In our nowadays globalized world, many businesses, and even individuals, resort to Translation Agencies to satisfy their Translation and Localization needs. Although they usually get a satisfactory service, sometimes they have unpleasant surprises. Our “Insight into the Translation Business” is intended to be a series of insights about the Translation Business with the aim of enlightening clients about the translation kitchen and issues that has not been tackled before to guide them how to find the right translation agency or the competent professional translator for their translation and localization requirements. While doing so, we will reveal the pros and cons of the business, find workable solutions that will help both clients and translators achieve their goals, and finally create a more sound and fair atmosphere for all in the translation industry.
If you have overgrowing needs for Professional Translation Services or Search Engine Optimized Website Localization Services, this ARTICLE is for YOU!
In our present globalized world, we are not only living in the era of advanced technology, but we are suffering from its impact and influence so drastically as well. Every part of our daily life is closely related to technology one way or the other. And strangely enough, we are getting more and more intrigued and enslaved by its advancements that we cannot dispense with any, nor even imagine how we were ever able to live without those infinite forms of technology before. With mobile phones we are always in contact with our family and friends, with social networking we can socialize again with our long-missed classmates and university colleagues, with the internet we are able to get the required information and knowledge in no time, with computers and communication technologies we easily collaborate with our local and remote foreign business partners to carry out our daily business tasks and routine. Not only this, but we can communicate as well with one another in ways that are very much similar to face-to-face, telephonic, and written modes.
If this was the impact of technology on our daily life, we cannot but say that it has a rather tremendous impact on translation and the translation industry causing radical changes mainly in translation tools, translation studies, trainings and work procedures. Using the internet to search for terminology and references has become more accurate and relevant. With the help of Computer-Aided Translation tools (CAT tools), translators manage to save time and meet tight deadlines. They are also able to observe consistency, coherency and terminology management throughout each and every project, especially in the case of large ones. With the use of built-in QA checks, they are now capable of submitting error-free files as much as humanly possible. Although Machine Translation (MT) posed a slight threat to translators for being a free and handy tool to many clients, it was found that, after all, for their more technical and complex files, clients cannot dispense with human translation nor its valuable and recognized contributions in all their translation needs and localization requirements.
Coming to this point, it is now timely to highlight the role of translation agencies and how they were greatly influenced by the impact of modern technologies. By leveraging these modern technological inventions, translation agencies do not conduct their work from their premises only, but via their websites as well. For their websites, they mobilize the best web and graphic designers, social media, SEO and digital marketing specialists. Their websites represent their global image and brand. Once they are content that their website portrays this very desired brand image, they set to conduct their business tasks with more ease and comfort using the relevant technologies. Through the use of the latest technological inventions, translation agencies are no more confined to deal with in-house translators, but rather stretch to the whole world to grab a wealth of translation professionals with native tongue in every spoken language. With a short heads-up email, all their worldwide team of translators line up in their remote destinations ready for the expected project that is shortly coming. Using a server-based, cloud-based collaboration or an online tool with project and vendor management capabilities, translation agencies engage in following-up the progress of their projects. If you are dealing with a sophisticated agency, translators in such case are more likely to expect a project package with all reference materials, Translation Memories, glossary and even versions of previously translated files, together with your most valued instructions (being the real boss whose satisfaction is ultimately sought) coming handy with the package. If the project is a book, brochure, handout, banner, leaflet or a flyer that requires desktop publishing services, the agency’s project manager passes it on to the in-house desktop publisher to take care of all the necessary details.
Are the services of translation agencies confined to these teeny weeny services? No indeed, they're not! As a client, you might need to localize your website, drive more traffic to your site, create attractive content marketing articles for your site or blog, launch digital marketing campaigns on social media and other high traffic online sites and magazines or you might as well launch it offline. Seeing the great influence of videos on any marketing campaign, you or the translation agency itself might point out the importance of tackling this point too to guarantee total success. Consequently, the agency will instantly call its savvy professional animator to work, along with its graphic designer, marketing and SEO specialists, if necessary. When the video is ready, voice-over artists are contacted to handle the narratives in as many languages as you would wish for. So, in fact, translation agencies are no more restricted to translation and localization services, but they have become the one-stop shop that you visit to get from all your business needs; be it translation, localization, website localization, copywriting, content marketing, blogging, SEO, digital or social marketing, designing, voice-over, desktop publishing or typesetting etc.
Although all the above details sound fantastic, one drawback is that a translation agency has to keep the cost of all these services within strict budget limits. And if, at any time, matters cease to run smoothly for them, they might tamper with their own resources. Thus a medium expertise will do, so no need for the crème de la crème caliber. And it is really no secret to know that, besides the salaries of in-house specialized staff and remote freelance translators, they also bear heavy operating, administration, business and general expenses on monthly basis. This implies that you actually pay for all these expenses along with the cost of your service.
If this was the case with translation agencies, what would the case of professional translators be like!
Well, actually the case applies exactly to experienced and professional translators. Having acquired the required qualifications & experience and built a good reputation through tackling with a reasonable number of renowned and global direct clients, professional or certified translators would likewise desire to start their own business career. However, in such case, having ascended the ladder step by step from beginning to top, they are not only experts in their own profession, but have vast expertise in the industry as a whole and in their fields of specialty in particular. They are fully knowledgeable of all aspects of the industry’s know-how and master all its tools. They are proficient in translation & localization, experts in working with CAT tools, Translation Memories and terminology management, competent in finding authoritative references and preparing the required researches, besides knowing precisely the top talents in every domain. And above all, they have great passion for their work and are only satisfied with the best. Their websites are their virtual business. By creating their professional online brand, our professional translators start their business career, and with the help of their previous direct clients and visitors of their newly created websites, they start earning their new living. Some start by offering their language combination only, while others begin by offering reasonable language combinations, being those of their acquaintance, whom they got to know throughout their long freelancing life. By these multiple new exposures, translators acquire broad knowledge about websites, web & graphic design, SEO, digital & social media marketing, desktop publishing & typesetting and much more. However, believing in specialization and the best expertise, they resort to their big contact list of expert colleagues who specialize in these translation-related domains, if they are not themselves well-proficient in them. Therefore, you finally end by hiring experts, who expertly master their tools, and when need arises for other closely related services; they know precisely the perfect one and only person for the job, if they are not personally able to help you out. Adding to all the above advantages is the fact that running a virtual online business saves them a lot of expenses that all translation agencies are bound to pay. So here you actually gain the added value of paying only for the professional services that you request.
To sum up, after closely reviewing both cases, we finally end by having specialized staff in various translation-related domains, together with a database of local and foreign online beginner to medium experienced translators working with highly-expensive prestigious translation agencies which are in many cases unaffordable to small and medium businesses, whereas, on the other hand, we have professional translators running virtual online businesses which offer the same range of services by expert professionals and their corresponding group of intimate professional acquaintance with affordable rates that are almost half the rate you ought to pay to a translation agency.
Now that we’ve shared with you all these confidences, which of these two options would you finally choose!
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You don't hire a history teacher to help you with math or an engineer to write product marketing brochures. The same way, you don't hire an excellent technical translator to translate your website or a Brazilian Portuguese translator to translate content that will be read by people in Portugal. The result will not be good no matter how good the translator is.
The best translator for your job is the one who understands the content to be translated, has training and experience with the type of content (user guide, website, marketing material) of your project and, above all, is a native speaker of the target language. In addition, there is the cost. You shouldn't pay for what you don't need.
4 questions you should answer before looking for a translator#1What type of content do you want to translate?A user guide of your product? Is it your website to sell your product abroad? Is it a collection of tweets where your product was mentioned? A digital brochure to use in your digital marketing campaign? This is critical because being a skilled translator doesn't mean one can translate all types of content well. Website translations are more complex. It requires good understanding of tags and html codes not to create bugs. In addition, website translators need to be aware of the page layout to make sure the words they choose won't mess up the layout. For marketing translations you want translators who are comfortable deviating from the original text, taking some liberty to convey the message as intended.
#2Where is the audience of your content located?Languages evolve differently in different countries, thus, you want to select a translator who is a native of the country you are targeting. If your audience is in Canada, don't pick a translator from France. Canadians will roll their eyes with the neologisms that contaminated the language in France. Plus, they will think that you are either reusing a translation made for an audience in France or don't know that they speak a different variation of the language. If your content type is a marketing piece, it goes without saying that this is not the best way to approach a market for your product.
#3What is the subject matter of your translation?One needs to understand the subject of the content to be able to communicate the message and not make mistakes when choosing the proper terminology. Remember, translation is not just the exchange of words from one language to another. Translation is communicating what one wants to say in another language, thus, translators need to know what they are talking about.
#4How do you intend to use the translation?Translations that are critical to your business, like customer facing content (marketing material, instructions and user guides) should be handled by experienced professionals in the respective content type, like transcreators for marketing, and technical translators for manuals. You want to create the best first-impression and ensure that your customers will have as few questions on how to use your product as possible. Websites are worth the investment in skillful experienced translators. On the other hand, non-customer facing or short shelf-life content can be handled by less-skilled translators. This consideration will help you stretch your localization budget.
However, never let your budget drive your choice of translator for your project. If you don't have enough money to translate all you would like to, reduce the scope of your project instead of going with the lowest quote. An inadequate translation is worse than not having a translation.
Editor’s noteOnce you’ve answered these questions and have found a short list of translators to reach out to, check out Part I and Part II of the TM-Town guide to writing job enquiry messages to new translators. We share word-for-word scripts you can adapt to your own needs, and also go into all the information translators like to have when being contacted about a project.
About the Author Monica Oliveira
Monica Oliveira, ProZ.com VP of Services and Sourcing Solutions, has been working in the localization industry for the past 20 years. She started as a translator of Brazilian Portuguese, worked as a project manager, and made a career in vendor management. She was director of Worldwide Sourcing Management at Lionbridge before joining ProZ.com to work with building solutions for business members.
Dealing with many clients the world all over who are always responsive to the nowadays’ quick paced world; translators are the most professionals who feel the severe stress and tensions arising therefrom.
It is therefore our duty to be always prepared. If translators are graduates of translation or language faculties, this entails that they must keep abreast of developments in a wide array of fields specifically their fields of work and interest. On the other hand, if translators are specialists, i.e. graduates of Finance, Law or Medicine … etc., they should be keen on maintaining their subject skills and increasing their knowledge in their fields of specialty.
Reading translation related publications is very important to keep updated of the latest trends in the field. Moreover, keeping a close follow up of specialized publications such as magazines, circulars or even journals and newspapers is another great way to keep up with industry specialized news and to familiarize yourself with both industry-specific terminology and adopted style. Adopting the following three points can be of great help.
Taking evening classes or online courses in your specialist field to expand your knowledge of the subject.
Attending seminars and conferences in your field is the best way to get direct contact with your target clients and colleagues who can be sources of potential clients. You also get to know more about the know-how of the industry and its latest developments.
· English Resources
To keep abreast of the current affairs and news taking place in this quick paced world and even to improve your writing style and translation, I believe that a regular reading of the following magazines and newspapers will ensure that your English stays up-to-date. I, therefore, suggest reading some online sources such as The Economist, The Guardian and The Times. I also find The Observer and The Sunday Times, very interesting in providing a more in-depth analysis of current affairs.
The BBC is another extraordinary news resource where many of its television news programmes can be accessed online.
We are really interested to share your experiences with us!
With an aim to keep this blog a forum for sharing ideas, opinions and resources among fellow translators, especially those working in English, Arabic & French language pairs – being my working language pairs as well - I believe that maintaining a translator’s language skills is the most important thing a translator must always update and polish; drawing on grammar of both source and target languages, sentence structure and style besides acquisition of new synonyms, terms & terminology since these skills are the translator’s direct resource in his everyday work.
To this end, I’ve selected some useful resources for the English Language which will ensue as follows:
For English Grammar & Usage, Punctuation Rules, Spelling, Abbreviations & Acronyms and Vocabulary, the following two sites are really beneficial both in knowledge and exercise:
For Arabic Grammar & Usage, the following three sites can be of great help:
Your comments about your favourite resources for maintaining your own language skills are most welcome. Click the "Comment" button, and feel free to add your own comment.
Another important article has been published at EzineArticles.com that is sure to be of interest to all novice translators.
Whether professional or novice translators, you are all most welcome to read our article "How Can a Novice Translator Build a Successful Career" at:
How Can a Novice Translator Build a Successful Career
After reviewing the article, please provide us with your comments and opinion on our blog or on EzineAtricles' article page for the benefit of every novice translator.
Translation Courses are offered now at Arab Translators Network - Arab Professional Translators ( ATN-APTs) and will be offered soon at Proz.com.
Our aim is to polish knowledge and experience of novice translators working in English/Arabic language pairs in just two months to enable them start their translation career and step into the translation field with confidence as professional freelance translators.
In this course, novice translators are going to learn how to translate different grammatical structures such as Adjectives, Adverbs, Verbs, Passive & Active Voices ... etc. into their equivalent Arabic structure based on the study of English and Arabic Grammars respectively.
Showing great success with translation candidates up till now, novice translators are encouraged to give it a try! You will gain technical and practical knowledge you won't find elsewhere.
To register, contact our administration department at Arabization & Translation Centre or send us an e-mail at: email@example.com.
Various Translation Courses available now at ATIDA. Courses will start in June, 2010. Registration is open. Limited number. Hurry! Don't miss it.
ARABIZATION & TRANSLATION CENTRE calls freelance Desktop publishers based in Egypt with 2 or 3 years experience who are interested to join our team to submit their CVs to following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Candidates are requested to submit samples of their work and must be expert users at least at 3 of the following applications: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash.
ARABIZATION & TRANSLATION CENTRE
ARABIZATION & TRANSLATION CENTRE offers professional Translation, Localization, Copywriting, Content Marketing & DTP Services 7/24.