Professional Translation Agencies: What Exactly Are You Paying For
A simple online search for translation services will throw up a huge number of options, from freelance translators into professional translation agencies to complimentary online tools, all vying for your business. With such a proliferation of options and broad variance in costs, you may well wonder whether you should pay above the minimum or, indeed, if you should pay anything at all.
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It's easy to find the possible drawbacks and horror stories which free internet machine translations can result in. What may not be quite as apparent to a company are the benefits that paying that little bit more to employ the services of a professional agency rather than the cheaper online choices can have for the business. All things considered, you may ask yourself, whether the workload is the same, why should I cover any more? The solution is quite simple; professional translation agencies offer a specialistservice, with all of the expertise and customer service you would expect from any professional business.
Even though an independent translator working for 2 cents a word and also claiming a same-day turnaround may seem very appealing, normally you'll be paying to get an abysmal, un-proofread translation. It's simply impossible for him or her to ensure the same level of quality, consistency and specialisation provided by professional translation bureaus. On the flip side, an agency may use the necessary personnel, resources and quality-driven business procedures to ensure that, from the moment of contact until the last shipping, the service you receive is of the highest standard.
The most valuable resource which truly professional translation agencies have is a group of qualified, native, in-country linguists, both in-house and freelance, possessing multiple language combinations as well as a wide range of subject matter expertise. This means that they will have a translator with the appropriate linguistic ability and subject matter understanding on hand to deal with your project, which saves you the hours spent trawling the net for someone who may or might not have the capability to perform the job. The translator's work will go on to continually be reviewed and proofed with a senior editor according to a strict set of requirements. The simple fact that the bureau will manage your project from receipt before delivery may also mean savings concerning resources and time for you. Typically you just must email them your job files to receive a full, checked and adjusted translation on time and on budget.
Professional translation bureaus may also have at their disposal all of the translation technology, such as CAT tools, that can be required to best complete your translation job. Translation memory technology such as Trados enable previous translations to be leveraged, whilst language management tools like Xbench guarantee the consistent use of language throughout a job. A broad range of these tools as well as fully trained translators will be available to professional translation agencies, while price constraints will indicate that freelance translators often work with just a single (or sometimes none) of those tools, necessarily causing a lack of consistency, and to extra costs for you. Translation memories are especially essential for on-going projects as reps can be billed at a reduced rate, producing long-term savings for you. The combination of highly skilled staff, project management experience, and the many up-to-date technology imply not only that the quality of the finished product is always higher, but that professional agenciescan handle a far higher volume of work compared to other translation options.
Probably the most important component that sets professional translation agencies apart from the rest of the field is that they employ quality-driven business processes which ensure that every individual translation project is allocated all of the resources required to give you the best possible translation in the shortest turnaround time. These steps include comprehensive project analysis and preparation including the creation of translation glossaries and question management systems in conjunction with the customer, the allocation of suitable resources, translation employing the most suitable technology, and also an in-depth excellent check by a senior reviewer to ensure that the translation is not only word ideal, but it reads as if written in the target language.
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