As a Senior Project Manager in localization, I work with clients and linguists each and every day. One of the topics that has been repeatedly coming up recently is Machine Translation (MT): whether it’s any good, whether if makes sense to implement it, whether it will take work away from us and make us unemployed… Does it ring a bell? Yes, the translation industry expressed the same worries at the advent of Translation Memory (TM). Obviously, now, almost no one in the industry, from translators and editors to LSP executives, can work without it.
Organic growth is a beautiful thing (although I do remember someone at one of Localization World conferences trying hard to convince me that I’m absolutely wrong and that it’s totally the opposite). You start as a Polish translation freelancer and when the things start to develop to the point where you cannot manage all incoming projects, you are setting up a team or a Single Language Vendor (SLV) company to cover your client’s needs. If things are further becoming the way you planned, you develop successful relationships with your clients and you reach your goals, your happy clients start asking you not only for the target language of your core focus they’ve been ordering so far, be it Polish, Czech, Hungarian or any other language of the world, but also for other languages.
NDAs and SLAs have been around in the translation/localization industry for years. LSPs use them to both secure the confidentiality of end-clients’ content and projects so that valuable data is not revealed before the product hits the market and this way, the competition is left behind, as well as to clearly define the collaboration terms so that both sides know what to expect from each other and the subject of these requirements, usually the quality of language services (be it translation, localization, editing/revision, DTP, engineering, LSO, review and so on and so forth), different metrics, possible penalties and discounts. Often, there are other terms that are relationship-specific or secure other areas of mutual collaboration. What are you afraid of then?
“We prefer to work with freelancers.” – that’s what Vendor Managers, Procurement Managers, Project Managers or Production Managers usually answer to Single Language Vendor representatives offering them language services. The pros and cons of working with freelancers are well known to LSP executives and employees. SLVs (Single Language Vendors) are often perceived as a type of freelancers, just bigger and more costly, with no additional value. Is this a correct view on SLVs? Using freelancers for projects has become a habit in the localization industry and is a true driving force behind this business. But is it really an efficient approach? Are the risks behind sourcing and managing multiple freelancers during complex projects really worth it? Can you afford ignoring the benefits of collaboration with a Single Language Vendor?
You may say: “I don’t know any of those benefits, unless you consider the higher price a benefit”. But in fact, the benefits of working with an SLV are the same that you offer to your own clients. They are the reasons why your clients don’t go to freelancers directly with their tasks but go to you instead. This is the same added value that you offer your customers when closing a deal: greater CONTROL over the process and quality as well as supplier CONSOLIDATION that results in COST savings.
Sourcing… Looking for new providers for the future, for current needs, for a big oncoming project… A lot has been said so far regarding one of the most important tasks in any translation and localization company. Test translations – here we go again (just like David Coverdale and Whitesnake here)…