What You Need to Know About The Translation Industry

We’ve just wrapped up production of The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies. This guide is now in its second edition, which is a testament to the demand out there for objective information on selecting a translation agency.

What’s new with this edition?

For starters, we completely updated the agency directory. There are now 53 agencies included. It’s worth noting that some agencies included last year are not included this year, such as Luz and Lionbridge. We certainly wanted to include these agencies but they never provided us with the information we requested. Agencies did not have to pay to be included in our directory, but they did have to supply us with some basic information to aid potential clients.

Also new in this edition are:

  • A Q&A section with American Translation Partners on the dangers of “back translation”
  • Five things you should know about your translation agency
  • Web globalization trends

Demystifying the translation industry

I have worked in a number of industries over the years and I find that the translation industry is among the most mysterious. Ten years ago, when I first purchased translation services, I assumed that the agency kept a staff of full-time translators on hand, ready for the next job.

Today I know better. Most translation work is outsourced to freelancers. Sometimes freelancers will outsource work to other freelancers. It’s an industry dominated by thousands of one- to three-person firms that earn less than $500,000 annually. What does this mean? It means that there is little consistency among firms, no industry-wide standard for measuring or controlling quality, and ruthless price competition.

If you’re looking for a translation agency, don’t rush into it. The extra hours you invest in screening your potential vendors could save you thousands of dollars in “change orders” and countless headaches down the road.

And check out our guide. There is nothing else out there like it and it has already helped countless companies successfully navigate the mysterious world of translation.

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