Translators are the driving force in any localization project. You can have the best tools and workflows in the world, but if you don’t know how to cooperate with translators, you won’t go too far.
Although we are not a typical LSP, we do provide language services to many of our clients. Since we are primarily a software company, we had to define our own approach. How do we cooperate with translators and what does Text United’s approach mean to translators and clients? Let’s break down some of the basics!
#1. Collaboration model
We don’t cooperate with translators to act as a face to a nameless person working on projects for different clients. Our Translation Management System is built for transparency, and we are quite proud of that.
This means that when a client reaches out with a request for translation, review or transcription, our project managers take over. They check the content as well as time frames and then decide on the best methodology (like machine-translation and human review, for example).
Then, they open our vendor portal and filter out translators based on the criteria they have (target language, expertise, willingness to post-edit machine-translation, etc.). Selected translators are then assigned to the project.
The client knows the name of the translator and can communicate with them via the Online Portal, and the client can also track the expenses, as we don’t hide the translator’s rate.
#2. The goal
What is the ultimate goal? The goal is to show clients the real people working on the project. Naturally, the second goal is to connect the translator to the client.
Like this, we cooperate with translators in a way that gives the client two opportunities:
- Request e.g. Adalbert Kowal to do all their translations into German.
- Contact Adalbert, and send the next project to him directly.
By doing this, the client can cut out the middleman, as clients can manage projects themselves, and not pay us to do so.
#3. Finding Nemo
How do we cooperate with translators who are stored in our vendor database? Thanks to our online presence, they mostly come to us after visiting the website.
The system is free, so translators only need to sign up and fill in their details to get started. Our vendor manager then contacts them with the NDA and the onboarding process.
From time to time our vendor manager also reaches out to translators, as we know which language combinations are deficient in terms of translators. The main requirement is that the translators have a 3-year experience, and then we check other references and projects they worked on.
We have test projects for most of our new translators, and the translators are monitored on a project-basis as well. We also have tools built into our software which can tell us if a proofreader is actually checking and changing segments, or just opening and closing them (which is a red flag).
#4. Money talk
Now the most important part: how do we actually calculate the workload and pay translators? Let us say that the translator is assigned to project A. Our system will automatically calculate how many words the translator needs to translate. Let’s say that 50% are context matches from the Translation Memory, and 50% is new content which needs to be translated.
When the project is kicked off, the translator gets a task estimation. Why is it called an estimation? We could be translating a second project (project B), which will be completed two days after project A was kicked-off. The translated segments from project B are now also added to the Translation Memory.
When the translator in project A now opens a segment for translation, they could get a new TM proposal, which was not available two days ago, when the project was kicked off. Our system then says: OK, the initial task estimate was 100 EUR, but with the new TM proposals the number of actual words for translation is lower, so you will be paid 95 EUR.
Once project A is completed, the translator will get an updated Invoice Specification Item stating that they will be paid 95 EUR for working on project A. At the end of each month, the translator can then check all the Invoice Specification Items within the system, and prepare an Invoice. We don’t take anything translators have earned. We just calculate the actual workload, which can change during a project (usually on longer projects).
There’s no translation without translators
We cooperate with translators in order to help them to maximize profit and help our clients to minimize expenses. We want to thank our translators for being with us on this journey. We value and love each one of you, and we could not be where we are without you!
As for any translators who are not yet a part of the Text United team, register here and check out our system. Reach out with questions, and we hope to start working on our first joint project very soon!