◈ THE TRUTH ABOUT MULTI-LANGUAGE AGENCIES
“Professional translation in over 100 languages..." Now that’s a bold statement. There are dozens of so-called multi-language translation agencies that make this claim. But let's stop and think about this for a moment. Does this seem possible, or even sane? In fact, it’s preposterous, as any self-respecting translation professional will tell you.
Invariably, such an agency has "regional managers" who speak only one foreign language, if at all. (For example, a Chinese speaker to handle Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and a half-dozen other Asian languages, which causes misgivings on its face.) This means that, assuming it is serious about quality control, the agency would need to temporarily hire outside translation experts to oversee languages the agency lacks the expertise to handle in-house. But the problem is the significant costs incurred in finding and managing these temporary quality-control managers, not to mention finding and managing qualified translators. These additional costs are invariably passed on to the clients. And this is on top of gaps in quality control which are all the more inevitable when there are no in-house native speakers and translators. The reality is that multi-language agencies are always fighting to finesse this quality control gap to maximize profits, so as a rule they pay their translators rock-bottom rates; this, as surely as fire will burn, results in compromised quality. The obvious and unfortunate result is that clients end up paying more and getting less.
Is this a Korean or Chinese document?
Most project managers at multi-language agencies that offer Korean language translation would have no idea.
Here’s the truth about most multi-language agencies: it’s pretty much all Greek to them. That is, the project managers and administrators at these “one-stop” translation agencies rarely have expertise in the specific language their company is translating for their client. The reason ought to be self-evident: knowing a foreign language well enough to judge the quality of a translation is no small achievement. Self-styled translators are a dime a dozen, but finding (and retaining) highly qualified professional translators is another matter. It takes many years of learning, not to mention sacrifice and determination, to achieve the foreign language skills to become a translation expert in just one language pair.
And yet many multi-language agencies routinely claim to provide “high quality translations” in over 100 languages, even 200. Would this mean the agency has over 100 different foreign language speakers on staff? Or perhaps a handful of super-polyglots who speak 20-30 languages apiece? If you think this defies common sense, you would be right.
◈ A TALE OF TWO TRANSLATION AGENCIES
A case in point: A well-known translation and localization agency, which took on a rush project involving extensive Korean translation with highly specific terminology, did not even have an in-house Korean speaker, much less a professional in-house Korean translator. The agency had casual relationships with several self-styled Korean translators, but none of them had the knowledge or experience to handle a project of this magnitude and complexity. The real trouble was, they only found out they had serious problems with the translations after having proceeded deep into the project with these underqualified translators. Weeks had been wasted by the time they realized they would not be able to do a satisfactory job with the team they had. So what did the agency do at the last minute? They came to us, knowing our reputation – admittedly as a last resort. (They couldn’t expect to pay us rock-bottom rates, after all.) As you can probably imagine, the time and money spent at the initial stage of the project was largely wasted. We can’t say what the project ended up costing eventually, but you can bet the client was billed for much of this waste.
◈ OUR BOLD STATEMENT
Korean Translation Group will not make you pay for administrative waste. What you pay for is the superiority of our translation and quality-control work, carried out by native, professional Korean translators. We don't claim to be able to provide translation services in "over 100 languages," or even 10. We simply provide translation services in one language, Korean, into and from other languages. And we do this better than anyone else. Now that’s a statement we’ll be glad to back up.
© 2006-2011 Korean Translation Group. All rights reserved.