How does a translation company work?

The translation business is growing daily due to the importance of having an internet presence, and the need to communicate your message to as wide an audience as possible to remain competitive. There are many different types of translation agencies and companies around, ranging from lone “friends of friends” who can help out at a pinch, to large, international companies with professional translators available at the click of a mouse.

What’s the difference between a translation agency and a company?

Technically, a company employs translators full-time and carries out their translations on the company’s premises, while an agency out-sources freelance translators. However, nowadays both terms are generally interchangeable, with the two types of business becoming more similar, and some agencies employing in-house translators as well as freelancers.

So how does a translation company work in practice?

For the freelancer, the first step is to contact the company, who will give them a test to assess their level of ability and also see whether they can not just translate literally, but rephrase and tweak sentences to make them sound natural.

The translation company will then send them a contract, with a confidentiality clause, and will start emailing work to them, first smaller pieces and then larger, more complex projects. They may also have a platform where the freelancer can choose the work they wish to do directly. For a translator starting out, this is ideal because they are free to reject any projects they do not feel competent to handle, and they also know that their work will be checked afterwards. If they have any serious queries, there is a team to help with their experience.

For the client deciding to use a translation company, they will already have decided what they want to translate – a web page, publicity material, lengthy legal documents, or short key phrases for their social media page. Once they contact the company, they may send the documents by email, or upload them directly onto their platform. In either case they will receive an immediate quote.

The translation company will then either email the projects to their freelancers or leave them on the platform to be translated by whoever might be available, depending on the urgency and length of the piece. They may also decide to use certain translators if the content is technical and falls under their area of expertise.

The next stage is where the professional translator really comes into their own. There is a reason why Google Translate can’t replace a person! A good translator will add that human touch that makes a piece read well, with their knowledge of the idioms, expressions and culture of the other language that really makes a difference.

After the piece has been finished, the agency will pass it to a second person to proof read it, which may seem unnecessary, but is very important as even the best translators may find themselves accidentally using stilted phrases or making small spelling or punctuation mistakes.

Finally, the piece will be returned to the customer, who hopefully is so happy with the finished product, and with the positive response from their clients, that they will continue to use the translation company for many years to come.

As you can see, there are many benefits to both translators and businesses of using a translation company. The translator is provided with work, without having to search for customers, and builds up experience over time. The client is guaranteed a professional, reasonably-priced finished product in a short time frame and with the option of many different languages if necessary. For both parties, an agency is the ideal solution to their needs.

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