Today’s post is a guest blog post by member Patrick Hayslett of LinguaLinx, Inc. Patrick provides some tips from the vendor management point of view on evaluating and dealing professionally with translation outsourcers.
“Meeting in the middle: How outsourcers and translators can work together” by Patrick Hayslett, LinguaLinx
From outright scams mentioned in a post by Jared to project managers that leave you pounding your forehead on the keyboard, there are plenty of land mines planted in a translator’s inbox. Aside from these unscrupulous scenarios, conflict may even arise with legitimate translation companies.
This natural conflict is best summarized by Lucia Leszinsky’s article on risk management for both parties. “Regardless of the type of activity involved everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed to several types of risk that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.”
I’m Patrick Hayslett, Communications Coordinator with LinguaLinx, a leading translation company that utilizes outsourced professional translators. I’m here to share our Vendor Manager’s thoughts on how outsourcers and translators can cooperate in a fair manner that acknowledges and minimizes risk to both.
Meeting in the middle
We believe the greatest area of improvement for both outsourcers and translators is communication.
- A good outsourcer who is serious about partnering with you needs to communicate a variety of things. If a new relationship is being established, are recruiting requirements clear? If a project is being placed, are you receiving a mass e-mail, or have you been specifically screened for suitability and contacted in a one-to-one communication? When work is agreed upon, it is very important that details are provided to you at the beginning of a project. Does the client prefer more literal or adaptive translations? During the project, are your questions answered? Are you provided with questions or feedback?
- A good translator also needs to be communicative. Our best providers usually communicate
the most, offering helpful suggestions and learning client preferences over time. While some translation companies have the commodity mindset, others will realize that your work is
their work. Common courtesy such as acknowledgement of receipt and status updates goes
a long way.
It is also important to understand that outsourcers have certain requirements to fulfill that may not be popular but are necessary. In these instances, a good translation company will at least value your time and professionalism enough to minimize your cost and risk.
The need for sample translations is one example.
- Your work is our work. Your CV often will not suffice by itself because anyone can make
claims that are difficult to substantiate and there are relatively low entry barriers to hang
your hat as a “translator.”
- While we need to see your quality, a sample translation can be kept to a reasonable size such as 300 words or less. You should also receive the courtesy of feedback and be provided with the chance to further explain word choices or stylistic choices if they were not viewed favorably.
- If your plate is truly full, there is no reason for you to perform sample translations. If you are prospecting, then there are certain marketing activities that are incumbent on you just as they are on an outsourcer looking for clients. Sample translation is one of them. Don’t feel bad – translation companies are often asked to do very large sample translations for clients during competitive bidding.
If you send unsolicited information to a translation company, it may be difficult to get back to you because of the sheer volume of CVs and communications received. However, if you are already in dialogue, common courtesy from both parties speaks volumes on whether a relationship would be profitable.
The challenge is out there. It’s up to translators and outsourcers to meet in the middle to create fair relationships that are profitable to both.
Thanks, Patrick! LinguaLinx is a Corporate member at ProZ.com. You can visit their website at http://www.lingualinx.com/, and review their ProZ.com Blue Board record at http://www.proz.com/blueboard/1079.
Would you add any advice to this? What other aspects are important in detecting and working with a good outsourcer?