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Professional Translation Agencies: What Exactly Are You Paying For



A simple online search for translation services will toss up a massive number of options, from freelance translators into specialist translation agencies to complimentary online tools, all vying for your company. With such a proliferation of alternatives and wide variance in costs, you might well wonder whether you ought to pay above the minimum or, indeed, should you pay anything at all.
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It's easy to see the possible drawbacks and horror stories that free internet machine postings can result in. What may not be quite as clear to your company are the advantages that paying that little bit more to employ the assistance of a professional agency rather than the cheaper online alternatives can have because of its business. After all, you may ask yourself, whether the workload is the same, why should I pay any more? The solution is quite simple; specialist translation agencies provide a specialistservice, together with all the expertise and customer service you would expect from any professional enterprise.

While an independent translator working for 2 cents a word and also claiming a same-day turnaround may seem very attractive, in most cases you'll be paying for an unedited, un-proofread translation. It is just impossible for her or him to ensure the same amount of quality, consistency and specialisation provided by specialist translation agencies. On the flip side, an agency will employ the necessary staff, resources and quality-driven business processes to ensure that, from the moment of contact until the final delivery, the support you get is of the maximum standard.



The most precious resource that truly professional translation agencies have is a team of qualified, native, in-country linguists, both in-house and freelance, owning multiple language combinations as well as a wide range of subject matter experience. This means they will always have a translator with the proper linguistic ability and subject matter understanding on hand to deal with your job, which saves you the hours trawling the net for someone who may or might not be able to do the job. The translator's job will go on to continually be reviewed and proofed with a senior editor in accordance with a strict set of requirements. The simple fact that the bureau will handle your project from receipt before delivery will also mean savings in terms of resources and time for you. In most cases you just must email them your job files to receive a full, checked and adjusted translation in time and on budget.

Professional translation agencies may have at their disposal all of the translation technology, for example CAT tools, which can be needed to best complete your translation job. Translation memory technologies such as Trados enable previous translations to be leveraged, whilst terminology management tools like Xbench guarantee the consistent use of language throughout a project. A broad range of those tools as well as completely trained translators will be available to professional translation bureaus, while cost constraints will mean that freelance translators often work with just one (or none) of these tools, necessarily causing a lack of consistency, and also to additional costs for you. Translation memories are particularly essential for continuing projects as reps can be billed at a reduced rate, making long-term savings for you. The blend of highly skilled employees, project management expertise, and the most up-to-date technologies mean not only the quality of the completed product is always higher, but professional agenciescan manage a much greater volume of work than other translation choices.

Probably the most important factor that sets professional translation agencies aside from the rest of the field is they implement quality-driven business procedures which ensure that each individual translation job is allocated all the tools necessary to supply you with the best possible translation in the shortest turnaround time. These steps consist of thorough project evaluation and preparation including the development of translation glossaries and question management systems in combination with the client, the allocation of appropriate resources, translation using the most acceptable technology, and an in-depth excellent check by a senior reviewer to ensure that the translation is not only word perfect, but it reads as if written in the target language.


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