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Translation directories - any good?
Thread poster: lizzy g

lizzy g  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:51
Italian to English
Mar 23, 2005


I have noticed that various websites offer a 'translation directory', i.e. a list of translation agencies in a particular country.
One that i've just seen offers 400 addresses in the Uk for 137 Euros.

It seems a good idea to me but perhaps I'm a bit sceptical... Has one ever bought one and/or any experience using them? Would anyone recommend them? They all have lists of testimonies (v. positive of course), but...!


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:51
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Go Platinum and use the Blue Board Mar 23, 2005

The Blue Board feature here at is a very thorough list of translation agencies. You also get to receive some feedback from freelance translators like yourself.
Your annual Platinum membership costs less than 137 euros and you get so much more than just a list of agencies.

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Claudia Digel  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:51
English to German
+ ...
Go for Platinum membership instead Mar 23, 2005

Hi Lizzy,

I have seen a few free online tranlsation directories that looked very promising at a first glance but contained many agencies that did no longer exist (perhaps never even existed in the first place), had moved or changed their name and could not be contacted through the details mentioned on the list. Lists that you have to pay for might be better and more up to date but I wouldn't count on that.

Also, it's clear that all the agencies on the list have good testimonies, after all, somebody wants you to pay for the list, it wouldn't make too much sense for them to include agencies with bad testimonies since that wouldn't help you to find new clients, would it?

I second Csaba's recommendation, go Platinum so that you have free access to the Blue Board. It costs less than the list you mentioned and you get access to records of more than 5300 outsourcers as well as objective testimonies from other translators.


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Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:51
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Just use Google Mar 23, 2005

Although of course buying a list might save your time and the Blue Board or other similar system can help you get information on a specific agency, I think that as of now, 2005, a serious agency MUST have a website and a good position on search engines. Rembeber that agencies are looking for clients, not just new translators, and clients use things such as yellow pages, phone directories and search engines etc. to find someone that can translate their texts. If an agency cannot be easily found on the net or if it hasn't got enough money to invest on advertising than... maybe it won't have enough money to pay your jobs either;)

So my point is... why pay for something I can get for free? If you have to pay then do it for things that are worth it such as info on non-paying clients (Blue Board and the like), good software tools, dictionaries, resources etc.

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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:51
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
137 euros for 400 addresses?! Mar 24, 2005

The price, on the face of it, seems extremely high.
However, do they say what other information is provided, apart from the addesses?

Years ago there was something called "Glenn's guide to translation agencies": it provided a list of translation companies thoroughly screened, with much additional information (which language pairs they were interested in, what kind of services, etc.).
Glenn's guide was for sale, but it was worth the price (unfortuantely, it is no longer available).

On the other hand, if this is just a list of addresses, such as anybody could easily compile with a few hours of browsing on the Internet, forget it: your money would be much better spent on a Platinum membership, where at least you would have full access to the blue board.

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lawrance Shaw
Local time: 01:51
English to Chinese
+ ...
I more like using yellow pages ... Mar 24, 2005

I am from asia where there are too many this kind of agencies. In fact, generally it is only helpful if the agencies and you are from the same coutry or enven the same city. For example, if I am in Singaproe, it is almost impossible for me to work for an agency in Japan.

According to my experience, yellow pages is the most reliable way to contact agencies. If an agency isn't in the yellow pages, I think it is too small and I suppose is has little projects to do. Of course, yellow pages nowadays is also online...just like a search egine...

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:51
If you're going to pay for something.... Mar 24, 2005

... invest in a platinum membership. I went platinum in Novemeber, and honestly, it has already paid for itself with new clients and assignments. (And no, I have not been paid to say this)

Also, take an ad in the phone book, that is great for local individual clients. Of course, it depends on your local market, maybe people prefer to consult the online version of the phone book and not the actual book.

You can register with other translation directories for free as well. Create a good website and submit to all the search engines.

Good luck

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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:51
French to English
+ ...
WAAAAAY too high Mar 24, 2005

Don't touch it with a bargepole. It would only take you a day or so to get the details of 400 agencies by Googling/Blue Board/whatever. Are you prepared to spend that much money to save a few hours of research?

Having said that, I have painstakingly compiled my own database of agencies, with roughly 2500-3000 addresses. I was thinking of tidying it up and seeing if I could sell it, although I'm not sure how I would go about actually selling it, and I'm also not sure how much I should ask for it. It's nowhere near presentable yet, though. It takes a long time to compile databases of agencies, but it's well worth it. If you're willing to invest the time, you can easily build up your own database.

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Local time: 19:51
English to Italian
search engines Mar 24, 2005

I second Stefano's suggestion, just use google and other search engines and general search directories like Also, try specific business directories, in the area or country you're interested in working with. And yes, yellow pages.

There is no need to pay for information that is freely available. Ok, it does take time to build a database, but you do want to take that time yourself, you need to check what each agency does, what languages and fields they work in, if they have a "rates" page where you may get an idea of how much they're willing to pay freelancers, where they operate, how they present themselves, how long they've been around, what kind of clients they work for, etc. They may also have a specific jobs page with contact forms.

That kind of detailed information is very important, and, as far as I know, it's not included in lists like that. Especially if they're only a big list of email addresses, which is the worst kind because it also encourages spamming...

The Proz Blue Board is useful to check any feedback from translators but that's an extra. The "Agencies" directory is bigger and a good starting point already.

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lizzy g  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:51
Italian to English
Thanks to everybody! Mar 25, 2005

Thank you to everyone who has commented on this forum: loads of good advice!

As a result of all your feeback, I have resolved NOT to buy a translator's directory across the web. And when my finaces look in better shape, I have resolved to check out Platinum membership - it was great to read so many positive things about it.

So thanks again, you've saved me 137 euros, so I probably owe you all a drink!!!

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