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How does a translation agency work?

Translation agencies offer a wide range of services, which include certified, business, specialised translations, and interpreting from the source language to the target language. How does a translation agency work? What should you pay attention to in order to choose the best one?

The characteristics of a translation agency

Translation agencies offer translation services for so-called non-literary texts. These are usually utility documents and professional translations covering a specific field, such as law, medicine, technology, banking and finance, advertising and marketing, or economics.

To perform such services well, the agency must be focused on building a team of skilled and experienced translators. Agencies often employ freelancers or operate on an outsourcing basis. Translators must demonstrate not only excellent language skills, confirmed by diplomas, education, and experience but also knowledge of a specific field and knowledge of the accompanying contexts.

The job of a translation agency is to fulfill both small orders from individual clients, including certified translations, and large projects for international companies. Projects often involve many people, who at each stage proofread and edit the text, observing the demanding quality assurance system. Translators work in teams supervised by a project manager coordinating their work.

Services offered by a translation agency

Translation agencies don’t just translate text from the source language to the target language. The scope of services of an agency is much wider and includes:

  • certified translations;
  • professional translations (relating to specialised fields);
  • proofreading;
  • transcripts;
  • translation of websites;
  • creating databases (such as Translation Memory);
  • translation terminology management;

Interpreting – consecutive and simultaneous

In addition to translating texts, agencies also offer interpreting services. Interpreters are often used in business meetings and negotiations. They need to have a thorough knowledge of the language and the context of the meeting, as well as an extraordinary ability to concentrate.

There are two types of interpretation – consecutive and simultaneous. Consecutive interpreting consists in translating the speaker’s speech after he or she has finished talking. On the other hand, a simultaneous interpreter is in a soundproof booth and translates parallel to the speaker.

Choosing a professional translation agency is not easy. There are many on the market – from one-person agencies to large corporations.

What factors should you take into consideration when choosing?

A good translation agency is above all a team of experienced specialists. A professional agency will delegate only people who have expertise in a particular industry and understand its needs.

Trouble-free communication is essential in order to properly fulfill a large, ongoing or a single project. When choosing an agency, make sure that the contact with them is possible whenever you need it. It’s also important to find a common language and feel that the agency responds to your expectations.

Before choosing a translation agency you should answer this question:

  1. Does the agency have experience in the industry from which you need translation? – Before setting the deal with the translation office ask for a portfolio and experiences in the required industry.
  2. Is the translation agency a good brand that you can rely on, employing a native speaker or certificated translator with service experiences? – Try to inspect how well educated and certificated translators are, how much effort agency put to train employees and the minimum requirements to work there.
  3. Are the previous clients of the agency satisfied with the services? – Satisfied customers will always leave some positive opinions on the internet. Try to search for the chosen company on platforms like Google My Business, Clutch or Trustpilot.
  4. Will the translation be made on time? – A professional agency will always set the time limit and finish the service on established time.
  5. How it looks when it comes to value for money? – It is better to pay a bit more for a high-quality professional translation than to pay less and get low-quality incorrect translation. You cannot get value without paying.
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