Professional translators sometimes find themselves in a position whereby they want to or need to outsource work to other translators. Below are some tips on how to do this; however, ITI members should also refer to the Code of Professional Conduct.

Outsourcing work

There are two aspects to outsourcing and project managing translation work: your responsibilities to your client and responsibilities to your supplier.

Before accepting or confirming any work, you must settle the following points with both the client and the translator:

  • Service requested
  • Subject area
  • Language pairs
  • Volume of work
  • Requested delivery time
  • Technical requirements and translation tool required
  • Price (allowing your own profit margin)
  • Any other project specifications

Very importantly, start by checking the contract you have with your client to make sure you are allowed to subcontract their projects.

It is also up to you to verify the credentials of the translator(s) to whom you are outsourcing. Personal recommendations are always very useful here, as are the members’ directories of professional translation associations in the country of your target language.

If you are outsourcing part of a project you are also working on, you will need to make sure the translation you receive matches the quality you yourself would produce and that the style is the same as yours. The least you should do is to check the final product thoroughly before delivery, and ideally you should carry out a full linguistic revision on the work you outsource.

You must store all materials and correspondence related to your projects in a well-organised archive so that they can be easily accessed later, and you must agree in advance whether you and your linguist(s) will include a further editing round on your deliverables, potentially resulting from any client feedback.

Needless to say, you should agree payment terms with your supplier in advance and you must be prepared to pay their invoice as agreed, regardless of when or whether your client pays you.

Project managing a translation

As a project manager, you are responsible for setting up the translation project in a way that provides the translator(s) with the best possible conditions for doing a good job. This includes:

  • getting adequate reference material from the client
  • preparing the material and instructions for the translator
  • ensuring the smooth execution of the project
  • handling any issues that might arise during or after the project
  • analysing the source text to identify and anticipate possible translation problems
  • seeking clarification on such issues as early on in the project as possible
  • ensuring that any requests for additional information from the translator are sent to the client
  • passing on the client’s answers to all the translators/revisers involved in your project
  • keeping the client informed of any issues that could compromise the project, such as delays in delivery or problems with file formats
  • after the project has been completed by the translator(s) and reviser(s), carrying out final checks as to the completeness and file format integrity of your deliverables
  • delivering the project to the client in the requested format
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