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We have the freelance translator in our hearts

This blog post is by way of a trail for the presentation I will be giving at the ATC’s 2016 Language Industry Summit in September.

The translation industry has made some great progress since I got my first job as a freelance translator in the early 90s. In essence, we have shifted from purely offering the capacity to access translation professionals and assure quality and time to also deal with technology workflows, integration, leverage and any possible USP that makes our companies more competitive in a crowded market.

This approach has surely meant some great developments, but it has also made us loose a bit of touch with the most important component of our market: the translator.

I was reaffirmed in my reflections at a recent industry event where freelancers, customers and LSPs had a chance to share some views. If there were 2 clear points of consensus it was that Quality was the most important value for the customers and that freelance linguists felt they were not part of the wider process and rather an isolated resource.

This is not just an emotional issue but rather a serious concern for the industry. We have been building a great deal of client focused technology models to support the ever more demanding translation requirements, but sometimes forgot that it is still an industry founded on the work of our linguists and any improvements will have to be driven from our foundation of translation professionals.

Fortunately, I have been seeing lately a number of signs that lend me to believe we are in the right track to improve this. Customers requesting direct interaction with the translators to drive quality, controlled crowd sourcing models where linguists are capable of engaging earlier in the workflow and accessible technology that brings the benefits right to the translation process.

Translation companies and larger LSPs have a key role to play in identifying what are the best models to work closer with our linguists and drive the innovation process towards reducing the gap between our clients and our translation partners.

We recognised this some time back and started building an Ecosystem that brings the translator to the centre of our delivery model, creating a sense of community between the customer, the freelance linguist and the LSP with three key pillars:

·       open communication translation management system that allows for interaction between translators, language leads and client review teams

·       community models facilitated by technology environments that allow for steering language programmes and quality models in conjunction with our internal teams and the customer

·       Linguist management environment that allows for tracking areas such as linguists specialisms, level of participation in projects, proof reader and customer feedbacks and overall project performance at a granular level.

We are excited about the result of this initiative, but still feel as we have plenty of work ahead of us to ensure that the translator is continuously placed at the heart of our business.

Antonio Tejada, Language Solutions Director, CAPITA will be speaking on the second day of the 2016 Language Industry Summit taking place in London 22/23 September.  Early bird booking for the conference ends 31st August.

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