- Flexible – it gets busy in a translation services agency. And it is getting busier. More and more companies are no longer content to communicate in a single language or sell to just one country. Project managers must keep their eye on the ball, be flexible and able to prioritise.
- A positive attitude – The project manager can be swamped with requests from clients, queries from translators and interaction with their colleagues. They must keep track of everything and not lose their cool. Someone with a can-do attitude who is easy to talk to and always ready to listen is a pleasure to do business with.
And the translators?
Of course, no translators = no translation services agency. In the end the individual linguists translate your text.
Experienced professional linguists know their mother tongue inside out and can often translate from two or more other languages.
Translators usually work within their preferred subject areas, fields in which they excel due to professional experience or through a highly-developed interest.
For example, a legal translator might also specialise in translating financial reports, but leave medical texts to someone with more relevant expertise – who could even be a former surgeon!
Our database has more than 2000 professional translators, covering the widest possible range of subjects and more than 140 target languages.
It is the project manager who makes sure that the most suitable translators work on your project.
What we’re good at
What do we translate most often, and which industry sector do most of our clients come from?
Technical documents – for most of our clients we handle translations of technical documentation, both from and into English in combination with nearly any other language from Albanian to Zulu.
Market research – our largest clients are market research agencies for whom we translate some two million words into more than 50 languages annually.
Legal documents – and not just for lawyers; all sorts of companies need legal translation, even if it’s just for the terms and conditions on their web page. The simplest contract is always translated by a linguist with experience of legal jargon.