Poll: Do you outsource some work to other translators?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:19
Feb 20

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you outsource some work to other translators?".

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I only outsource SPECIFIC work Feb 20

Whenever I get a translation request that I cannot serve - on account of either my unavailability or one of the five specialized subject matter areas I don't cover - I refer the client to one or two colleagues of mine that I know that can either provide the same level of service or specialize in that area. I wish them all good luck, and step out.

My outsourcing to colleagues usually involves video work. I can do the entire subtitling job in my pair, EN-PT. However I speak - but don't translate - IT-FR-ES.

Now and then I get video subtitling requests involving other or more than my own pair among these five languages. Typical examples are subtitling a video from EN into both PT/ES (two separate deliverables, of course!), or a video from PT into EN/ES/FR.

In such cases, I'll outsource the translation work outside my pair to carefully selected colleagues, and will later take it from there. I can definitely time-spot them, and burn the subtitles in any of the five languages.

I won't do it with languages I'm not reasonably familiar with, because I wouldn't notice if diacritics are coming out correctly onscreen, nor if my resulting non-Latin chars or ideograms aren't mirrored or upside down.

These are not translators, however I also outsource video dubbing work - after I've done the translation - to thoroughly reliable dubbing studios.

I offer my clients the option of hiring my partners/outsourcees directly, while I'll still coordinate/technically supervise their work. So far, NO client has ever chosen to do so; they prefer to hold me accountable for the entire job. I pay my partners COD the exact same rates I'd charge if it were in my language pair, and none has ever said it's too low. I don't add any markup on what I pay them, otherwise my clients' final price wouldn't be competitive.

As a result of this setup, I require these clients to pay in advance (at least) the amount I'll be paying to my outsourcees. If any party downstream (viz. the end-client) chooses to cancel the order "too late", I won't have to disburse fees on which I'm not making any profit to cover. All clients so far have agreed that this is thoroughly fair.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:19
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No! Feb 20

My main clients don't allow it.

I tried it about 18 years ago and got in big trouble. My outsourcer knew I wasn't supposed to do it. I discovered that her work had omissions in almost every paragraph. For the extra work it caused me, I paid her a little less than I received. This made her angry and she went and told my client about it.

[Edited at 2018-02-20 10:13 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 12:19
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes (some languages) Feb 20

BPT started life in 1985 in Brussels as a small cooperative of 4 freelance translators (3 Portuguese and 1 Belgian) who translated exclusively into their mother tongue. So, we did outsource when we had requests for languages we didn't cover. More than 30 years later, we are no longer a cooperative, some of my colleagues left to work for the EU Institutions and I decided to move back to Lisbon for family reasons. Now we are just two, I’m the “front of the house” and my associate deals with the “back of the house”. I never outsource work from English, French, Spanish and Italian into European Portuguese (my work languages), but I do outsource work when I have requests for languages I don't cover and I have been working with the same tested, approved and trusted translators for ages. I should add that we only work from and into European Portuguese...

[Edited at 2018-02-20 12:45 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only very occasionally Feb 20

And I don't really do "outsourcing" in the sense of acting as a for-profit intermediary. If I get offered jobs that I'm unwilling or unable to do, I might recommend someone I think may be interested, or simply accept the job myself and pass it on to that person.


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:19
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
no never Feb 20

I do recommend colleagues though, and some recommend me back


English to Russian
+ ...
Unnecessary Feb 20

However, it's fancy that so many language-information specialists confuse even referring and cooperating with outsourcing.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:19
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Rarely, and only with the client's full knowledge Feb 21

It happens sometimes, as agreed upon with the client in advance and requested by the client. If a client has a 50.000 word project due in a week, this is the solution.
Now, accepting a job and "sharing" it or outsourcing to other people without the client's consent is a "translation crime" - unacceptable.


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Poll: Do you outsource some work to other translators?

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