Why do we call them “Traditional Translation Agencies”?

By Ibrahim Shakil
Mar 17, 2017 · 5 min
Why do we call them “Traditional Translation Agencies”? | One Hour Translation

Ever since the inception of globalization, the surge to penetrate further into local markets has been driven by the translation industry. And for decades, it has been traditional translation agencies that have, very effectively, catered to the ever-growing needs of multinationals to internationalize, localize and ultimately, translate content.

But as we approach a new age of global commerce, these long-established industry standards have started to show signs of weaknesses. Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize this conventional industry model as “Traditional”; a testament to its old fashioned, almost obsolete and soon to be revolutionized nature.

The problem with traditional translation agencies is just that: they are traditional; bound to be limited by their logistical resources. As localization needs become increasingly unique and complex, conventional methods are proving to be more of a hurdle than a facilitator to growth. 

Traditional Translation Agencies: On Their Way Out

What makes a professional translation agency “Traditional” are manual workflows.. It is usually a landlocked, physical, brick and mortar business that uses the internet merely as a facilitator. It can deliver high quality but only in its specific area of linguistic expertise.  

And that’s where the problem lies.

Traditional Translation Agencies are classified by the languages they can handle; usually not more than a handful.

The fact is that there is absolutely no way for a single Traditional Translation Agency to cater to all the localization needs of a multinational operating in dozens of countries around the world.

Being brick and mortar businesses with multiple locations, their overheads are high. And often, it is their customer who has to bear the brunt of these costs through a back-breaking amalgamation of hidden fees, minimum project fees and an extremely high rate per word.

Then there’s the significant issue of high turnaround times. Usually, it takes a few days to get even a single, 1000 word document back to a client. The only way to shorten the turnaround time is to pay a higher rate, which isn’t really a solution at all.

Even at the highest possible rate, traditional translation agencies struggle to keep up with the prolific needs of corporations. It is simply, logistically impossible.

Imagine you’re a multinational corporation operating in 20 different markets around the globe. Your translational needs vary between 20,000 to 50,000 words per day, for each of these native markets. Now, to make this work on a level that is acceptable, you will need to find, negotiate and work with multiple Traditional Translation Agencies just so you can cover all your markets.

Then, you will also have to pay each one of these agencies the highest possible rate in their price structure to ensure your daily requirements are met.

Even then, you’ll still have to deal with a myriad of manageability and scalability challenges.

Sounds lackluster, demanding and cumbersome? That’s because it is.

With the advent of the internet, the world can communicate and share information with itself at breakneck speeds. Technology is in a constant state of flux, where nothing ever stays the same for too long. Juxtaposed with these technological advances, the Traditional Translation Industry has made little to no progress in terms of keeping up with the times.

The fact is that Traditional Translation Agencies are outdated. They worked like a charm when your only priority was maintaining quality translations. That is not the case anymore.

The need of the hour is to completely transform the professional translation process so that it is better aligned with your escalating localization needs.

 A shift from the traditional brick and mortar agency to the online world is warranted. 

Enter: The Online Translation Service

Online Translation Services provide the solutions to all those problems. They do so by utilizing the global reach of the internet; making the most of its online format. They work by attracting, vetting and selecting linguistic experts from around the world to join their company as freelancers.

Then, these carefully selected experts are allocated to clients, both enterprise-scale and small-scale, per their unique needs. Premium Online Translation Services have their own purpose-built APIs that integrate seamlessly with a client’s CMS; automating the workflow.

Online Translation Services deliver quality equal to, if not better than, the best traditional agencies. What sets the former apart from the latter is the fact that they exist on the cloud. Although their Business Model is very similar to Traditional Agencies, their Business Infrastructure is completely unalike, which makes all the difference.

This allows Online Translation Services to bridge the gap between client needs and the traditional industry performance ceiling. 

Let’s examine how:

● Extensive Coverage: The most premium Online Translation Services boast a stable of up-to 20,000 freelancers that consist of certified expert translators, professional editors and native speakers, covering more than 75 languages. Instead of dealing with multiple Traditional Agencies, clients can rely on a single Online Translation Service for all their coverage needs.

● Quick Turnaround Time: The huge expanse of expert translators at their disposal allows them to deliver premium quality translations in a fraction of the time taken by Traditional Agencies. Simultaneously, clients can cut down time at their own end by streamlining a service provider’s API into their CMS.

● Manageable Costs: Online Translation Services have little to no overheads compared to Traditional Translation Agencies. For that reason, they have no fixed/hidden costs and a much lower rate/word. For multinationals needing large volume translations in a short time, this means saving millions of dollars.

● High Degree of Manageability/Scalability: Using the integrations provided by APIs, clients can completely automate their workflow by translating all their content in (almost) real-time. As clients post or update material, it is automatically translated and posted onto their CMS. This allows for unhindered growth as the company scales larger.

Equipped with these advantages, Online Translation Services are quickly making Traditional Agencies obsolete.

One Hour Translation is the largest of these professional service providers with over 20,000 human translators covering 75 languages. In other words, OHT is the biggest player in what is to be the future of the translation and localization industry.

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