Imagine a scenario when you’ve hired a translation agency after a thorough research on the market. The agency has an impressive track record, references and reviews and you decided to give it a try. When the translation is submitted you are told by a language speaker colleague that the translations have been performed poorly, almost as if instead of a professional native speaker it was done using Google translate.
You are frustrated as there’s no more time to arrange for a new translation, you start imagining how to explain the situation to your boss and so on…You go back to the translation agency and tell them that they’ve submitted poor translation which most certainly has not been performed by a native speaker like promised, that they’ve let you down and that you are not willing to work with them again. You then rush to a first big-brand agency that come up in Google search to translate your documents in a matter of urgency. The cost works out twice as much as quoted originally, you end up explaining overheads to your boss and wondering how other companies do it …Sounds right?
As businesses expand globally, use of outsource translation agencies becomes a daily routine. Success here is in cooperation with your agency. The agency is there to help you get your documents translated. It will help you greatly if you understood what it is that a translation agency actually does and how the industry operates.
A translation agency does not actually translate documents in-house. This is most common deception clients have for a translation agency. In UK and US most translation agencies do not employ translators. There are so many possible criteria combination for a translator that one or another company may need, from languages to knowledge of programming that it’s just not sensible for a translation agency to employ thousands of translators with every possible set of skills to match criteria of a particular client. That’s why when you outsource translation project to a translation agency, they in turn outsource it to a third party translator. So, it is that independent translator who performs the actual translation.
What does the agency do then you may ask?
Translation agency acts as an external project manager. They convert the documents into a translation friendly format, they extract untranslatable data that is not meant to be translated to make it cheaper for you, and most important translation agency sources THE translator who has a most relevant set of skills and experience for your particular project out of THOUSANDS possible profiles. Would you be willing to do it yourself? I guess, not.
When choosing translators, translation agency relies on information in translators CVs, professional references, track record and reviews from other clients – just like you did when you were choosing translation agency from hundreds others in the first place.
So when translation agency had been led to believe by an individual translator during bidding for the job, that he or she possessed the required set of skills, they’ve led you to believe the same. If at the end if turned out that the translation wasn’t done properly, then it only means is that the information provided to the translation agency by a translator was misrepresented in the first place. For instance, translator may have stated that he or she was a native speaker, whereas in reality this wasn’t so.
Let’s get back to the situation with poor quality translation. Now that you understand that it’s not the agency who translates, but a third party translator, you could look on the situation from different prospective. Why do you have to spend YOUR time sourcing another agency, when the original agency can source another translator for you?
If I were in your shoes, I would say to the agency: “FYI, the translator you’ve chosen for our project didn’t not performed the work properly, please don’t work with him/her any more. In relation to current project, I’m running late with it now, so please engage another translator to improve it. At your own cost. I need finalized translation by XXX”.
Am I paying anything extra? No. Do I have to spend any more time for this? No. What if translation agency fails to find a correct translator again? Well… the agency has learned their lesson. And you are probably getting a good discount for incontinence. Besides, there’s always a probability that any new hired agency may fall into a dishonest translator as well. All agencies source translators from the same databases and associations. So why would you spend more time and money on research? Just let the original agency deal with this.