As a new translator starting out or a seasoned professional who likes to keep things simple, it might be the case that you decide you want to work for a Language Service Provider (LSP) or translation agency rather than seeking out clients directly. Whatever your reasons for pursuing work with an LSP, there are some important tips that can make your time with them more productive and mutually successful.
Recently, ATIA held a webinar with the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada, Michele Hecken. Michele went through a ton of introductory tips for working with LSPs and we are picking out and adding to our favourites for all of you.
Deliver on what you promise to.
This might sound obvious but the snowball effect when working for LSPs is very real. The more solid work you produce, the more you will be offered. And the busier you will be. Note that LSPs sift through hundreds and hundreds of translation CVs regularly so your position there is always a bit tenuous, but one way to have job security is to be reliable for quality translations delivered on-tie, every time. As harsh as that sounds, this is the world of working for LSPs. They are usually producing work globally and generally have a very large translator database. Everyone has off-days but there is less opportunity to come back from a few of those when working for an LSP simply because of the size of these organizations and how in-demand they are by clients and professionals alike. Stay consistent and manage your time to deliver quality translations regularly.
This might seem counter-intuitive because you would think that the more types of translations you do would *translate* into more types of work offered, but this is generally not the case. The more you specialize in specific types of translations, the more work you are likely to build up in your area of expertise. You might even garner a reputation as the go-to translator for that specialization. Never be afraid to turn down translation work that you are not qualified to attend to – the LSP will likely respect your knowledge of your own boundaries and will appreciate that you don’t take on anything that is outside your areas of expertise, which could result in subpar translations.
Embrace the technological revolution!
Translations-by-hand are still often seen as the best method for accuracy but they may be more time-consuming than you or the LSP you work for would like. At ATIA, we know folks who recommend avoiding machine translations wherever possible. At the same time, there are some technological tools which make your work a lot easier – especially for everything but the translation itself! Use appropriate software for formatting, scheduling your work, storing your work, and invoicing at the end of the day. We have written about this previously, so be sure to check out the best online tools for professional translators.
Stay in your lane.
Knowing your place as a translator is important for keeping yourself sane and on-track. It isn’t your job to work on source texts so if you find errors, don’t edit them. Simply translate to the best of your ability the meaning of the text. You can introduce a translator’s note to draw attention to project manager about the original errors who can then advise the client.