Do owners of translation agencies have to be translators?
The majority of translation companies are originally founded as sole proprietorships and they are expanded later on. Inevitably then, we are used to a situation where the owner usually represents professionally the industry in which they began their activity as an entrepreneur: first they complete all orders themselves and only later on they start to hire employees. Instinctively then, perhaps most of us will say that it is indeed the case, i.e. the owner of a translation agency should be a translator. Is it, however, the best option actually?
What is required in business is good knowledge of the industry.
Regardless of the sector in which a company is to operate, it is certain that its owner has to know their industry inside out. It is necessary that they:
- know what market problems they can encounter;
- know the most frequent needs and requirements of their future customers;
- can estimate the costs of operating a business;
- already have or can easily establish contacts with companies from related industries, for instance in order to expand their offer or mutually advertise services.
Nevertheless, the most important thing is for a company owner to know the specificity of work of their future subordinates. Only then will they be able to organise effective methods of completion of orders, cooperation between employees and communication with the customer. This will also allow them to identify the necessary quality standards of services offered.
Therefore, a CEO should know the industry, but they do not have to be a translator.
Theoretically, it is none other than the translator who will have orientation in such matters as the secrets of methods of producing translations, the level of their difficulty and the problems which may arise during translation. They will probably also conduct effective recruitment of the best employees, being able to assess the level of skill they represent and the extensiveness of their knowledge after all.