“The assertion that customers are incapable of managing their own translation projects is, frankly, plain arrogance.”

science-instrument-quadrupole-779819-tnI saw this quote in a report on startups in our industry. Some of the new technologies are surely disruptive and also look like a great deal of fun!
I do, however, take issue with the quote. At Tembua our goal is to help customers do what they don’t want to do themselves. Whether they can or cannot do it themselves is irrelevant. Think about changing the oil in your car. Can you do it by yourself? Probably. Do you want to? Maybe not. There are people who can do it for you and you decide if the price is worth the time saved. (Not to mention they recycle the oil.)
It’s the same with our industry, language services. I frequently tell clients that we will help them set up a department to select, qualify, track, etc. linguists. We’ll also point them at a good enterprise CAT tool to manage the translation work. And I’m serious. Why would I turn down a client who wants to benefit from our expertise gathered over two decades?
It’s not that our clients are incapable of managing their own translation projects. They evaluate the time it would take to do it themselves and then hire us. Sometime they go DYI for small projects. We’ll help them capture those translations later into the translation memories we maintain for them.
We frankly wouldn’t still be in business if our clients didn’t understand the value we add. The credentials of our linguists are verified and tracked so we can match their expertise to the needs of our clients. That takes time and the tact required to produce a resume from a busy, high-level linguist.
We put together teams of translators and revisers/editors to produce polished work. Anyone who has managed people in any industry knows that some people work together better than others. When the team members are remote, an additional level of skill is required to communicate across cultures and time zones.
We train on the latest CAT tools—computer assisted translation tools—and continually update the software at no small expense. Then we pass the knowledge along to our linguist teams so they can be as efficient as possible.
We also learn a lot from the linguists and that helps us work with our clients more smoothly.
Then there’s the email volume. Multi-language, multi-document projects with internal client review can easily generate several hundred email. We have systems in place to manage it and our clients appreciate receiving the final sausage without watching it be made! They also appreciate knowing they can call in a month or in several years and ask for copies of an old project. We will gladly provide them.
Tembua’s clients aren’t incapable of managing their own translation projects. They simply know that we can do it more efficiently, faster and less expensively than they could do it themselves, leaving them more time and resources to research, manufacture, develop, repair—what they do best.

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About tembua

Tembua: The Precision Language Solution provides comprehensive linguistic services for 100 languages to private industry and government agencies on a global scale. Services include document and website translation and localization; conference and 24/7 telephonic interpretation; glossary development; proofreading, text adaptation, editing, multilingual design and DTP; transcription; technical / custom authoring editing, foreign search engine optimization; translation memory management; subtitling.
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