Translation agency processes part I
When we think of a translation agency, many of us imagine a company where all of the employees are translators. This might be true if we consider a small, even a micro company that prepares translations in just a few languages. On a larger scale, a translation agency is an effective business, where project management constitutes the most important part of a translation process.
A translation agency is a service company whose largest part comprises of customer service department. In addition, the development of the enterprise is supervised by management, HR, marketing and sales departments. Internal translation unit also plays an important role when it comes to daily operation. The majority of translators working there are responsible for translating from the most popular languages, those belonging to the so-called “first group” including English, German, French and Russian. Apart from in-house translators, many more professionals work remotely, from wherever they want. Those might be freelancers or smaller companies which are subcontracted to other, larger translation companies. This way translation agencies may cooperate not only with translators, but also with editors, proofreaders, native speakers or graphic designers.
Orders processed by large translation agencies are not just documents which need to be simply translated into another language. Sometimes the original document is sent in the format that could not be edited in majority of common text editors. This is why in order to “keep it in its form”, translation agency employees have to coordinate the work between a translator and a graphic designer who takes care of the appropriate file format. Due to different kinds of translations prepared for major institutions or corporations, translation agencies must be prepared for proper project management, so that the final effect would satisfy even the most demanding clients.
The path that every document must follow during the translation process is far more complex than just sending it to the translator and receiving it back. When an agency receives a quote, customer service department, where project managers (PM) work, handles it first. Usually there is one PM assigned for each client and their duties involve taking utmost care of the quality and timeliness of the orders. Thanks to that the cooperation is smooth, and the client is certain that his business is handled by a person who cares for it in a complex and comprehensive way. The project manager accepts and confirms the order, calculates the price for it, according to the type of translation (or interpretation), language combination and specialization. After the confirmation of price and deadline, the service is performed. In case of interpretation it may involve ordering and operating translation equipment and ensuring that interpreters appear at the appropriate place and time. Contrary to popular belief, it is written translation that proves more difficult to handle. Project manager has to deliver the documents to a translator, then to a verifier or a native speaker, check its format and certify true copy. It is only then that the person in charge of the project can send the translation to the customer. Therefore, project manager has to plan all these steps within the time frame specified by the client. As you can see, the final deadline does not equal only the completion of translator’s work – it requires much more effort from numerous people.