Showing posts with label translation company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label translation company. Show all posts

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Translation Quotes: Charging by time or words

translation quote

Lately our Translation agency has been receiving requests to quote per hour as opposed to word. In this case we are expected to revise approximately 1,000 words per hour in order to be profitable. Translation Quotes based on time are definitely the safest option from the Translation services company point of view in that it covers unforeseen translation issues such as formatting. From a client point of view it involves bestowing a lot of trust on the translation agency, a trust of course, built up over time. For this reason in this article I would like to write in detail about the pros and cons of quoting per hour.

Charging a Translation Quote per hour

In my opinion this method has certain advantages and disadvantages. On the one had if we charge per hour and we need more time than usual we can charge for this. For example with a revision, if the text is unusually sub-standard and we need extra revision time to bring the text up to standard we can charge accordingly and avoid the stress of explaining to the client the issue involved and renegotiating a higher rate per word. On other hand most clients like to have the translation quote cost closed before the work commences and the renegotiation process is applicable anyway. This renegotiation process is very dependent on the knowledge of the client, their willingness to accommodate the extra work, their budget or their relationship with their immediate superior.

Also entering into play is another variable. In the case where the translation is excellent and the revision time is minimal we stand to loose substantially compared to a translation quote per word. In an ideal world for the translation vendor the optimal solution would be to receive all the translation files before the quotation process and analyze them accordingly. During the analysis the standard of the text or translation, level of difficulty and extra formatting issues could be taken into consideration and the most profitable or fairest translation metric for the quote decided upon. However, as we all know we don’t live in an ideal world and other factors come into play at the quote phase such as competitiveness, time pressure, client knowledge and consistency. By consistency, in this sense, we mean we are often constrained by the fact that the client will request the quote with a certain metric, for instance by word, which makes perfect sense in that it makes it easier for the client to compare quotes from different companies.

When to charge a translation quote per hour?

As previously mentioned this is dependent on a variety of factors. In most cases the translation quote should be charged per word but what are the cases where charging per hour is the best option. In some cases we have had to send our translators to the client offices for their work. In this case charging per hour is often the only option. The translator will be expected to work at a certain capacity. This form of charging the client can be very profitable in the case where the translator does not have a sufficient workload.

Another case is where there are unforeseen formatting issues. Recently we had a case where the client requested the translations in text boxes in a pdf and the text boxes superimposed over the corresponding target strings. The process of text box creation, superimposition and formatting accounted for more time than the translation itself. This of course added to deadline, extra resource and quality issues not accounted for in the original quote. As the original files were not received and the formatting issue not made aware to us during the original quote phase this lead to a complicated renegotiation of the deadline and cost for the extra formatting. Fortunately these types of issues are rare! From a translation company point of view it is always wise to be weary of extra formatting issues when the files are not received in a standard format such as word, especially where translation memories are expected to be used in the translation process. Even in word there are extra issues to be weary of that add to the translation process workload such as graphics and tables.

The final case to be noted is in the case of revision. Some translations can be of such poor standard that their revision is in effect a total re-translation of the entire text. Of course this leads to the ensuing renegotiation of the quote. The successful renegotiation will hinge upon the clients understanding of the problem, their budget and their relationship with their superiors.

In the above three cases it is clear to see that charging per hour avoids the issue of extra workloads not accounted for in the original translation rate per word quote however, we must consider that many clients may be unwilling to accept time as a cost metric due to the lack of control they have when it comes to costing, the trust they must bestow on the translation services company and the fact that other translation services companies are willing to accept the rate per word metric for quotation despite the unforeseen issues.

What should we charge per hour on a translation quote?

Many Translation services companies have difficulty deciding what to charge per hour and this is indeed a conundrum for many. This stems from the fact that some of the tasks during the translation process are more skilled than others. For instance translation is perceived as more skilled than formatting or desktop publishing, even some desktop publishing tasks are more complicated than others. Do we charge a different hourly rate for the various types of tasks. In this case we found that the best solution is the least complicated solution as it ensures consistency and a lack of confusion from both the translation company and client's perspective. This is why we decided to charge a common hourly rate for all tasks in the Translation process whether the task be linguistic, engineering or publishing. In some cases we may miss out economically and in other cases we may gain economically but if a good average rate per hour is selected the costing tends to even out over time.

To conclude, a translation quote per word ensures that the quote process is consistent and measurable both from a client and translation vendor perspective however the hourly metric for quotation is considered better when there are unforeseen or even foreseen issues during the translation process such as formatting, difficult source texts or poor translations. It is always best to analyze carefully the source files before submitting the translation quote!

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. Click here for a quote based on hours or a quote per word or compare our rates to our competitors.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Translation Quote Request: Metrics and Averages

translation quote
When requesting a translation quote the result we get can be a total mind field. Translation quotes can be quoted per word, per hour, per character and per page. Rates per word differ from language to language and translation company to translation company, some companies use translation memories and within this we get differing metrics for matching and repetitions, some rates include revision by a third party, rates differ from subject matter to subject while some companies charge project management rates. The list goes on and on and can often leave the client in a very confusing predicament. However, in this article we hope to clarify some of the issues of translation quotes especially in the area of translation metrics.

Requesting a Translation Quote


The standard measurement of translation cost is by word or translation rate per word. This has many advantages in that it`s easy to measure and suits most world languages with the exception of some of the Asian languages. A translation quote per page is very unreliable as the word count per page differs depending on size of page, font size, graphics etc… A translation quote per hour also tends to be unreliable as some translators tend to be faster than others and a metric based on words has to be established to plan the work anyway. Also, both quotes per page and per hour do not fit into the analytical reports of translation memory tools. Most reports are based on raw analysis and manipulation of word counts. If a quote is based on time there is a huge and unnecessary degree of trust placed on the sub-contractor. In some cases a translation quote will be based on the character count. This is a reliable method to quote on translations but leads to more complications due to higher character counts and more complicated calculations. However, in some cases especially in the case of Asian languages it is more logical to base the quote on the character counts due to the nature of some of the Asian languages.

So far so good, we are reached our first concrete decision, the measurement value of our quote will be in words or in the case of Asian languages, characters. We now have to request an itemized quote from the translation services companies based on the word counts. After doing this we notice that some documents are translated at a higher rate than others. A general rule of thumb is that specialized fields such as legal, medical and technical tend to be 20% more expensive than general and business fields.

How so, you may ask and the answer is that there are fewer suitably qualified translators for the subject matter which tends to drive translation prices up. Other factors that contribute to a higher rate per word are as follows:

• Unusual language combinations with few translators
• Language combinations where the pool of translators have high living costs
• Highly specialized subject matter

Great! so we can now compare the word count and the rate from translation agency to translation agency but we then start to notice that some translation agencies are offering lesser rates for previously translated text or repeated text, while the rate for untranslated text may be slightly higher. These translation agencies are offering Translation memory services which stores previously translated text. It may be a first job with the agency so there is no previously translated text however, there may be what we call in the industry repeated text which only needs to be translated once. This type of text may be offered to the client at say 30% of the normal rate. Translation Memory systems complicate the translation process and require investment of the part of the translation agency but they ensure consistency and cut costs in the long run. This is why translation services companies offering these services often have higher rates but in the long term the investment in higher rates is worth it. Here is a summary of the key decisions we have to decide on when analyzing translation quotes:
1. Translation Quote measurement (Words)
2. Understanding differing word counts
3. Understanding translation rates and why
- Degree of difficulty and expertise
- Language combination
Hopefully this article helps you to facilitate the translation quote process. Remember to ask the translation agencies to provide their quote in the same format. Ask them for a quotation per word with each document/text itemized. This will ensure you get an easy to compare breakdown of rates and word counts which should make the decision process easier! Happy outsourcing!

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. We offer economically unbeatable translation quotes in most common language combinations of the world and fields of industry. if you just want to browse over our rates, click here

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Translation

SEO
In the past 20 years Globalization and the internet have revolutionized the way we do business. Companies are now aware of the importance of an online presence to succeed in the international market place. The scope for development in the sector is amazing. As of 2011 over 80% of the internet was in English yet approximately 26% of internet Users are native English speakers. This figure gives an idea of the amount of development that is required over the coming years to translate the internet.
Yet its all very well translating your website into multiple languages but if it shows nowhere in the search rankings for that language a business is defeating the purpose of translating the website in the first place. A lot of companies make the serious error of website translation without SEO in mind rendering most of their translated content ineffective. That’s a sizable investment in something that could have been easily avoided if the translation and SEO projects were run in conjunction from the start.
Content creation and website design are two of the most important components of SEO. Once the optimal SEO design of the source website is created and the optimized source content uploaded we are ready for the translation and optimization of the of the language versions of the website. A lot of translation services companies offer SEO and translation services together but what exactly does this entail.
Firstly, the keywords must be established in the translated language. This is a critical part of the project and depends very much on the budget of the company. Being such a new and pioneering field most companies have to outsource their SEO needs and it tends to be very expensive. One must bear in mind that a lot of key words have already been invested in heavily and the bottom line is that if you don’t have the budget for a significant linking campaign for a competitive keyword there is no point in going for that keyword. Most good SEO consultants will advise a client as to the keywords they can achieve within their budget with the hope that the client can find a niche within their market. The profitability or competitiveness of certain keywords can be judged by certain barometers.
Once the keywords have been established for each page it’s very important the translation must be carried out with SEO in mind. This means that a certain keyword must appear in certain places on a web page without being mentioned too often which could result in penalization by search engines (key word stuffing). Some suggest that the keyword should appear in the title, description, heading ones, body twice and the alt tags. This is by no means a protocol as one also has to bear in mind that search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and search criteria. The appearance of the keyword in certain areas can often lead to very cumbersome translations however producing a seamless translation that reads well with the keyword in place is a skill in itself and the reason a lot of translation companies that handle SEO can afford to charge that little bit extra for SEO translation.
Once we have achieved the optimal design and the optimized translated content has been uploaded the SEO process begins in earnest. The key is to get internal links from other spaces on the World Wide Web. This process can be very expensive and very hard to measure. It is achieved in a number of ways such as reciprocal links, articles, press releases, social networking, links directories, associate websites, free utilities and many more. The translation vendor still has a role to play here and should be responsible for the following in the various languages:
• Search Engine Optimized articles • SEO’ed press releases • SEO’ed new website content • SEO’ed social networking content • SEO’ed link templates
The translation company really needs to be hands on throughout the link building process otherwise results will not be achieved.
To summarize, an SEO and translation project is huge commitment financially. One must also bear in mind that all internal resources especially the publishing resources must be aware of the project and write with SEO in mind to get the best results. Translating with SEO in mind requires a very conscious mindset. One also has to consider that SEO is an ongoing project that the client always has to remain in top of. At the end of the day if the SEO investment is justifying itself then it’s worth maintaining this investment.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain that offers cut rate SEO translations rates, click here to review them or get an SEO translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Stop Shop Translations: MLV - MultiLingual Translation Company Recruitment...

One Stop Shop Translations: MLV - MultiLingual Translation Company Recruitment...: In this article we describe, referencing the standard Translation Project Management process, internal and external human resource aspects i...

Translation Company Recruitment and Human Resource Management

Translation Company Recruitment
In this article we describe, referencing the standard Translation Project Management process, internal and external human resource aspects of the translation company recruitment strategy, from the main aspects of linguistic production to the selection and formation of personnel, production flow and human resources and selection process and contraction.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO TRANSLATION COMPANY RECRUITMENT

Translation companies offer their clients full management of their localization and Translation needs from any Language to another with all the technological expertise necessary to make the final product. This often involves the replication of products per geographical region. Multilingual language company clients often lack the necessary resources to redistribute their product in regions or markets, against the single language company model where the client has many local offices for the distribution. Put simply, the translation and localization process can be handled at local office level or the central office as is the case of the multilingual translation services company model. With the Multilingual translation services company model the client depends on its supplier to manage all aspects of the process with very high expectations due to the Multilingual translation services company's expertise: The benefits of this model are minimal technical and linguistic complications and maximum standardization of their localized product within a very small time frame. We are no longer in the times where multinationals released their products on different regional markets on a gradual basis. Now the client can expect SIM ship releases of their products which means a simultaneous release of their product onto various regional markets.
To confront this challenge the multilingual Translation companies incorporate a team of professionals with different skill sets for example sales agents, Project managers, project analysts, translators of various languages, Desk top publishing specialists, localization engineers, etc. Depending on the production and management model chosen by a Multilingual translation services company the group must guarantee the standardization of the localized product across the whole production process, in other words all the team must be speaking on the same page. Added to this challenge is the time differences across which the different Multilingual translation services company resources are working in.
To guarantee efficiency and quality across all these production processes by different resources located across the globe there are two main problems the multilingual translation company has to crack:

On the one hand the Multilingual translation services company has to identify a streamlined and integrated production and management process through the use of global management tools and the implementation of advanced information and communication technologies.
Due to the above, and the second problem, this implies that there has to be continuous re-training and formation of the various personnel located across the globe in diverse teams from Europe and America to Asia. It also implies a coherent and optimal recruitment of personal in the diverse specialized areas with minimum disruption to the production cycle. This also involves the complicated process of external resource recruitment and monitoring their performance.

Along with the new demand from clients for more visibility and traceability of their products during the localization cycle and more control over their localized content the Multilingual translation services company has had to face yet another challenge, the use of Translation assisted tools such as machine Translation tools, Translation memory environments and automatic Project management tools. Without doubt the ability of the Multilingual translation services company to compete is influenced by the amount of investment and the degree of success to which they have implemented these ever changing tools.

In this article we will describe, making reference to the standard Project management process, the most relevant internal and external human resource factors, from their selection to their training and development.

Translation Company Recruitment - the key players in the workflow

Once the client has chosen his supplier and the Project is in process, he uses the following principal resources: Project manager, Translation Manager, Lead translator and Translator:

PROJECT MANAGER (PM)
The role of the translation project manager can differ from one multilingual translation company to another but their main function is to be the connection point between the various resources of a Project. On one side they liaise with the client to find out their specifications and expectations, budget and delivery schedule. They then have to guide the project through the various tasks liaising with the various resources responsible for those tasks, right through to completion while all the while ensuring that the workloads have been realistic and the project is delivered meeting the client’s quality, budget and deadline expectations.
It often happens that the client may change the budget or specifications of the project while in the production phase. It is the responsibility of the PM to ensure that these changes are implemented with minimal fuss without affecting the production cycle or the translation quote constraints within reason. It is also their responsibility to coordinate the resources that have been chosen for the project. Typically this may involve a translation team, engineering team, publishing team, testers and evaluation team, etc. The main task of the PM is to make the end product of each production phase available for the next phase. This may involve transmitting vital information to the relevant resource at the best time during the production cycle. The PM ensures that each resource completes his process or task on time and to budget thus ensuring the overall success of the project.. The PM also filtrates information back to the client in the most efficient and timely manner for example queries from translators or technical problems encountered by the engineers which need input from the client.

TRANSLATION MANAGER
The Translation is the boss of the Translation department. He has overall responsibility of the translators in the translation company and guarantees the linguistic quality of the work produced by the department, including texts that are sub-contracted to freelancers external to the company. He is also responsibility for the feasibility of projects undertaken from within and outside the department. He is involved in the planning of all projects and ensures that all projects run smoothly using the most efficient and economical methodology and processes. It is important to ensure that all department members are working at their optimal capacity and that control and quality measures are working correctly. He or she must also monitor each department member efficiently to ensure their performance is optimal, they are up to speed with the company processes and also their personal development and motivation flourishes. The updating of department processes and technologies should be a collective department process guided by the translation manager.

LEAD TRANSLATOR
There is a lead translator for every project Language assigned on leadership skills and experience. When there is regular work from a client it is advised to have a stable translation team with the same lead translator. This saves time when recurrent linguistic issues arise. The lead translator is responsible for the final linguistic quality of the project, all the components such as the glossary, software, help, documentation, establishing stylistic norms and standard terminology. Normally he revises the work of the other project translators to ensure that this goal is achieved and resolves technical problems (translation Memory and terminology issues, etc.). He is the bridging point between the translators and the Project Manager, the lead desk top Publisher and lead engineer and selects and analyses the freelancers chosen for the project if one is hired.

Translation Company Recruitment - SELECTION AND CONTRACTION PROCESS

The multilingual translation service company always offer the translators the opportunity to work in different positions giving them the opportunity to specialize in their preferred area thus motivating them more. This may be a field of specialization for their particular Language combination or an unrelated Translation position such as:
Management of Translation projects
Linguistic and functional testing on various platforms
Audio recording positions
Line manager
Terminology Management (creation and maintenance of multilingual glossaries)
Pre-Project Evaluations
Sales Support

Selection of translators

The selection of translators during the translation company recruitment process needs to be standardized. From receipt of C.Vs and aptitude tests to the interview stage and training after hire the Translation Company must maintain standardized recruitment processes while at the same time adapting to the local laws and legislation where the staff are being hired.
Standardization can be guaranteed in the following aspects:
• The information the candidate receives
• The aptitude tests (Translation and revision tests) and the evaluation. This includes the methodology of the tests and the formulas used to calculate the results.
• Ensuring the candidate is anonymous for the aptitude test thus ensuring results are objective
• Results feedback to the candidates

The following people are involved in the translation company recruitment process:

Recruitment manager: This person publishes adds and gathers the relevant C.Vs according to the specifications per language. Universities are a very good source of recruitment and its important for the translation company to maintain good relations with the various education centers where there may be potential candidates. This close relationship is also beneficial in that it can enhance and develop new technologies and methodologies in the localization sector.
The distribution of translation company offices often complicates the registration of candidates and for this it is better to have a centralized Database.

Translation manager: The Translation manager who conducts the evaluation of the tests selects the best candidates and is also involved in the interview process.

Line manager: also assists at the interviews and is involved in the final selection process.

Translation Company recruitment tests

The revision and Translation tests are the same throughout all the world wide offices of the multilingual Translation Company. During the selection process it is handy to do two tests: 1 external by email and if this is passed the second at the company offices. Both tests are evaluated by senior translators or a line manager in that language. During the test it is important to establish the following:
• The linguistic quality of the candidate: written quality of the target translation, terminology knowledge and translation methodology.
• Comprehension of the source language, both in general and specific terms of the company fields.
• Capacity to resolve problems in the translation, documentation and deadlines.

Translation Company Recruitment External tests
The objective of the test is to ensure that the translator is familiar with certain materials. It is done at home. The focus of the test is on quality as opposed to speed.

Translation Company Recruitment In-house Tests
Once the first test is passed there is an in-house test. Again the format of the test is the same across all the translation company branches. Here the focus of the test is not only on linguistic quality but also on the adherence to deadlines and instructions.
The evaluation or correction format is based on a standard formula

INTERVIEW

The interview process be it face to face or telephone should be supported by a series of processes and documentation:
• There should be a standard list of questions
• There should also be a formula for objectively evaluating the answers of the candidate.
• There should be a formal description of the post with clear guidelines of the specifications of the job plus the skills and expectations required from the candidate

WHAT IS SOUGHT FOR IN THE CANDIDATE

There are three important prerequisites that the translator should have:
1. Linguistic Excellence
2. Capacity to work in a team
3. Adaptivity

Translation Company Recruitment Training

The Translation teams must work in harmony to ensure linguistic quality and smooth production flow. The training efforts of the company should be directed in this area and try to ensure that the new translators comply with the quality and production standards established by the company within a year.

Training should include the following:
• Organizational structure of the company and different roles of each department
• General Procedures such as dress code and time management, right and obligations of the employees
• Processes specific to the department such as workflows, Project management software, process documents related to the Translation procedure and the interaction process between the different departments
• Technology: Translation Memory and internal translation tool Use.
• Style and Quality: Style Guide of the company and the main clients. Quality controls, query process and correction process

Once the training has been complete there should be an appraisal system in place to not only monitor the progress of the employee but also their development. This may include:
• Identifying other training needs
• Monitoring performance
• Establishing objectives and renovating objectives once achieved

SELECTION OF FREELANCERS

During very busy periods when the workload is too much for internal staff the Translation company needs a data Base of quality external translators.
The evaluation of the freelancers follows the same format as the evaluation of the internal employees, although there may be extra criteria for correction of the aptitude tests bearing in mind there will be no training: the freelancer must be fully trained already in the field they will be translating, for instance a Spanish translator with Spanish legal translation experience. This evaluation is conducted by a Senior translator.
All the selected freelancers must be logged in a central database under the field and specialty they have been chosen for. The database should contain the following information on the freelancer
• Contact details, prices, qualifications and aptitude tests.
• Current projects and availability.

It is very important to record the progress of the freelancer in the database. This includes information such as the adherence to deadlines, linguistic quality and capability of resolving issues. This helps to avoid problems on future projects.

CONCLUSIONS

The whole recruitment, training and monitoring of staff in a multilingual Translation company is the core of the business. As new markets open and technological advances continue at a fast pace it is of the ultimate importance for the MLV to keep up with these advances with regard to recruitment in order to stay competitive.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation services recruitment opportunities, click here. One Stop Shop Translations realises the importance of translation company recruitment!