I’m currently going through the process of recruiting sub-contractors from ProZ.com to help with a big project. During our Australian Translators and Interpreters Space #WordCafe meetup someone asked ‘how do you know you’re getting what you pay for?’ and I think that’s an interesting topic to discuss.
For starers, just because someone isn’t certified, doesn’t mean they’re not a good translator. Most of the best and busiest translators in the world are not certified and do not have MTrans degrees. We’re just fortunate in Australia to be in a bubble sheltered by our NAATI credentials, otherwise the global market reality would be a lot closer to home. The biggest reason for me to reach out abroad is because such a small portion of NAATI-certified translators do translation work full-time. That is definitely the case in my language pair. The second biggest reason is that other NAATI-certified translators tend to charge too much (more than what the client is paying me!) for sub-contracting to be viable.
Nevertheless, my response was that us translators are probably the strictest when reviewing the credentials of other translators and are by far the most trouble to work for! (I admit, I’m really hard to work for, with very high expectations).
I used to give prospective sub-contractors a test translation of about 250 words that only the best in the world could translate correctly. I stopped sending it out because it was needlessly cruel. Why? Because it was a document with a source error. If you were just any old translator, you would translate it how you read it. If you were good enough to meet ‘my required standard’, you’d read and try to understand the business relationship described in the source, see that something didn’t add up, you’d flag it to the client and translate accordingly.
The pass rate was probably lower than the certification exam we’re all familiar with!
Tip: if you ever think of outsourcing, make sure you follow the directions in the AUSIT Code of Ethics and let your clients know in advance. After that, create a meaningful relationship with your teammates, be transparent about costs and rates, and give everyone enough time! I also recommend having a video call and getting to know the person before kicking off any projects with them.
Meaningful and productive relationships with other translators are worth their value in factors of multiples: Especially if you find someone who is happy to do your editing at a reasonable rate.
Does anyone else have experiences to share with sub-contracting? Please share below!!