What are the responsibilities of a translation agency?
Thread poster: xxxLucyPatterso
xxxLucyPatterso
English
Nov 23, 2012

What type of service should a GOOD translation agency provide?

Of course, they need to have effective marketing to acquire new clients and negotiate decent payments.

They need to maintain good relationships with these clients and their outsourcers.

Are they responsible for ensuring the work they provide to clients is of top quality?

What should the QA procedure involve? Should translations be checked by a second professional translator/proofreader or at least an in-house bilingual member of staff?

Is it OK for a translation agency to receive a translation from an outsourcer and send it directly to the client without a QA check?

If a client finds an error in the translation, who is responsible for paying the client a discount/refund? The translator who made the error, the proofreader who missed it or the agency?

I would be interested to know your thoughts.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 04:42
German to English
+ ...
Quick reply Nov 23, 2012

LucyPatterson wrote:

Are they responsible for ensuring the work they provide to clients is of top quality?

YES


What should the QA procedure involve? Should translations be checked by a second professional translator/proofreader or at least an in-house bilingual member of staff?

SHOULD DEFINITELY BE CHECKED - THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE PAID TO DO

Is it OK for a translation agency to receive a translation from an outsourcer and send it directly to the client without a QA check?

NOT UNLESS THE CLIENT IS AWARE THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO SECOND OPINION (e.g urgent job)

If a client finds an error in the translation, who is responsible for paying the client a discount/refund? The translator who made the error, the proofreader who missed it or the agency?

AGENCY IS REPONSIBLE FOR PAYING (IT HAS CONCLUDED A CONTRACT WITH THE CLIENT); BUT CAN THEN CLAIM FROM THE OTHER TWO - HOW THAT IS DIVIDED IS A MATTER OF AGREEMENT

I would be interested to know your thoughts.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:42
Chinese to English
I'm responsible to the agency; agency is responsible to the client Nov 23, 2012

The agency can do what they want, as far as I'm concerned. Review, QA, desktop publishing, that's all their business.

But I insist that I'm responsible to the agency only. No need to be unpleasant about it - if the client has comments or questions, I'm happy to answer them. But if it ever gets legal, my responsibility has stopped at the point that the agency accepts my invoice. If the client subsequently finds a problem, they take it up with the agency; if the agency wants to take it up with me, they have to demonstrate that I've breached the terms of my contract with the agency. Whatever problem the client has is separate and irrelevant.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agreed Nov 23, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:

The agency can do what they want, as far as I'm concerned. Review, QA, desktop publishing, that's all their business.

But I insist that I'm responsible to the agency only. No need to be unpleasant about it - if the client has comments or questions, I'm happy to answer them. But if it ever gets legal, my responsibility has stopped at the point that the agency accepts my invoice. If the client subsequently finds a problem, they take it up with the agency; if the agency wants to take it up with me, they have to demonstrate that I've breached the terms of my contract with the agency. Whatever problem the client has is separate and irrelevant.


And this goes for payment issues as well. It would seem unnecessary to make such a basic point. However, but over the years, I've been presented a disconcerting number of times, as a bogus excuse for late payment, that "our client hasn't paid us yet." This has happened even with larger and seemingly "professional" agencies.

Such illegitimate excuses are, in my view, most unprofessional.

[Edited at 2012-11-23 13:58 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Phil's title and post sum it up perfectly Nov 23, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:
I'm responsible to the agency; agency is responsible to the client

The agency can do what they want, as far as I'm concerned. Review, QA, desktop publishing, that's all their business.

But I insist that I'm responsible to the agency only. No need to be unpleasant about it - if the client has comments or questions, I'm happy to answer them. But if it ever gets legal, my responsibility has stopped at the point that the agency accepts my invoice. If the client subsequently finds a problem, they take it up with the agency; if the agency wants to take it up with me, they have to demonstrate that I've breached the terms of my contract with the agency. Whatever problem the client has is separate and irrelevant.


And as Robert added, it works in the opposite direction for payment, too. If the agency's client doesn't pay, then it's up to them to chase them; but meanwhile, they have to pay us!


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What are the responsibilities of a translation agency?

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