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To be or not to be an agency
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Flemish to English
+ ...
Jan 15, 2004

I work together with other linguists,specialists, people who are married with a native speaker and live in the country where the language is spoken and pay them for their services. That way, I can offer translations into languages I do not know. Am I becoming an agency or does it take more to be one.
Where is the limit between the individual translator and the agency? In this virtual world it is possible to be a virtual agency.


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:37
English to German
+ ...
So what??? Jan 15, 2004

Sorry, Williamson, but I simply do not get the point of what you are trying to say by stating the obvious and trying to discuss "problems" that are just non-existent or are of no relevance, after all (not for the first time, BTW).

Isn't it that I can call mnyself "translation agency", not being a translator at all, but distributing all orders to fellow translators and charging them a commision of 5% for providing clients? That's what agencies do, actually. So??? Which does not mean I am not an "agency" anymore if I translate myself.

What's the essence of your posting? And, provided there is such, does it really matter?

Cheers

Steffen

Williamson wrote:

I work together with other linguists,specialists, people who are married with a native speaker and live in the country where the language is spoken and pay them for their services. That way, I can offer translations into languages I do not know. Am I becoming an agency or does it take more to be one.
Where is the limit between the individual translator and the agency? In this virtual world it is possible to be a virtual agency.


[Edited at 2004-01-15 10:43]

[Edited at 2004-01-15 10:44]


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:37
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
What it takes to be an agency... Jan 15, 2004

Williamson wrote:
...That way, I can offer translations into languages I do not know.
Am I becoming an agency or does it take more to be one.


You can certainly outsource some work. To be a full blown agency, for
which I intend an organization providing linguistic services,
takes a lot more than that.

Williamson wrote:
Where is the limit between the individual translator and the agency?


There is no definite limit, you can call agency anything from 1 to 1000 staff, but there is clearly a difference in the range of services offered, and not necessarily the quality/size relation is linear...

If you want a simple classification, I would classify the agencies as follows:

1 staff = one person band
Limited capabilities, in terms of expertize, languages covered, technical expertise and resources. Consequently, the range and level of services offered is limited.
Typically very weak financially (hand to mouth)

2-5 staff = very small organizations
May be very professional, dedicated, and provide a good service, in particular if they specialize in a small number of language pairs and/or subjects.
Often very pleasant to work with (both for translators and end customers).
Limited number of services, not always able to cover all aspects (localization, DTP, technical issues, etc...)
They can be financially weak.


6-20 staff = small to medium size
Good size for an agency.
If they specialise, the service level can be very good.

21-100 staff = medium size agencies
Now we are starting to be serious.
Typically at this size there is in place a proper business structure and a wide range of services can be covered.

100 to 250 = medium to large
Able to provide a large number of services, often in more than one country.
Internal expertise in many languages and subjects. Able to serve large customer and deliver vey large size projects.
Internal Engineering and DTP departments.
They can be financially very solid.

over 250
More of the above...



Williamson wrote:
In this virtual world it is possible to be a virtual agency.


Yes, the technology is available. Yet, it takes organization and expertize to use well the technologies and transform it in value for the customers.
Having a fast Internet connection and a lot of software doesn't make automatically of an individual an efficient organization.

I hope this answers a bit to your question.


Gianfranco




[Edited at 2004-02-04 11:49]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agency size Jan 15, 2004

Tut, tut, Gianfranco,

here in Latvia THE VERY LARGEST Agency has 25 inhouse staff
And none of the others, as far as I know, has more than 6, bookeeeper included...
Uldis

[Edited at 2004-01-15 22:07]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:37
English to German
+ ...
Equally, Jan 15, 2004

having a lot of staff and expertise, does not make an efficient organization of the many individuals you remind.

And, the "classification" criteria you provide are 150% subjective.

The only objective point is the size. But what would be the use of grouping entrprises by size? Everyone can do so.


[quote]Gianfranco Manca wrote:

Having a fast Internet connection and a lot of software doesn't make automatically of an individual an efficient organization.

I hope this answers a bit to your question.


Gianfranco

quote]

[Edited at 2004-01-15 12:42]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:37
German to English
+ ...
To be or not to be an agency Jan 15, 2004

In this virtual world it is possible to be a virtual agency.


Or a virtual dolphin.

Happy swimming and watch out for the tuna nets,

Marc


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Con algo hay que empezar Jan 15, 2004

was the first Spanish sentence I learnt. You have to start somewhere, "swim" and see where that gets you.
Sometimes I get offers from one man/woman operations, who call themselves "cabinet" or "agency", sometimes from a 2-6 agency and in the past I worked for a big structure. So, what is the definition of an agency. I think Gianfranco answered it.
Every company has been a startup which grew and adopted its structure.


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TonyTK
German to English
+ ...
Or a virtual dolphin ... Jan 15, 2004

Presumably higher up the food chain than your average penguin ...

Tony (trainee whale)


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:37
German to English
+ ...
Virtual dolphin Jan 15, 2004

But not a virtual penguin. I eat anything.

Marc

P.S. Williamson: decide yourself what an "agency" is. Then decide whether you are becoming one, and want to be one. Simple.

The question you really need to answer is whether you are continuing to deliver a professional service. If you don't care to define "professional", try "ethical and legal".

[Edited at 2004-01-15 20:42]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:37
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Can we stick to the topic at hand? Jan 15, 2004

MarcPrior wrote:

TonyTK wrote:

Presumably higher up the food chain than your average penguin ...


But not a virtual penguin. I eat anything.

Marc


Each time you post a message all ProZ memebers that indicated they wanted to receive messages from forum X or Y receive your message.
We're straying off the subject, aren't we?


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 21:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Eeer, huh? Jan 15, 2004

Gianfranco Manca wrote:

1 staff = one person band
Limited capabilities, in terms of expertize, languages covered, technical expertise and resources. Consequently, the range and level of services offered is limited.
Typically very weak financially (hand to mouth)
[Edited at 2004-01-15 11:21]


Gross generalization, mainly the financial point (hand to mouth!!!), although perhaps not untrue for some. Certainly not my case and not the case of many I know. Besides, a "one person band" (?) is NOT an Agency, it's a Freelance Translator, with capitals. The services, resources, expertise and whatever else of good FTs cannot be compared with Agencies'. They are two (very) different businesses.
Cheers
P


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:37
German to English
+ ...
Topic at hand Jan 15, 2004

[Edited at 2004-01-15 20:42]

[Edited at 2004-01-15 20:43]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Have a talk with your bank manager Jan 15, 2004

A real agency needs financing, and the risks are profound. One should be able to check the quality of all translations provided, otherwise clients will find out your not an agency after all.

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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:37
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Agency is a very generic name... Jan 15, 2004

Williamson wrote:
...You have to start somewhere, "swim" and see where that gets you.
...
So, what is the definition of an agency.
I think Gianfranco answered it.


I'm glad if my very personal classification, necessarily schematic and also arbitrary in many respects, helps you or others to define the several bands of what is generically called "the agencies".

Surely I did not inted to disparage small businesses, or praise the big ones, on the contrary, if you want to know, my preference goes on dealing with the middle range of the scale described. Nevertheless, some very large and some very small business can be excellent partners, no doubt about it.

Size is normally used (in our field and many others), to classify businesses, and different sizes are generally accompanied by the corresponding structures, organizational and financial setup, and different ranges of services.

Again, as I said clearly, this holds no prejudice on the quality of the service offered, wich may have no relation to size.

Gianfranco



[Edited at 2004-01-15 22:14]


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 21:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Fair enough now Jan 15, 2004

Gianfranco Manca wrote:
Williamson wrote:
...You have to start somewhere, "swim" and see where that gets you.
...
So, what is the definition of an agency.
I think Gianfranco answered it.

I'm glad if my very personal classification, necessarily schematic and also arbitrary in many respects, helps you or others to define the several bands of what is generically called "the agencies".
Surely I did not inted to disparage small businesses, or praise the big ones, on the contrary, if you want to know, my preference goes on dealing with the middle range of the scale described. Nevertheless, some very large and some very small business can be excellent partners, no doubt about it.
Size is normally used (in our field and many others), to classify businesses, and different sizes are generally accompanied by the corresponding structures, organizational and financial setup, and different ranges of services.
Again, as I said clearly, this holds no prejudice on the quality of the service offered, wich may have no relation to size.
Gianfranco
[Edited at 2004-01-15 22:14]



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