The Benefits of Going Direct – For Clients and FreelancersPosted: March 30, 2011
The translation industry seems to be getting quite a bit of publicity. First there was “The Great Invisible Industry” article on Fox business that I spoke about in my last post. Then Huffington Post’s Nina Sankovitch offered her mea culpa for not having previously acknowledged the work of translators in making it possible for her to enjoy the books of authors from around the world. This was then picked up by Nataly Kelly in yet another Huffington Post article.
The common underlying theme is that translators are a hard-working bunch that toil away thanklessly in the darkness, never quite getting their day in the sun.
Unless, of course, if they go direct.
The majority of my clients are direct and this has been a conscious business decision on my part. It allows me to build personal (and lasting) client relationships and satisfies my need to actively operate as an entrepreneur. As with all ventures, this comes with risks, but that also means that the returns are more attractive. It goes without saying that this approach results in improved earnings, as well as happier clients who benefit from a better rate than if they had to pay the middleman.
What I found especially interesting in Nataly Kelly’s piece, in which she neatly outlines the ‘buying’ process, was that clients themselves are becoming aware of the benefits of having a direct link with translators, and that without it, there’s a noticeable impact on translation quality. I know that this particularly applies to on-going projects when it comes to things like ensuring cohesiveness, because agencies may have several different translators working consecutively (or even simultaneously) on a project.
In a direct situation, this doesn’t happen. My clients know that they have a single point of contact, which means I’m acutely aware of their specific needs and requirements. It also ensures accuracy and consistent terminology over the long-haul.
And then there’s also the fact that there’s a certain extra added commitment from freelancers, precisely because we’re often one man shows. The success of our businesses is directly related to our professional and financial well-being, so we often give new meaning to the phrase “jumping through hoops”. As in, how high?
That said, I’d be interested to hear your preferences via email or in the comments. So over to you.