Feasibility of outsourcing
Thread poster: Lucy23

Lucy23
United Kingdom
Jan 26, 2016

Hi all,

I'm half-way through my MA in Translation Studies and have been thinking about how to set up once I obtain this later in the year.

I've actually discovered that I *much* prefer the co-ordination and project management aspects of translation, as opposed to the actual act of translating itself. I loved my internship as an assistant PM at an agency, and my currently work role is similar to PM.

Is it feasible to set myself up as a translator, but put a major focus on outsourcing material outside my languages, instead of finding translation work for me to do myself? My BA is in Italian and Spanish, so I could certainly offer translation services in this - but ideally I'd like to be able to receive material from other languages and outsource (I guess like a one-(wo)man agency)

Are there any major issues with this that I'm not seeing?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There's certainly at least one major issue Jan 27, 2016

How are you going to guarantee quality? Wouldn't it be wiser to take on extra work in your own pairs and outsource that? Then you could review it yourself before delivering it.

Other issues? Well, there's selection of translators, and reviewers too for languages you don't know. Then there's the real biggie: the fact that you have to pay those translators and reviewers even if your client doesn't pay you.

Maybe working as a freelance PM for a big agency would be a better way to start?


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:46
Russian to English
+ ...
I would not advise it, unless you employ a few qualified editors who Jan 27, 2016

will be able to tell whether the translation is done to the highest standards, or not. it is really very risky to deal with texts you don't understand yourself, at least in one language.

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:46
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Have you considered ... Jan 27, 2016

Have you considered where the work you'd like to outsource will come from? This seems to me another extremely important aspect of running the kind of business you are contemplating ... or indeed, of running any business.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Either way, do it with a purpose Jan 27, 2016

Once I set myself a challenge, to find 10 of each:

  • Reasons for a client to hire a freelance translator rather than an agency
  • Reasons for a client to hire a translation agency rather than a freelancer
  • Points worth keeping in mind upon selecting a freelance translator
  • Points worth keeping in mind upon selecting a translation agency

    I listed them at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/trxag.html .

    Maybe some of the ideas there will help you in setting some goals and parameters.

     

  • Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 12:46
    German to English
    You want to set up a translation agency Jan 27, 2016

    Lucy23 wrote:

    [snip]
    Is it feasible to set myself up as a translator, but put a major focus on outsourcing material outside my languages, instead of finding translation work for me to do myself? My BA is in Italian and Spanish, so I could certainly offer translation services in this - but ideally I'd like to be able to receive material from other languages and outsource (I guess like a one-(wo)man agency)

    Are there any major issues with this that I'm not seeing?


    Do you really have the business skills to operate a translation agency?
    You will need to sell your services, something that will consume a lot of your time.
    You will need to manage all the projects that come in, overseeing QA for all languages.
    You will need to handle bookkeeping for your agency.
    How do you plan to position your agency? Will you stress quality, requiring the best translators (and paying them accordingly). Or will you emphasize price, thus joining the race to the bottom?
    How will you pay your translators while you wait for your customers to pay you?

    There are already more than enough agencies; competition is fierce, and the chances for success are very slim (business axiom: low barriers to entry = high risk of failure).

    As others have suggested, get a job at an agency if you want to manage projects. Once you see the industry from the inside, you may well decide that starting an agency isn't a great idea.


     


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