Are Agencies Superfluous in Translation?

The role of agencies in the translation business is much debated. Many translators consider the agencies superfluous and want to win direct clients. There are several reasons for that. Working directly with customers often leads to better remuneration, makes them feel more important, and brings a heightened sense of satisfaction. Does that mean agencies, including our own, making the life of translators more difficult?

Being an agency, our perspective will certainly be biased. But we have at least two reasons to think agencies are good for your translation business.

Agencies Are a Fact of Life in Many Fields

Writers, athletes, actors, and musicians have agencies. Even the highest-grossing stars in Hollywood rely on agencies for work. It is considered normal in those fields to pay someone to sell or market your services. Yet, translators feel wronged when represented by someone – and there is a good reason for it.

Most of us cannot name the agencies famous Hollywood stars, athletes, or writers work with. Those agencies work behind the scenes. Things are upside-down in the translation world where the agencies are the face and the translator is hidden. If you can overlook this little difference, you will see that agencies still perform the crucial work of promoting translators and their work.

Businesses Do Not Want To Deal With Translators

It sounds harsh, but it is true. There are two main reasons businesses avoid dealing directly with translators.

Most translators are introverts. There is not much of an overlap between salespeople and the professionals qualified to render texts from one language into another. Businesses do not like that. Agencies can complement translators’ expertise in their subject with their own people skills to create a sustainable income stream.

Most companies’ translation needs are complex. They do not merely need a text rendered into several languages, but a complete package which often involves IT and other skills that most translators do not possess. Agencies through their contacts are often in a suitable position to deliver complex projects.

We hope that, if you are a translator, this post will dispel some of your complaints about agencies. We are a platform to help translators build a better world together.

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