In my previous blog post, I told you about the new beginning of my new translation agency after the collaboration with my business partner had ended. I wanted to focus on a translation niche, i.e. marketing translations because this topic is closest to me and my experience. From that moment on, I had to build up a network with freelance translators. But which freelance translators do you hire? Where do you get them from and what do you have to pay them?
Proofreading and Editing Services
During my market research, I made an important discovery. There are two kinds of translation agencies: one, those that offer translation with proofreading and editing services, and two, those that offer translation without additional quality service.
Smaller translation agencies (often run by a single translator) usually take care of their own translations without any proofreader or editor. The upside to these smaller translation agencies is that they have direct contact with the client which paves way for more efficient service. However, the downside is that this doesn’t guarantee high-quality translation.
On the other hand, larger translation agencies manage to provide a translation service including a proofreading/editing service at a reasonable translation rate. This applies in particular to successful translation agencies that employ their own translators and proofreaders/editors. For translation agencies using freelance translators, it is usually more difficult to quote an attractive translation rate. For these agencies, it often means finding a balance between quality and quantity. Does winning as many assignments as possible at a lower rate have priority? Or do you purely aim to deliver the highest quality with fewer assignments in prospect? In the previous blog post, you could read about a solution that some translation agencies can come up with for this.
Difference between Proofreading and Editing Services
Nowadays, clients of translation agencies have a lot of extra service options when it comes to translations, especially the additional proofreading or editing service. However, there is still a lot of confusion about the difference between proofreading and editing service. Knowing the differences between these two can help you choose which service you should avail. This can save you from unnecessary expenses. I notice that many translation agencies still do not have a clear understanding of the difference between the two services. If you are experiencing this kind of dilemma, you’re in for a treat. I will explain the differences in more detail in the next blog post.
Moreover, the client has become much more critical over the years. With the advent of computer technology, clients have the option of using translation software or hiring a professional translator. The latter option is ultimately much more expensive. So if you choose this option, you can expect a high-quality translation that has been thoroughly proofread and edited. Although translation software programs are a lot cheaper, this tool cannot guarantee a polished output worthy of publication.
Finding suitable freelance translators
In my case, it would not have been an option for a new translation agency to start with high rates. So, it was extremely important for me to attract high-quality freelance translators. In that case, I did not have to use proofreaders. (I will devote a separate blog post to the use of proofreaders, because there is still a lot to tell about this).
As I had not yet built up a network of freelance translators in the translation world, I did not know where to get them from. At that time, we could not yet use a website like Fiverr, on which all kinds of freelancers can be found. To increase my connections and options, I also tried to search on the online Dutch Marketplace, Translatorscafe.com, and other platforms. I needed Dutch translators in the most important language combinations: English, German, French and Spanish. If I received a request to provide a different language combination, I would then try to find those translators online.
I finally managed to put together a list of freelance translators, and I still do business with some of them, by the way. What’s more, I gradually discovered that PROZ.com is an excellent platform for finding translators in a particular language combination. You just publish a job post and within half a day you have enough offers to choose from! On PROZ.com you can often find feedback about a particular translator, which inspires confidence. But I still find it difficult to build a reliable relationship with freelancers, e.g. when it comes to meeting deadlines.
Building up trust with regard to translation quality is also quite difficult in the beginning – this is understandable because it’s important to test the waters before diving in. I think that every translation agency has experienced that a translator delivers a bad translation for one reason or another. Nowadays, with the help of good translation software, you can quickly get an impression of a translator’s translation qualities, without having to master the relevant language yourself. Clearly, it takes years to build up a good, reliable relationship. I have worked with a lot of freelance translators and most of the time it went very well, but there are also quite a few headache stories between them.
In the next blog posts, I will talk about the pros and cons of using editors or proofreaders. You could think of only advantages, but it is not always the case that this actually improves the translation.