The word ‘agency’ can have negative connotations for many translators who have experienced unfortunate encounters with translation companies. Indeed, in recent years our industry has redefined itself, preferring the term “Language Service Providers”, perhaps to avoid the over-used word ‘agency’, often also associated with (sometimes unscrupulous) estate agents and recruitment companies. There are no shortage of accounts from translators who cite many reasons for such agencies’ poor reputations; late (or non-existent) payments, specific invoicing or CAT tool requirements, bidding or first-come, first-served systems.
At Parallel, we approach things a little differently and understand that establishing working relationships is a two-way process. We pride ourselves on our close relationships with our translators, which are based on trust and integrity, and we enjoy a friendly yet professional collaborative approach to getting the job done.
Here are just a few ways in which we try to build such relationships with our translators:
1. We propose realistic timescales
Although we work in a fast-paced industry and often need to accommodate our clients’ short deadlines, we try to offer realistic and feasible timescales to our translators, always with the complexity of the project in mind.
2. Our communications are personal, not from a machine!
Translators can be assured that any emails received come from a real person! Our Project Managers handpick the most suitable translators for each new project. We just have one small request: medical and pharmaceutical files should be sent via our ‘safe account’ mailbox, due to patient confidentiality and our clients’ auditing requirements. However, all other communications are carried out via normal email.
3. We aim to offer clear guidance and support throughout the translation process
At the outset, we aim to provide a clear explanation of each project, so that our translators know exactly what the job entails before accepting it. We seek to provide an accurate assessment of the work, fair for both our clients and our translators, based on the word count and additional time if necessary. If any problems arise during the translation process, we will always do our best to resolve any queries effectively and offer explanations or provide further information as needed.
4. We don’t insist on compulsory CAT tool usage
Many agencies have particular CAT tools they request their translators use, which can often be a pricey problem. We understand that everyone has their preferred ways of working, so decisions over CAT tool usage are entirely up to the translator. This also means that discounts for fuzzy matches are not an issue!
5. We appreciate honesty
If a translator is already too busy to commit to a project, or feels they aren’t quite suited to the task at hand, we’d rather know upfront so that we can ensure we meet our clients’ expectations and deadlines.
6. Prompt communication is important to us
When we are waiting for a client’s approval of a particular project, we’ll keep translators updated on the status of the project as soon as we have more news, thus enabling our translators to keep on top of their schedules. Likewise, if a translator has queries, we’ll respond as soon as we can. Plus, we’ll always confirm safe receipt of translations and invoices, so our translators know they have reached their intended destination.
In return, when possible, we always appreciate a timely response from our translators with regards to new projects and queries, as well as delivery to our agreed deadlines.
7. We pay on time
We commit to payment of all invoices in 30 days net (i.e. at the end of month following invoice). No ifs, ands or buts. We try to pay bank charges where possible, and we are often happy to oblige with earlier payment when tax bills require it!
We hope that Parallel can offer translators a different experience of working with an agency, as the above points outline.
If you would like to work with us and you meet our recruitment criteria, please apply online via our contact form.