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freelancer vs. agency
Thread poster: Ron Stelter
Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:34
Partial member (2003)
German to English
Apr 12, 2003

I\'ve noticed that agencies seem to be able to command a much higher rate just by the very fact of declaring they are agencies-whether or not their services are that much more comprehensive or of a higher quality from that of a freelancer. I\'ve seen some with much higher rates-like three times the going rate.



I also wonder if there would be tax implications if I am calling myself \"freelancer\" as opposed to \"XXXX Translations\" or whatever. I guess that as long as I don\'t incorporate, it wouldn\'t affect anything???



Any opinions? I guess my basic question is: Would calling myself \"XXXX Translations\"-in and of itself-lend itself to getting more clients and higher rates? It does seem to me like agencies enjoy an \"instant credibility\"-at least in the eyes of direct clients.



I\'ve also noticed that some Proz members list both their individual freelancer information and their agency information-sort of a middle position, I guess.



Any feedback appreciated.



Ron



[ This Message was edited by: ronjon on 2003-04-12 14:10]



[ This Message was edited by: ronjon on 2003-04-12 14:11]

[ This Message was edited by: ronjon on 2003-04-12 14:13]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
Define Apr 12, 2003

How do you define an agency? An incorporated institution in a building with a director, pms, dpt-specialists and sales-people or somebody having the necessary soft to do the required DTP, who works together with people worldwide- a sort of virtual agency with no overheads at all?

Both imply project management.



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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:34
Partial member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
That's the very point Apr 12, 2003

An agency is very hard to define. Some may be quite large with an office and twenty full-time staff. Some may offer every type of format and every kind of service in 200 languages. But others may have only one language combination, only a few specializations and perhaps only a staff of one with no freelancers. Whether or not you are \"officially\" an agency is whether you call yourself \"agency\" or \"freelancer.\"



OK, I\'m now ABCD Translations. I\'m already an agency. That fast. Whether or not, I would get more clients by doing so is, however, debatable and why I posted this question.

[ This Message was edited by: ronjon on 2003-04-12 14:46]


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kbamert  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:34
French to German
+ ...
I'm now ABCD Translations Apr 12, 2003

Hello



You forgot to change your member name...



Kurt


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
People Service Profit Apr 12, 2003

How much capital and knowledge do you have to put up a well-oiled virtual structure? Virgin is a structure and a brand-name. The structure functions on itself, regarless of the fact that R.Branson works every day to make it function.

If I take my old textbooks of Project Management, there was a question about whether or not you are going to accept a certain project at a certain rate of productivity to be finished next day and if you would accept another project coming in at noon, to be finished two days later.

P.M.\'s have to decide on such issues on a daily basis. I might be wrong, but you will reach more clients if you have a structure. An example of that are UPS, FedEx and DHL. Due to economies of scale, they function 24h/day 7 days/week 365days/ year.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
it is defined by what it does Apr 12, 2003

Agencies are supposed to accomplish the procedure translate-edit-proof, with at least 2 different persons doing it.

Agencies are also supposed to be able to handle much higher volumes in a certain time frame.

This implies project preparation and management (coordination).

If you can offer all of this, you are an agency.

There are also many brokers who pretend to be an agency. In fact, they are just passing words and money and keep 30% for doing nothing, not even reviewing. This often causes trouble.

Agencies can demand a higher rate because a single Freelancer simply could not accomplish those high volumes in a short time. Many big clients need a very short translation time because otherwise their progams would be overaged before the translation would be finished


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xxxIanW
Local time: 20:34
German to English
+ ...
More clients? Apr 12, 2003

\"Whether or not, I would get more clients by doing so is, however, debatable and why I posted this question.\"



To answer Ron\'s question, my own experiences would lead me to say yes, but these additional requests are often for language pairs which you do not cover yourself - e.g. I had a request for German to Japanese yesterday.



By operating under \"ABCD Translations\", many clients assume you can cope with anything. My advice would be, unless you want to have a certain amount of project management to contend with - or have no qualms about turning such clients down - I would stick with the freelancer status, where your limitations are invariably respected.



There is also the fact that some clients feel more comfortable with a single translator, rather than an agency which might use different translators.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agencies vs. incorporation Apr 13, 2003

The difference between a translation agency and a freelance translator isn\'t in whether you\'re incorporated or not, or whether you use a business name or your personal name. The difference is in the role you play in the translation process.



The essential difference between an agency and a freelance translator is that an agency outsources work to a translator. The translator translates the text. The role of the agency is to act as middleman between the translator and the client. The \"agency\" in this transaction may be anything from a single freelancer (incorporated or not) working alone, to a company with a physical location and permanent employees. Or something in between.



[ This Message was edited by: GoodWords on 2003-04-13 04:03]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:34
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The principle of added value Apr 13, 2003

IMHO justifies an agency, or an individual acting as an agency (for ex., a translation coordinator). If that person or company assures quality (in terms of proofreading, editing, harmonization of terms, in some cases DTP, marketing and other services), that is added value and can explain why the invoicing channels should pass through that person; otherwise, a translation team invoicing separately might do the same job.



Some people may prefer being freelancers and other people acting as agencies; I think the reasons would be economic. I personally work faster and earn more money as a freelancer. However, that could change: if I were to have, for example, a volume that justified paying more attention to coordinating and other services, I might consider becoming an agency -- but note that not all people are gifted for it or want to assume the role, even if they are good translators. The most successful agency ventures that I know involve specialization and a good grasp of the economics of scale.





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