When it comes right down to it, both large and small translation agencies have their advantages. I think the same parallels exist in every field. The purpose of this article is not to judge agencies with respect to their size, but rather to describe some challenges that smaller and larger agencies face so you will understand the various aspects at hand when procuring your translation services.
As is the case all around the world, small agencies tend to be more personable and less bureaucratic and can in fact deliver very high-quality translations. There volume is lower, so smaller agencies do tend to put a great deal of effort into what they deliver. Given that text tends to be full of details, this aspect is quite positive. In spite of this, smaller agencies, depending on how long they have been around, sometimes lack infrastructure, proper processes, and buying power. The latter is in fact important when dealing with very large projects. The best translators in the world will only do such projects for an agency if there is no doubt they will get paid and then there is the addition challenge of making that translator dedicate all of his/her time to a single project when there are often many on the table. With smaller agencies, for the most part, you may have to fear that they will have to break up the translation between several translators to get the job done. Keep in mind that when several translators are used, a whole other set of problems arises, so this is very undesirable.
In contrast, depending on your needs, a smaller agency might deliver exactly the translation skills you require exhibiting a great deal of strength in a particular field for example that would be difficult to achieve with respect to larger companies covering a broader spectrum of fields and languages. Let’s say for example, your company always has to translate contracts and a contract specialist works as an in-house translator at the agency in question. In this case, there might be more control than a larger company that outsources the translation.
With regard to large agencies, first of all, they normally offer amazing prices at great volumes. Although this would seem positive, it is not at all times. Agencies that are very large tend to be very flexible in their pricing due to the large network of translators working for them. Although this makes them competitive, due to the mass of translations they have running through the office on a daily basis and the number of people they have working for them, unless their infrastructure is really impressive and their processes are solid, some aspects of quality in large organizations is difficult to track, as is the case anywhere on Earth. Additionally, some very specialized translators choose not to work for larger agencies due to price pressures put on suppliers as well as terms and conditions.
Whether a big or a small agency, the aspect of teamwork and the processes, and criteria are significant in ensuring that your translations are what you expect and you receive the services you require and the respect that you deserve. So, I guess you will have to decide what type of translation agency is the best for you.
© 2014, Ferris Translations e.U. All rights reserved.