The current state of the Russian translation market: the problem of translation quality

It would seem that at the current stage of the development of the global economy and social sphere, as well as the political and economic interaction of countries, the quality of translation services should increase more and more, because logic dictates that the more serious and responsible the task, the more perfect means it should be carried out. In fact, it turns out that the broad possibilities of organizing a private business in our country determine the widespread appearance of translation firms, bureaus, and agencies. In such conditions, there is no guarantee of high quality translation work. As they say, if you don’t try, you won’t know.

It seems that there is nothing easier than contacting a translation agency with a good reputation. But it’s not that easy. Customers (whether they are individuals, whose need for translation services is often one-time, or large companies) are often lost among the abundance of translation agencies, since 1) most translation agencies make good advertising for themselves, by which it is not possible to determine exactly whether it is really worth cooperate with this company, 2) the costs of translating in proven and well-proven bureaus are generally much higher than when contacting small or recently established firms.

Some not entirely conscientious heads of translation agencies, in order to increase their own profits, reduce the cost of services for customers in order to attract the attention of a larger number of clients, and sometimes they lower the normal rate of a translator and, with such conditions, turn to young specialists or simply to inexperienced translators. Of course, with this approach, the quality assurance is very fragile. If a translator knows the value of his skills and skills, if he is experienced enough, he will not settle for low rates. But the trend of providing low-cost services is spreading more and more. And quite often texts of technical or, say, medical topics, the translation of which simply cannot be cheap by definition, end up in just such companies.

Many reputable translation companies already have a negative experience of seeking help from other translation agencies. Basically, this happens in the largest cities of our country. Let’s say that the project is too big for the given time frame. Translators with good work experience and specialization, which this text belongs to, does not have enough time for a high-quality translation. And then the company sends a request to foreign agencies with the aim of seemingly optimizing the process. Or, company leaders can do this to save costs. But in fact, it happens that the quality of the translation of outside employees turns out to be worse than the translation performed under the conditions of urgency by verified translators. It would seem that employees of other companies do not understand the importance and responsibility of the task? Most likely, it is just a lack of understanding of a high-quality translation product.

It is one thing if the management of a translation agency consists of active translators who are firsthand familiar with the specifics of work, who have a certain specialization, who know and are able to apply in practice the normative recommendations taught in higher educational institutions. The ability to flexibly apply such recommendations, depending on the specific task or project, as well as on the special requirements of the customer, is a special skill not only in the translation process, but also in the management of a translation company. The level of service of the company is determined by the little things. A reverent attitude towards clients is characterized, for example, by whether guests of the office of the bureau are treated to tea and sweets.

However, in recent years a negative trend has emerged in Russia that is destructive for the translation market. It consists in the fact that translation bureaus are springing up like mushrooms after rain. Could it be said that the reason is the growing number of experienced translators capable of delivering excellent translations on many highly specialized topics? Hardly … The situation is just quite deplorable. The fact is that many people decide to open a translation services company without even having any linguistic or translation education. What is there! It also happens that it was not even possible to learn a foreign language. And how, in such a situation, is it possible to select translators, check test assignments, and assign employees to carry out a particular project?

What should agencies with many years of experience in translation work do in the current situation? It should be noted that it is very important to have your own strategic project, because without it, at some stage of work, the subject status of the company decreases, and pressure from competitors can suppress the company’s potential, even despite its good reputation earned by years of diligent work.

Good translation agencies carefully select translators, both full-time and contractual. Usually, they take into account the candidacies of certified translators who have experience in translation activities for at least three years, improving in a specific narrow topic. A huge advantage when choosing translators for the company’s base is the applicant’s second education (technical, legal, medical, etc.), combined with his main specialization.

In addition, each self-respecting bureau has a number of editors and proofreaders who are involved in the verification of written translations, thus guaranteeing a decent quality of service.

In general, it is important to note that finding really good translators is not easy. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort to test candidates in several stages. But the excellent result of the implementation of large projects every time proves that painstaking searches are not in vain! Whatever one may say, in any business you need not only enthusiasm. Professionalism is above all!

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