At first glance, selecting a translation service provider may seem like a daunting task. Especially if your own linguistic knowledge is limited, you can experience a measure of uncertainty about how to best cope with your translation needs, what to expect in terms of costs, what to demand as far as deadlines. The information below is aimed at providing a brief overview of the types of translation service providers available to you today.
Two main options have traditionally coexisted in the translation market: the translation agency (large or small), and the single freelancer. In recent years, however, a new option has materialized, thanks to changes in the dynamics of this fast-paced market, and to the perks of globalization: the monolingual translation team.
Following is a brief overview of what each of these translation service providers may be able to offer you.
- The advantage of using a translation agency is that no matter how many languages you need your text translated into, they will manage your project for you, coordinating the various steps and the different linguistic resources involved. It is however important to keep in mind that with a translation agency you essentially entrust your translation needs to a middle-man, whose objective is to profit from the entire process; you relinquish most of the control over the translation process itself, not to mention over the selection of the linguistic resources who will be used to actually translate your text (there's an open debate as to the factors that actually influence this selection at this juncture, i.e. competitive rates vs. actual competence), and with whom you will never have any direct contact.
- The single freelancer, if of proven experience, is a great option as well; however, the reality of taking any translation project to fruition involves the participation of several linguists for each language you require (translator, editor, proofreader, format proofer —depending on the services you wish to contract): so, by electing to work with single freelancers, you are in effect taking on a project management role, coordinating several linguistic resources per language on your end. Which, in spite of the undeniable financial advantages of contracting with single freelancers directly, may or may not be your cup of tea.
- A monolingual translation team is generally a small consortium of linguists of the same native language, who share compatible experience, niche knowledge and definite specializations. They typically have worked together for years, and have come to mutually trust and rely on each other’s skills and expertise. These self-reliant teams bring literally decades of proven experience to the table, a high degree of synergy, and are able to efficiently take on the task, understand the requirements thereof, coordinate deadlines, and deliver, in a timely manner, the highest quality product —directly, at a cost that represents the best price/quality ratio in the industry. If you are looking for personal service (including invaluable direct access to your linguistic resources), efficient internal coordination of each language separately, and a tailored and quality-focused linguistic performance overall, a monolingual translation team might be what you are looking for.
Your translated texts will represent you, and speak of you and your products or services to your foreign target audiences. Selecting the right translation service provider from the start is therefore simply paramount to your international success.