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Poll: Have you ever considered starting your own translation agency?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:08
SITE STAFF
Jul 15, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever considered starting your own translation agency?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kristian Vike Pedersen. View the poll results »



 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:08
Member
German to English
+ ...
I've considered it ... Jul 15, 2013

... and rejected the idea.

Running an agency is so wholly different from actual translation and requires completely different skills. I'm happy doing the actual translation work and letting someone else to the client management and administration.


 

Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
A valuable experience Jul 15, 2013

I voted other because I went the other way. After a couple of years struggling to make myself known as a freelancer, I set up a translation agency in the form of a translators' cooperative. This was the early 80s and the translation world was very different to what it is now (no email, no internet, work mainly locally sourced). After thirteen years I moved away and became freelance again. The agency is still thriving some 18 years since I left it. And I am thriving too. But it was excellent experience for me in my early years as a translator, having to project manage other people's work and run the business.

 

dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:08
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Ditto Jul 15, 2013

Mary Worby wrote:

... and rejected the idea.

Running an agency is so wholly different from actual translation and requires completely different skills. I'm happy doing the actual translation work and letting someone else to the client management and administration.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:08
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's what I did in 1985... Jul 15, 2013

Gilla Evans wrote:

I voted other because I went the other way. After a couple of years struggling to make myself known as a freelancer, I set up a translation agency in the form of a translators' cooperative. This was the early 80s and the translation world was very different to what it is now (no email, no internet, work mainly locally sourced). After thirteen years I moved away and became freelance again. The agency is still thriving some 18 years since I left it. And I am thriving too. But it was excellent experience for me in my early years as a translator, having to project manage other people's work and run the business.


... with a very small group of associates (5 altogether) and we are still going strong (with the inevitable ups and downs)!


 

SafeTex
France
Local time: 01:08
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
What is an agency? Jul 15, 2013

Hello

I think that the difficulty with this question is what is meant by agency

Some 'translators' occasionally have to give out work as they can't do it themselves for whatever reason.

They then mistakenly in my opinion consider themselves to be an 'agency', do nothing useful but think they should take 50% nevertheless.

Other agencies are really agencies and provide a service to the end client and the translator and charge 'accordingly'

I have given out work but never let it go to my head and started to think of myself as an agency


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:08
French to English
Agency/Cooperative Jul 15, 2013

In a cooperative set up, I would understand members to be working together on an equal footing. The agency relationship requires a principal and an agent, a major and a minor, and the parties are not on an equal footing.

 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 02:08
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, I already have Jul 15, 2013

I did that for a couple of years, but prefer nowadays just to market my own labour as a freelancer. I know that I can rely on myself.

 

Vibeke Degn-P  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 01:08
Member (2010)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Yes, already have Jul 15, 2013

I did last year, and love every minute of it. I like the variety it gives to my working day. A bit of my own translating, a bit of marketing, a little contact with "my" translators and a phone call or two to accounting. Sometimes, of course, the world turns against me and give me horrible customers, but they are few and far apart. Most of the time it's the good life.
Vibeke


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jul 15, 2013

And I'll save all my "humorous" thoughts and other comments about the question for those who'll appreciate them.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
In a nutshell Jul 15, 2013

Tim Drayton wrote:
I know that I can rely on myself.


That's one of my main reasons too.


 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:08
Member
English to German
+ ...
Networking and cooperatives Jul 15, 2013

rather than a classical agency which is an intermediary.
Question of philosophy ...


 

Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
cooperatives and agencies, not mutually exclusive Jul 15, 2013

Just to clarify, the cooperative we set up acted as an agency. The 7 original members all worked in the office part of the time, doing the project management on a cooperative basis, and each worked on projects in our own language pairs as translators. But we contracted many other translators to work for us as well, so that the agency provided a truly multilingual service. Because of our cooperative ethos, I think we treated our translators rather better than some agencies do, and we certainly took a smaller margin to cover our administrative costs. Some of the original members left because they did not get enough work in their language pairs, and the business was run for many years by three or four of us. After I left, the remaining members changed the legal structure of the business from a cooperative to a standard limited company. It continues to be one of the nicest agencies to work for, run by and for translators.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:08
French to English
Networking Jul 15, 2013

Rita Utt wrote:

rather than a classical agency which is an intermediary.
Question of philosophy ...


Itou.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
No Jul 15, 2013

Running an agency requires a different set of skills which I don't really have. I am much better at managing documents than people.

 
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