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Translation Real Stories

The funny thing is that this company offered a low rate to begin with, so you can just imagine how much lower the rate went down before reaching the final translators who will actually handle the job.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alright! Here we go again with another episode about translators and “translation agencies”. Before we go any further, be advised that this is not to bash the agencies, but more to share informative REAL stories from the translation industry.

I’d like you to meet Mr. T. Now, Mr. T here is not that funny fierce guy from the A-team, Mr. T here is a professional translator with over a decade of experience and has no interest in fake stories.

Real story Uno: The “Yeah, I know” story.

Mr. T was enjoying a cup of tea while checking his email at 7am while being somewhere in South East Asia time (a perk of being a freelance). And there it is! A blanket email about a 70,000 words project that needs to be delivered in matter of 2 weeks. The private message asked for translators to reply on which role they prefer, translation or proofreading and how many words a translator can handle.

Now the person who sent that email was in North America, so Mr. T replied saying that he is available to handle a portion of it stating the number of words and time needed to finish his portion, the sender then replied and discussed few details and asked to wait for confirmation only to reply after a short while apologizing and saying that the entire project was allocated to ‘someone’. At that point, Mr. T messaged the sender again wondering about what happened? The person said: “A translator from Egypt (meaning it was 1am in the morning at that exact time) took it all”. Mr. T said: “But you know that he cannot do it all by himself in that time frame, and you know he will segment it again to another set of translator before delivering it back to you, and that for sure will mean the quality will be trash and the least headache to expect is no consistency right?” The sender said: “Yeah, I know.”

“Yeah, I know” stopped Mr. T from going further in that discussion. I mean you don’t need to be a genius to interpret that line and to realize that quality was not a top priority with that specific project. Maybe the client agreed to that and paid accordingly, maybe he didn’t, who knows all the details, but the fact remains, that “Yeah, I know” meant a lot coming from that person who is actually a translator too.

The funny thing is that this company offered a low rate to begin with, so you can just imagine how much lower the rate went down before reaching the final translators who will actually handle the job.

Story number two: The ‘manage risks’ story

So, Mr. T was on LinkedIn going through the comments and posts made by other professionals in the industry. While doing so, he passed by an article talking about translation agencies and how clients should deal with translators directly. Okay, all was normal, good article with interaction through comments until that person aka the sender of the email who claimed to be in one of the ‘leading translation agencies’ in Eastern Europe came up with the following comment: “If you proactively manage risks connected to low cost translations and you know that’s what you want, you should be fine. If you don’t you might be very surprised with the result as stated in the article.

Seriously? He used the the phrase you might be and yes, he made that confident I know-it-all smile at the end!

Mr. T looked at that comment, smiled to himself as well while thinking: Well, Mr. “You should be fine”, Your comment would have passed unnoticed if I didn’t know from a reliable source what is really happening in your company! Especially with your biggest G-lient.

So, yeah Mr. T have every right to say all these..

Here you go dear readers, couple of real stories from the translation industry, I hope you liked them and had a smile while going through the lines.

Till next time.








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