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The point of having international offices
Thread poster: Pavel Zalutski

Pavel Zalutski  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
English to Russian
+ ...
Oct 22, 2007

Hey! Any ideas why successful translation agencies have so many international offices? It's not like these days a client brings into an office with him a heap of documents to translate. So why this office thing then? What are they doing there? Having friendly tea with local clients? I mean, I don't need to be in China to translate for Chinese clients! Let's discuss this, bring your thoughts on.

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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:52
German to English
Sales representatives Oct 22, 2007

Large agencies need to have local offices in important markets in order to sell their services. In many cases, merely having a single office and a web presence isn't enough.

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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:52
Member (2002)
English to German
Presence Oct 22, 2007

I guess you are right in so far as it shouldn't be necessary to have an office locally.

Nevertheless friends working in corporations often tell me that they check the yellow pages if they need a translator.
Sure, they could also check the Internet but in practice they often don't.
So this would even speak for having an office in every major town...

In addition clients feel safer to work with somebody within the same country. From a legal viewpoint that makes sense because it is quite hard to get your claims in a different country...

Regards
Andy

www.interlations.com


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Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:52
German to Polish
+ ...
Tenders Oct 22, 2007

If they want to participate in tenders in a specific country, the best way to be successful is to have a local branch office.

Regards

Andrzej


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 19:52
Sales, growth Oct 22, 2007

Sepends on the kind of business they're after.
For example, a translation company might want someone in Brussels to chase valuable EU translation tender contracts.


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Pavel Zalutski  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Okay, describe the selling, Kevin. Oct 22, 2007

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Large agencies need to have local offices in important markets in order to sell their services. In many cases, merely having a single office and a web presence isn't enough.


Okay, describe the selling, Kevin. People these days call me from India to sell on behalf of an American corporation. Or you mean they're handing flyers on the street where their office is located?

[Edited at 2007-10-22 19:58]


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Pavel Zalutski  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Orla, have you chased after valuable tender contracts personally ever? Oct 22, 2007

Orla Ryan wrote:

Sepends on the kind of business they're after.
For example, a translation company might want someone in Brussels to chase valuable EU translation tender contracts.



Orla, have you chased after valuable tender contracts personally ever? Like went out of your house and into the office of the person about to award the contract? Anyone ever went to an actual meeting to get a translation job? Wait, I did... I even once signed a contract sitting in a coference room...


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
The human touch Oct 22, 2007

Pavel Zalutski wrote:

Having friendly tea with local clients?



That's the secret, Pavel, as we British, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Turks and other tea-drinking nations know.

I'm not an agency but even as a humble freelance, I have clients and collaborators in places I have never actually been to. That said, after I have had the opportunity to put a face to an email address I work with at a trade fair, or ProZ conference, or whatever, and if possible share a pot of tea, it has generally led to much improved business relations.

I'm sure that successful multi-location agencies have similar tea-focused business strategies.

Best,

Giles


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: At poster's request.

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:52
English to German
+ ...
Time zones and foreign exchange rates Oct 22, 2007

And local employees for accounting and office jobs. Otherwise a client who wants to talk to accounting would have to talk to a perfectly bilingual person. A little bit overqualified, I'd say.

If an agency has clients overseas and is dealing with time differences of 9, 10, 11 hours, it makes sense to open a local office. Otherwise they need an extra team for the night shift and have office hours 24/7. How else would they be able to communicate with clients over the phone? 4am in their pajamas?

It also makes sense to be able to process local checks at local banks without losing money due to foreign exchange rates or insane banking fees.


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Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reducing costs Oct 22, 2007

They may want to transfer project management and other office and admin tasks where labour costs, office rental and taxes are lower, while keeping head office structure in the higher cost original country at a minimum. This does not necessarily mean that they would pay lower rates to translators.

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Jalapeno
Local time: 20:52
English to German
... Oct 23, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

And local employees for accounting and office jobs. Otherwise a client who wants to talk to accounting would have to talk to a perfectly bilingual person. A little bit overqualified, I'd say.

If an agency has clients overseas and is dealing with time differences of 9, 10, 11 hours, it makes sense to open a local office. Otherwise they need an extra team for the night shift and have office hours 24/7. How else would they be able to communicate with clients over the phone? 4am in their pajamas?

It also makes sense to be able to process local checks at local banks without losing money due to foreign exchange rates or insane banking fees.




Exactly.


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Voloshka  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:52
English to Russian
+ ...
I know that in some cases Oct 23, 2007

the offices are fake.
But they have a list of representative offices (and a person answering the phone and asking clients to send an e-mail) and potential clients think "You are so popular when you have offices there, there and there". The more offices you have the more effective you look.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:52
German to English
Large-scale players have sales/customer service forces Oct 23, 2007

Pavel Zalutski wrote:
Okay, describe the selling, Kevin. People these days call me from India to sell on behalf of an American corporation. Or you mean they're handing flyers on the street where their office is located?

[Edited at 2007-10-22 19:58]


I'm not talking about "Mom and Pop" agencies who have 3-4 in-house employees.

To put it quite simply: large agencies have sales forces and personnel (in many cases project managers)devoted to servicing existing clientele. One agency I've worked with sends its sales force to international companies opening new offices in the area to qualify their translation needs. Since the agency specializes in the automotive industry, it also has an office with staff in the Stuttgart area, where there are a large number of automotive suppliers. The larger clients are assigned a project manager who will stay in regular contact.

As others have pointed out, being in the same time zone as the client has important implications for customer service. Having a local presence also facilitates payment, another important factor mentioned by others.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:52
English to German
+ ...
Pavel.. Oct 23, 2007

I am highly interested why you are asking this question, especially since I am noticing quite a bit of sarcasm on your side.

Are you planning on expanding and are you trying to obtain useful information through the backdoor? Your profile page indicates 6 six years of translation experience. You should know the industry by now.


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