About becoming an Outsourcer
Thread poster: Alexandre Chetrite

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 14:04
English to French
Mar 5, 2009

Hello,

Could you define exactly what is "Outsourcing" and things new freelancers should know about it? (traps, risks, opportunities, things no to do/say to outsourcers)
This for matter of clarification.

And how can a translator become an "outsourcer" in general?

What are the qualities needed to be a good outsourcer ?

Thank you.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:04
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Have you read Alex Eames' e-book? Mar 5, 2009

http://www.translatortips.net/ht50.html

It might be a good place to begin.


As for how to become an outsourcer: an outsourcer is an entrepreneur with selling skills. Clients are normally found among the local business community.

A good quality for an outsourcer would be honesty, for example.

[Edited at 2009-03-05 13:52 GMT]


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Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 14:04
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
About Outsourcer qualities Mar 5, 2009

Hello Astrid,

Do you suggest that outsourcers are not honest in general (likes salespeople)



Just kidding...




[Edited at 2009-03-05 15:46 GMT]


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:04
German to English
+ ...
Be a businessperson first and foremost Mar 5, 2009

I don't think I'll ever be a large-scale outsourcer because the thrill of the job for me is translation, not acquisitions and the business end. If you want to outsource work, you first need excellent business skills that put you in the position to be flooded with more work than you can handle. Then you need to add project management and people management skills to outsource and manage the overflow. Think about whether you enjoy translation more or the business management end more before you take the plunge into acquiring a bunch of direct clients.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Have you grown tired of translating? Mar 5, 2009

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:
And how can a translator become an "outsourcer" in general?


I always fail to understand why becoming an outsourcer is considered the next step after being a translator.

Are you tired of translation? Why do you wish to become an outsourcer?


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:04
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
A piece of advice Mar 5, 2009

You can only be successful as an outsourcer (in the long-term perspective) if you are able to pay your translators the rate you would be happy with yourself.

Cheers,
Oleg


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:04
English to French
+ ...
Couldn't have said it better Mar 6, 2009

Oleg wrote:
You can only be successful as an outsourcer (in the long-term perspective) if you are able to pay your translators the rate you would be happy with yourself.


If all outsourcers shared your philosophy, Oleg, I am sure clients, outsourcers and translators alike would be much better off. Sadly, this philosophy doesn't seem to be shared by many outsourcers, to the point where I sometimes feel like being blunt and asking outsourcers who offer to pay low rates "Frankly, would you work for that rate?"


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xxxEric Hahn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:04
French to German
+ ...
Too much responsability for me Mar 6, 2009

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:

What are the qualities needed to be a good outsourcer ?



You'll have to pay translators even if end clients become insolvent ...


BTW, I set a minimum rate in my profile.

If job postings could automatically respect these settings, it would be great !


[Edited at 2009-03-06 11:19 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Outsourcers' integrity - no kidding! Mar 6, 2009

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:
Do you suggest that outsourcers are not honest in general (likes salespeople)
Just kidding...


You seem to imply that salespeople are not "honest" either...

Any professional endeavor can be taken with varying degrees of ethics. Some of them are heavily controlled by systems (e.g. bank teller), others are not (e.g. bartender*).

To avoid a lot of Q&A here, after the patron is drunk with the good stuff, the bartender might slip cheap booze instead, and sell the good liquor to his buddies for peanuts.

The problem with translation is that all too often both the outsourcer and the end-client are 'drunk', i.e. they are unable to properly assess what is eventually delivered to them in an unknown language. So when trust meets integrity, success is born.

Considering the state of the art of globalized translation, it's too easy nowadays to build an impressive web stite conveying the image that a certain translation outsourcing operation will safely fulfill an end-client's translation needs. The same web site may be the frontline of a hard-working team of competent professionals, just as it may be the façade for a scheming moonlighter with despicable ethics. Only results will tell.

An outsourcer can go by the (ethics) book, pay their translators the rates they would accept themselves (as some colleagues wisely remarked here) to do that work, always on time. Nevertheless, it's quite easy - maybe too easy - to live on the cash generated from up-front payments by end-clients, and pay their vendors a few months later with the up-front payments for the next job, and so on.

Likewise, thanks to NDAs, the end-client will (supposedly) never know who did that job, so it's safe to assume that they don't know the outsourcer's margin. Of course, it's also possible to lower internal costs by trimming all controls. Therefore, it's tempting to buy cheap and sell it for the highest rates one can get. Everyone is free to brag about their quality assurance, even where there isn't any.

It's a matter of choosing between a long-term successful translation outsourcing business and something to live on while it lasts. One same web site design will seve either option, or anything in the middle.


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