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Hi to all of you,

I was wondering, what in your opinion could a translator do to become the go-to person for a pair of languages in an agency? High-quality translation is obviously a must, but that goes (almost) without saying. What are the agencies really looking for on the long term? People who are always available to take on the projects, people who are honest with their limits, nice people, with good communication? I would love to read your insights on this.

 

Thank you,

Anne-Laure

6件のコメント

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    zoept

    Hello Anne-Laure!

    I think you've highlighted some really good qualities for a professional translator to have when cultivating long-term client relationships. Before I went freelance, my first job in the translation industry was as a project manager for a small translation agency. When working with clients I often think back to what it was like "on the other side". High-quality (and consistently high-quality) translation is of course, a must. Above all, try to make a project manager's life easy :) For most language pairs I had preferred translators who I would always offer first refusal, and these people were easy and efficient to work with.

    • Never miss a deadline!
    • Be pleasant and easy to work with (having a good sense of humor is a great asset)
    • Ask questions, but be organized and efficient with them (try to save up a few questions to send all at once)
    • Keep clients informed (let them know about upcoming vacations or time off, or any new tools or skills you may have acquired)
    • Know when to say no. If it's too much, or out of your area of expertise, be honest.
    • Follow directions. Don't create extra work for the PM by making them reformat your entire document.
    • Answer your emails regularly (but this doesn't mean you can never turn your computer or phone off--pleasant agencies to work with also know you're human and need your rest!

    I hope this helps!

    Zoë

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    annelaure.henri.schneider

    Hi Zoë,

     

    that's definitely helpful, thank you (sending only one email with several questions is really something I should do). Since you worked as a project manager, could you tell me how you thought about your translators? I feel that there are different groups: as you mentioned, the "preferred" translators for high-profile jobs, and then different degrees until "the people you only send very cheap jobs". Is this really how it works?

    Thank you,

    Anne-Laure (I would also love to read the opinion of the other Senior Translation)

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    sonjaswenson

    I would like to add to Zoe's great advice that being at the top of your game is also vital.  The most reliable, easygoing translator on Earth will not be hired often if he or she is not a good translator!  So continue to improve your skills, ensure your translations are top-notch, and attend continuing education courses or seminars whenever you can!  Bounce ideas off of other translators in person or online to broaden your skills and horizons.  Send agencies and clients your updated CV from time to time so they know you are continuing to grow as a professional. 

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    berangerechevallier

    Hi!

     

    I think Zoë made very good points.

    I would say that you have to specialize in 3 areas and to master them. The PM will appreciate that you know what you are talking about and the client will be satisfied. If he is not, as you master the subject, you can explain your choices, and people always appreciate when what you say makes sense and is logical.

    Try to be the best you can in what you do, be pleasant to communicate with and to make other people's life easier, and everything will work.

    Kind regards,

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    zoept

    Hello again, Anne-Laure,

    I wouldn't necessarily say that agencies group freelancers in terms of quality (high profile vs. cheap jobs). As I mentioned, along with Sonja, being an excellent translator is vitally important. I would say that you might see some division of preferred freelancers based on subject expertise, as Bérangère highlighted, or even on more practical factors, such as time zone (when a turnaround time is tight).

    Basically, it's not a very good business strategy to aim to do good work just some of the time. Every translation handled by an agency is a reflection on the work they do. As a PM every client and every job was important, whether it was a press release for a multinational corporation or academic transcripts for a private individual trying to continue their studies. As an example, I had my 'go-to freelancer' for Spanish who was a master at corporate communications. But when a technical manual on mining equipment landed on my desk, I would prefer to send it to another translator with a background in mining and engineering. That translator would be able to provide a better translation in a shorter amount of time (and the former would have likely turned it down anyway). Another example would be using a German translator based in New Zealand, who could easily return some general documents by first thing the next morning, without needing to work odd hours or with added rush fees. 

    I hope that clears things up a bit.

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    Gabriele D.

    Hi, 

    This is an additional question. Do you have or think it is useful to have a specific qualification, eg. a Diploma or MA in Translation, in addition to a degree and a professional career?

    Gabriele

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