The different types of translation services providers

You want to translate a document. How do you start it? There are plenty of options. Below you’ll find a handy overview of the different types of translation services. Hopefully it can help you in choosing who will be allowed to carry out your translation.

Choose translation service provider

Freelance translator

There are lots of translators who choose to launch their own business as a freelancer. These professionnals so try “solo” to claim their piece of the translation market. In this group we distinguish three different categories:

  • The translator who is directly involved with your projects.

This professional works alone. You can contact him directly and give him documents and instructions. However, we note that many translators work on behalf of translation agencies .

  • The translator who outsources tasks to other colleagues.

Some translators with too much work decide to outsource some of their tasks to colleagues in whom they have confidence. They then take a small margin on these contracts and act as intermediaries so that they perhaps will proofread the translation before sending it to the customer.

  • Freelance project manager

Unlike the translator who outsources work when there is too much work, the project manager will no longer translate him/herself. His/her only role is that of an intermediary. It has an address book in which many are professional translators who specialize in different fields and translate in different language combinations.

The translation agency

An agency is a company that will monitor your project from A to Z. The differences between them are mainly in their size and method:

  • The small agency

In this case, 2 to 3 people work together. These are often former colleagues or specialized staff in some subject area who decide to start up their own businesses.

  • The network of translators

It is this concept that originates YBD: multiple professional translators gather their knowledge and expertise with the aim to create a network based on trust and quality. It is somehow an alternative way to manage a small translation firm. Often these networks have members working as a translator. But without exception they proofread each translation they have taken on.

  • Medium Agency

In this type of translation agency, there are between five and 20 people, including project managers, but also eg. specialists in desktop publishing, web formats, localization, etc. They often work under the same roof, they know each other personally and they meet on a daily basis. Everyone fulfills its specific mission and plays a key role in the translation process. These medium-sized agencies are often created by professional translators who master the art to the smallest details and who entrust their translation jobs to qualified translators.

  • The big agencies

These companies have at least 100 employees spread across various offices around the world. These large agencies are not necessarily set up and managed by professional translators. The “business” part usually comes first.

  • The mega-agencies

Unlike the small agencies, these are large companies such as SDL or LionBridge, which are real translation plants. From different countries they manage hundreds of projects every day and distribute the work to their numerous employees. They have a fixed network of translators who work in numerous language combinations and specialise in specific domains. In this way they can manage a large number of projects simultaneously, regardless of the subject matter.

Translation services: the choice is yours!

Ultimately, you will have to choose the type of organisation to which you want to entrust the translation work, depending on your expectations, your requirements and your budget. Each of the above types of organisation has a different approach, so it is best to choose the form of which the service offered is most appealing to you.