Subcontracting 101
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 19, 2003

Hello all,

This is a question for those of you working in teams, or with experience subcontracting work to colleagues. I am just getting my feet wet in that area, and would appreciate any and all information regarding the logistics involved. I am specifically interested in the following:

1. How did you get started establishing a network of collaborators? (i.e., was it a gradual organic process, or did you set out to establish such a network?)

2. What needs to be considered in terms of financial arrangements?

3. What needs to be considered in terms of quality control?

4. Tax implications for U.S. residents subcontracting to colleagues overseas

I thank you in advance for any experiences you may be able to share.

Cheers,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-10-31 21:45]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
English to German
+ ...
My experience Oct 19, 2003

Hi Susana,
1. How did you get started establishing a network of collaborators? (i.e., was it a gradual organic process, or did you set out to establish such a network?)

At first, this was by coincidence - at the time, I was still working at a bank, and translation was an institutionalised hobby. When I resigned from that job to go for full-time translation, I made the process more systematic: in fact, I found a number of most valuable contacts through ProZ.com.


2. What needs to be considered in terms of financial arrangements?

A very decisive point. It really depends on whether you're going to operate a peer-to-peer network, where you cooperate on a project-specific basis but remain on a level playing field otherwise. Alternatively, you could assume the position of marketer and project manager, in which case you're entitled to a bigger margin but you should be responsible for payment vis-à-vis the individual translators, no matter when (or if...) the end customer pays. It's a good idea to sort out funding (i.e. either setting aside available funds, or arrange for a standby credit line) before going that route, particularly if you're looking to bid on larger projects.

3. What needs to be considered in terms of quality control?

It's essential to agree on fundamental style issues (where appropriate, project-specific) before getting started. Terminology issues can be sorted out using the Teams function in KudoZ.net.
You will need to agree if a final check of texts is required - I'd say yes, but that depends on the project structure and the available budget.


4. Tax implications for U.S. residents subcontracting to colleagues overseas

Pass on this one.

What's missing in your list is technology: you will need to think about how you're going to share files and reference material. Solely relying on e-mail can turn into a logistical nightmare.

HTH - Ralf


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Networking Oct 19, 2003

Susana Galilea wrote:
1. How did you get started establishing a network of collaborators?

I set up to establish such a network. Participation in forums such as Lantra and the ATA Spanish Division mailing lists has been crucial. Admittedly, I don't use my network to outsource jobs, but rather to ask and answer questions about specialized terminology, culture, local customs, etc.


2. What needs to be considered in terms of financial arrangements?

In this point I agree with Ralf's suggestions. Personally, I prefer to refer trusted colleagues directly to the client and let them set up their own payment terms.


3. What needs to be considered in terms of quality control?

Depends on what you want to do exactly. Are you going to refer colleagues? Outsource and deliver? Outsource and check quality yourself? Work with them as a team on the same project? Act as project manager for different projects in different languages? Low-scale? Medium-scale? Large-scale?


4. Tax implications for U.S. residents subcontracting to colleagues overseas

Your accountant will be best suited to answer that question for you.


[Edited at 2003-10-19 19:34]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A gradual organic process Oct 19, 2003

in just two points:

1. you usually expand organically due to a large demand for homogenous work that has to be shared, in which the easiest solution is for each translator, while working on a team, to present his own individual invoice to your outsourcer.

2. the complications start with an outsourcer who wants a turnkey arrangement, in which your point 3 (quality control) will ultimately have to be considered. The specifications for each job may vary (various services may be requested). But until you get there, there's still a long way to go from point 1.

This simplifies things for your accountant: either you took on a normal job, or you outsourced, as a project manager or other.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:56
German to English
+ ...
Not quite subcontracting, more like a team collaboration Oct 20, 2003

1. How did you get started establishing a network of collaborators? (i.e., was it a gradual organic process, or did you set out to establish such a network?)


I did this recently sort of on the spur of the moment because a large job came up that I could not finish myself in the time allotted, but that I did not want to pass up. I have worked closely with the people on the team in the past, so they were not unknown quantities - very important.


2. What needs to be considered in terms of financial arrangements?


In our case, I decided that I did not want to project manage (more than setting up the team and initial parameters of the job). I proposed a price to the client that was agreeable to my colleagues, and we will each bill for our work separately (at the agreed team rate). BTW, we had a written agreement with the customer before we started to make sure this was all clear to everyone.


3. What needs to be considered in terms of quality control?


To be specific, we're using the client's spelling conventions, setting up a common term list, and corresponding by e-mail about other style issues, sticky passages, etc. We are each responsible for editing and proofing our own work. It would be nice to cross-proof each other's, but time does not permit this.

This is a short-term collaboration, but if you have a longer term one, I would recommend setting up a separate Yahoo Group - it's easy. Each Yahoo Group also has access to a Web-based database function that could easily be used to create a project glossary. This database can import/export comma-delimited files. By the way, you can also decline to list the group in the Yahoo database and limit the membership, so it can be completely private.


4. Tax implications for U.S. residents subcontracting to colleagues overseas


I subcontracted one job last year, and I believe my accountant counted it in with my business expenses. I don't know how this works if that is a major part of your work.


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