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  • Writer's pictureThomas Nelan

Top 5 Reasons not to Trust Your Japanese Translation to a Multi-Language company.

Updated: Jan 30

Have you ever thought about the risks involved in trusting your Japanese translation to one of those "we translate 100+ languages!" language factories; you know, the large companies which promise to translate from any language into any other language?

Sure, there can be many advantages in having a multi-language corporation perform your translation, but there certainly are a number disadvantages involved too. Here are the top 5 key risks in trusting your translation to the big guys:

Japanese translation company UK

1- 100+ Languages.

100+ languages? When you think about it, that's some achievement for one company! But do they really employ 100+ translators under one roof?

While they may directly employ a small number of translators to handle the most common translation pairs (English, French, German), the vast majority of people employed are office administrators who take your call and act as a go-between, between you and any number of freelance translators around the world that they outsource your translation work to. That's right, your Japanese translation may well end up being outsourced to, let's face it "persons unknown" and you may never discuss your translation needs with the translator actually doing your work.

2- Lowest Bidder.

Because large translation companies has lots of overheads (mostly administration and Google advertising fees) they need to make a decent size profit on your translation just to keep the lights on. Because of that, your Japanese translation will be put out to tender with the many freelancers on their books. In the interest of profit, your document will generally end up being translated by the lowest bidder. For larger translation projects, especially those in need of a quick turnaround time, the project will end up divided into lots, with different Japanese freelancers working on different parts. Because no two people write in the same style, your large Japanese translation may be written in a "mix" of translation styles ranging from casual to formal and possibly anything in between.

3- Professional Relationship.

From our experience, people who need one Japanese translation generally end up coming back for further Japanese translations in the future. Customers who use our service once often drop us a line seeking further translations. Because each of your translations are only ever handled by us, we are generally aware of the style of translation you are seeking and have all the correct spellings of the names and addresses used on your various family documents on file. In that way, because we have served you previously, we can provide you with a friendlier service tailored to the style of translation you prefer, with consistent right-first-time accuracy across all of the names and addresses used in your documents.

Compare that to using a large translation firm. Given the poor staff-retention rates larger companies tend to have, the person you dealt with last year is unlikely to be the same person taking your call this time. Likewise, the freelance translator who would be doing your translation this time is unlikely to be same person who did it last time, leading to inconsistency in the spellings of the names and addresses used across your documents and a higher probability of you needing to send the translation back to have the errors corrected.

4- Flexibility "on the go" Not Possible.

From time to time, we see that a client may want to add to or amend the document being translated. With us, that's no problem, we're happy to help. However, with the larger translation companies, because the person taking your call today may not be the same person who took it yesterday, you generally have the hassle of explaining yourself and your needs to a new person all over again. Worse still, because the contents of your translation has already been agreed with their freelance Japanese translator, your requested amendments could now be considered new translation work, attracting a new fee. Not only that, because of the awkward nature of the relationship between the office administrator and freelance Japanese translator, your amendments may take several days to implement.

5- Unhappy Translators.

A quick glance at the social media pages of the larger translation companies is enough to get a sense of how well the larger companies treat the freelance Japanese translators they deal with. Often, comments to their Facebook posts are unconnected with the content of the post, and instead are along the lines of "it's been 45 days and I still haven't been paid!" or even "why hasn't anyone in your Accounts Department got back to me yet?". (followed by the standard "someone from Accounts will be in contact with you shortly") reply. Because even the greatest translators don't produce great work when they're unhappy, do you really want to trust your Japanese translation with someone who uses so many of them?

Tom Nelan- B.C.L., B.B.S. (M.K.T.), (New York Qualified Lawyer).

Mitsuko Miyake Nelan- B.A. Japanese Literature: Chofu University, Tokyo.


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