Issue 4
February 2010

Coming up in our next issue Mar 2010 :
Google Translation Tool

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Agency & Translator Relationship

1 / 3 pages

As Internet expands, the language translation market is expected to continue to grow at a staggering rate of 30% from the present value of $30 to $40 billion. The numbers of translator and interpreters are expected to increase 20% till 2014. We have some advises here to translators who wish to work with translation agencies.

Take the trial seriously

When translators apply to a translation agency, it is common that the agency requests a trial test. The content of the trial test is usually selected based on the translator's background and it often requires specialized knowledge and skills. The quality of translations and background of translators are the main factors that agencies are interested to know. However, whether the quality of work matches the translator's rate is also critical. It is important that the translators are able to judge their own translation rate objectively. The quality of work and translator's asking rate should not vary too much. There is no harm asking the agencies for information such as a benchmark for translation rates. If possible, ask the agency to provide works done by other translators who passed the trial test and their rate as a reference. There are many kinds of translation jobs that require different levels of skills. As long as your quality of work matches the rate, the agency will keep you in mind and inform you when there are any suitable assignments.

Build up your translation speed

When you start off as a translator, you may find the translation process takes time and painstaking. However, after your 10th translation of similar kind of documents, such as a contract agreement, you will find yourself with more confidence and experience in translating documents of similar nature. The basic vocabularies and expressions used in a contract agreement are standardized. The important thing is to pay careful attention to every phrase during translating. Take additional effort to find out related words and expressions. After your 10th work, you will see improvement in your translation speed and accuracy.

Before you begin your translation, check if you are familiar with the content, estimate completion time and additional time for any unexpected incident that may occur during the time you are translating. Consider incidents such as the lost of internet connection, document unsaved due to power failure, computer virus infection, etc. For example, add 3-4 hours of additional time to a translation that requires 10 hours work. This will buy you some insurance in case of unexpected incidents. 

In some cases, the translation agency may request you to complete the translation in a short time frame due to the client's urgent need. You should check with the agency the exact time that they require the translated document and negotiate a favorable time for delivery. All urgent documents must be handled with additional care. If there is any chance that you think you cannot complete the translation in the specified time frame, do not attempt to take up the job. Otherwise, you may not only put the agency in a tight spot, but also lose the agency’s credit.

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