Translation agencies and their structures are probably flexible in the world due to the flexibility of the translation business itself. There are many different variants of translation agencies, including agencies that have both centralized and decentralized systems, as well as in-house and external translators and proofreaders.
Most translation agencies around the world are centralized at one location and consist of a couple of project managers that are equipped with project management systems to be able to manage a comparably larger number of translators and clients located at various places around the world. Communication generally takes place via e-mail and telephone, but in today’s age, there are many communication options. The project management system used is essential because many processes are also automated, such as generating quotes and invoices for clients and job offers for translators. It is for this reasons that a single project manager is capable of handling a great deal of customer requests and dealing with hundreds of translators.
In most translation agencies, translations project managers are all-rounders. They are responsible for making quotes and taking orders from clients as well as making sure those documents are translated and proofread, ultimately leading to final invoicing as well as tracking the payment of those invoices.
There are also much bigger translation agencies with classical administrative departments. This may include someone or a group of people that have the sole function of dealing with accounting matters or even groups of people that are responsible for marketing the agency. Many agencies also have in-house translators, proofreaders, and even specific translation or proofreading teams.
Surprisingly enough, other translation agencies are decentralized in nature. These agencies hire their employees to work at different locations, supplying them with access to the company server and route telephone communication accordingly in order to manage various aspects of the business. That means that there is a manager possibly working at one specific location and other groups of workers working at various offices all over the world. These ranges from groups of people working at different offices throughout the world all the way to project managers working from home. There are translation agencies that have their project managers sitting in London, their DTP specialists sitting in Poland and the translators and proofreaders sitting in the various countries of their mother tongue.
Therefore, generally, a classical translation office or translation agency is not what people would imagine. Even some of the “biggest” agencies from a business standpoint tend to be much smaller than what they are cracked up to be. This is dependent on not only the volume of the translation agency’s business, but also how the office is set up and how and what translation services are performed. When visiting a translation agency’s headquarters, many tend to be shocked that the office is not full of translators working away. Instead, there are often just a few employees and it tends to be relatively quiet because most people in the office are looking at translations or writing e-mails, but rest assured, there is tons of stress and deadlines and schedules are incredibly important. The translation business is a stressful one.
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