- ‘The Eight-Power Allied Force’: Most translation agencies would have registered translators covering over 10 major languages. So for a document that needs to be simultaneously translated into several languages, it would be easiest to hand it to a translation agency.
- ‘Rain or Shine’: Translation agencies usually have a few translators registered for any one language. So if the initial translator cannot finish the task due to various reasons, there is always someone else available as a back up. We’ll leave aside the style of translation done by two people for now.
- ‘Flow Line Production’: There are divisions between quoting, accepting projects, delegating work and invoicing etc.
However, there are also disadvantages born out of translation agencies. Many clients must have had the experience of spending weeks and countless hours on the phone looking for the translator who worked on a project, only to be redirected between different phone numbers and different operators. Also, due to the nature of the ‘flow line production’ of translation agencies, it is difficult to decide which link is responsible if something goes wrong. I personally believe as long as the document only needs to be translated into very few languages, the best approach would be to work directly with a translator.
- ‘Best value for money’: Direct communication safeguards the quality of the finished product. Especially in areas such as advertising, marketing and literature translation, having smooth and direct communication with the translator is crucial to the quality of the final translation. Without the cost on an office rent or administrative staff salaries the rates of freelance translators are always lower than translation agencies. Lower cost, better translator, finer product, why not?
- ‘Once and for all’. Translation is a relatively stable career. Once the initial cooperation is established, it is very likely that it will continue for a long time. Also, good translators are always organized, so clients don’t need to worry about late submissions or missing invoices etc.
- ‘Good harvest irrespective of drought or flood’: Working continuously with one translator means the quality of translation will always be stable and reliable.
It’s definitely a win-win to work directly with translators. All you need to do is spending a little bit of time and energy to establish the initial communication and cooperation.
This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)