The English language has been the lingua franca for international trade and several fields of academic studies for decades. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. The demand for translation service does not seem like abating anytime soon, even in traditionally English-speaking countries. Take the US, for instance. In its most prominent financial hub, the New York translation services scene features seasoned agencies whose services continue to attract a substantial client base just like non-English-speaking regions.
Sadly, the advent of the internet now means that virtually anyone with a smattering of language skills can set up a translation service company on the internet. This easy access results in numerous charlatans masquerading as in a particular field. Most people tend to assume that fluency in a language equals the expertise to act as an expert translator.
When considering the services of any online translation agency, the reputable ones have the following traits:
1) Translators earn competitive rates
Digital freelancing means that clients can now go on numerous sites and acquire services for very meager fees. Many online translation agencies know this. The less scrupulous ones choose to take advantage of this fact (and its employees). The top management at such less reputable firms prefers to outsource their work to translators in regions of the world where minimum hourly wages are way below the acceptable standards in first-world countries like Britain and the US. Most translators hired from less developed countries tend to be incompetent and unqualified for the job.
The best online translation service providers often source their translation talent from certified experts through rigorous screening processes and pay them well. Such agencies know that their reputation is dependent on the quality of work they produce. Inaptitude usually reflects negatively on a company. Well-paid employees and contractors mean better quality service.
2) Translators are paid promptly
The internet now enables an individual with the requisite skills to market their expertise online and make money. Such business transactions between employers and contractors require that payment methods be prompt and efficient. Therefore, there is no reason why a good translation service agency should delay the payments of its workers. Regardless of a company’s organizational structure, good companies pay their translators on time.
3) Do not have Unreasonable Confidentiality Agreements
Certain documents, especially those of a legal nature, do require some discretion. Therefore, translators usually have to sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure that the privacy of the client and the integrity of documents are protected. However, some translation service providers tend to use confidentiality agreements as a tool to extract unreasonable and demeaning concessions from their translators. For example, such translations providers require that their translator ( often a freelancer) agree to a non-competing clause. This agreement effectively denies the translator the opportunity to take on side jobs. The implicit message in such agreements is that the translator should declare undying loyalty to their employer, the translation service agency. Some agencies go as far as instituting legal proceedings against their translators for (perceived) minor misunderstandings during the translation process.
4) Honesty and Transparency
Professional relationships, much like personal ones, tend to succeed on a foundation of trust and transparency. A good translation service agency should be honest with its translators and clients. This culture will foster trust and efficiency. Dummy agencies can sometimes make spurious claims like “we translate all documents into all languages.” Such an assertion is not grounded in reality because no single entity knows every aspect of all known human language.
Advertisement claims such as those mentioned above are nothing more than a cheap marketing ploy. Potential clients should watch out for marketers that try to obfuscate critical elements of any campaign.
Some agencies can come up with frivolous reasons not to pay their translators. Such nefarious behavior could be the result of near-bankruptcy. Such behavior is usually a last-ditch attempt at preventing damage to their reputation.
5) Overbearing Project Managers or Staff
Beware of translation service agencies whose top management has a reputation for firing translators for silly or trivial reasons. Reputable translation companies ensure that unnecessary office politics does not interfere with the productivity of their translators.
In light of the above factors, it’s clear that not all seemingly reputable translation service companies are worth considering. The best companies endeavor to cultivate a solid brand. An agency’s productivity is as good as the professional well-being of its workers. Freelancers can choose to work for multiple clients simultaneously, hence avoiding many of the pitfalls of regular employment.