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What is the main attribute of "the best translation agency" for you?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Apr 4, 2008

Just wanted to share your opinions about what thing you appreciate most of all about a translation agency (not the end client) where you could tell "Well, these guys are the best - I appreciate working for them and will always give them a priority"? Things like "good rate", "prompt payment", "professional staff" etc. are more or less natural. But there are many more things that are "aside" from the technical issues like payment and rates. Can you let me know your thoughts mentioning just 1 most important thing in one sentence?

Mine would be "A most appreciated agency is a well organized agency that gives a reasonable piece of time for completion of a job offered" (a "no-stress" agency).

[Edited at 2008-04-04 20:42]


Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Payment within a reasonable timeframe Apr 4, 2008

There's nothing that frustrates me more then an agency with long payment terms that exceeds even those payment terms.


Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No-stress is good Apr 4, 2008

I like to work with agencies that are friendly and patient and fair (in the sense of not always siding with the client when an issue comes up - I like to have a chance to state my case). It's also good if they are well-organized and don't make unnecessary demands (like renaming files before sending them, expecting me to keep track of everything, etc.). When I'm really busy, all those extra details just waste time. I have worked with all kinds.



Jurate Janaviciute  Identity Verified
English to Lithuanian
The one that provides me with finance-related jobs! Apr 4, 2008

I could do them for free. And I often do if they broaden my horizons in this field. It is very pleasurable to do the work that allows me to contribute some of my knowledge to the public and at the same time to learn something new. This combination is hard to find.


Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In two words: highly professional Apr 4, 2008

To me the most important thing is that the agency is highly professional: an agency who pays a fair rate, who gives a reasonable deadline to complete the project and is always willing to assist you when you have questions. That would be my definition of a good agency to work with.

[Edited at 2008-04-05 01:53]


Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
at least four factors Apr 4, 2008

Prompt payments, reasonable deadlines, good communication and interesting projects - in that ordericon_smile.gif



Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Interesting jobs Apr 5, 2008

A certain diversity is needed to keep me interested. But it easier to tell what I hate in agencies.


Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
English to Arabic
+ ...
Honesty Apr 5, 2008

is the first attribute I thought of.


Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
German to English
+ ...
Clear communication Apr 5, 2008

Those that I trust to have already done their homework before sending a job.
Those that say "We thought that this was your kind of job."
Those that trust me to have done my homework.
Those with whom a quick phone call can clarify any issues immediately.
Those where I know that we are "singing from the same song sheet".

As Elisabete says: professionals.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
English to French
+ ...
People who treat translators like associates and who are well organized Apr 5, 2008

My favorite client treats me like a person, not like a machine. They ask me for advice on some jobs (processes), they ask me how long I think it will take me to perform a task (I have some say in the deadline), they respond to initiatives taken by translators (if I propose something that will help do the work better or faster, they often accept and round up the invoice amount - lately, I created a TDB of my initiative and they were happy with it).

The same client is very well organized - their files are orderly, they have an entire team assisting translators, they provide help and they make sure you can spend all your time translating and avoid having you format documents, etc. They have a serious QA process in place and have their translators, editors and proofreaders collaborate directly, which really helps in delivering quality documents and in feeling less lonely (team work). You always know what to expect with these people and can therefore better organize your work.

These same clients are not very fast payers, but I think what I described above makes up for that plenty. I, too, like prompt payments - but there are cases where that isn't a priority.

In short, working with these people is rewarding. That, to me, is a major factor.

[Edited at 2008-04-05 15:53]


Eleni Makantani
Local time: 13:35
English to Greek
+ ...
Well organised Apr 5, 2008

Well organised is the first thing that matters to me. Clients that don't forget to do the assignment until after the end of the deadline ("what? Are you sure I didn't call you yesterday to give you this project?"). It gives me the certainty that I'm dealing with serious people who take me seriously.

The second most important criterion is to be given interesting projects. Of course, this is not objective, and no PM really has to know what I like and make sure he/ she can have it for me...

Then, I really appreciate it when the people of an agency are friendly. This shows a lot about the agency's policy towards its employees, which is quite often the same with its collaborators - freelancers, too.

Timely payment is important, too. However, if a client/ agency has all the qualities mentioned above, I don't really mind having to wait a little more for the money.


biankonera  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
organised Apr 5, 2008

- Id have to go with organised too. When there is chaos even the best things in the world can become a very big pain in the behind.

- The other thing I highly appreciate is an agency who doesnt think they are something equal to God but treat me as an equal to them.

- Also such agency sends me projects only related to my fields of expertise and not just any project that comes their way in my language pairs.

- And of course there have to be standard attributes like good communication (working with no response from the other side can become annoying), promt payments, reasonable deadlines and interesting projects.


madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
Swedish to English
+ ...
Understands the whole concept of translation Apr 5, 2008

Everything you stated in your initial posting, but also, an agency which understand the whole concept of translation. I.e. the importance of context, cultural differences, issues relating to the length, etc.


Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Many factors Apr 6, 2008

There are several factors:

- an honest attitude towards the translator: same eye-level when discussing the project
- if the translator has neglected to take on the job, because it's not within his/her fields, the agency doesn't try to convince the translator to take on the job (e.g. by offering a higher rate)
- well prepared source files: the translator can start right away with the job
- good communication during the project if any important questions have to be clarified
- payment within the agreed timeframe

Maybe this is something for a instant poll?


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Teamwork Apr 6, 2008

Their PMs have their roles, I have mine, but all of us work for a common purpose, and communicate openly whenever it will improve the process, and do our best to help each other.

Some actual examples:

    * I set my rates. They know my work, they can judge if the cost/benefit I offer is worthwhile, or if it's better to hire someone else.

    * I turn down any subject outside my areas of knowledge but, whenever possible, I refer them to specialized colleagues I know personally, that are good choices to do it.

    * They most always team me up with one specific colleague as a proofreader (and we often swap translator-proofreader roles). She is 6 hours behind me, the agency is 2 hours behind me. All of us do our best to take advantage of different time zones for faster turnaround time.

    * The translating-proofreading setup os open: we communicate directly in English, with copy to the PM who will intervene if necessary. Our m.o. is two heads think better than one so, instead of just hunting for typos and/or mistakes in each other's work, we use the process to exchange ideas. It's just a matter of accepting the other's suggestion or not, considering ourselves as equally competent translators. It's our job that we'll be equally proud of, regardless of each one's role.

    * I try to deliver as much before the agreed delivery as I can. They try to pay me as soon as they can, often before the due date. We tried different payment methods, until we found which one worked best for both.

    * If I find any serious flaw in the original text, I advise them pronto, so they can tell the teams working into other languages.

    * If due to different software versions (I mean MS Word) formatting gets compromised, the PM now and then steps in to fix it, in spite of not knowing our usual target language. Likewise, when some graphic image editing was needed, I did it before asking, so they could offer it to their (frequent of ours) end client at no charge.

In a nutshell, we are all working together for a comon goal. There is no intention whatsoever of one party trying to take undue advantage of the other, we are all in the same boat, each one trying to make a living honestly.

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