We live in an increasingly globalized world where businesses are seeking to expand to foreign markets, with the need to tailor-make their marketing messages to the local scenario, amongst a plethora of other considerations.
The implications of this development for translation companies means that there is an increased need for translation and localization.
According to research, “most companies choose to outsource translating to agencies rather than doing it in-house, as they recognize that such companies are efficient, affordable, and experienced.”
But the translation industry, too, has significantly developed over the past decades.
With B2B translation, which entails translation for translation companies, many end clients outsource their work to a translation agency, which in turn, passes the work on to other, more narrowly specialized translation companies.
In short, an end client (EC) passes work on to Translation Agency 1 (TA1), who then outsources this work to Translation Agency 2 (TA2).
Here’s a brief graphical representation of this: EC -> TA1 -> TA2.
The professional relationship between TA1 and TA2 needs to be very solid in order for the EC to be satisfied with the results.
That’s why TA1 and TA2 need to be good translation partners.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the mechanics behind B2B in the translation industry.
Keep reading for more below.
1. See through your clients’ eyes
A translation company working in the B2B space needs to see through the eyes of its clients, which are translation companies selling to other translation companies.
A client is initially attracted to a translation company based on such translation company’s skills, experience, and expertise.
This is a niche service and requires the cherishing of the relationship as well as a strong element of trust.
The end client has multiple translation needs – from webpage translation, to social media, PPC, email, and blog post marketing materials to more complex technical and business materials – and these needs should be met by the outsourced translation company.
This not only involves the fostering of quality relationships based on trust, it’s also about quality of feedback, as well.
TA2, on the other hand, has to perfectly grasp what the needs of TA1 are and to offer solutions to them, not to the end clients’ needs.
Example: EC needs Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese translation of a website. TA1 can easily go and find freelancers for each of these languages, then manage the process itself and end up managing four projects at the same time.
This takes time, might be cheaper, but instead of working with his EC to enhance their relationship, TA1 is lost in managing the projects.
Solution: Going for a company that offers all 4 languages in its portfolio will make things much easier. Instead of following 4 different projects, TA1 ends up asking only 1 contact for all of these.
2. Avoid seeking to attract companies that are clients of your clients
As a TA2, which is the final player in this chain of events, it is tempting to try to attract your client’s clients directly.
After all, it is a lucrative opportunity that can ensure you get solid business from the end client.
However, such a move can damage TA2’s relationship with TA1, which should be based on mutual trust and respect.
Another factor to keep in mind is TA1’s structure.
Translation companies which attract end clients have different strategies, staff, offices, marketing strategies, customer support, and many other factors that essentially make them more suitable for dealing with end clients.
TA2, on the other hand, does not have such infrastructure available, and seeking to attract an end client from TA1 could lead to ineffective instructions, poor customer support, and a disconnection between the end client and TA2.
Ultimately, TA2 could end up being underprepared to serve the end customers because of their needs and expectations.
This is why such a strategy should be avoided.
In addition, the element of trust and nourishing of relationships between translation partners such as TA1 and TA2, which was discussed above, could be fostered to create even more work and business opportunities, ultimately benefiting both parties.
3. Work with your clients’ project management systems and project managers
The translation industry relies on effective project management systems – from accepting the initial instructions, to follow-up questions and queries – which create a series of events that need to be managed by project managers working in TA1.
There are two ways of addressing this matter
Direction 1: If TA2 invests in training according to their translation partners’ project management systems, this means that it will be possible to sell more translations, thereby getting more work, and ultimately, more revenue. The same goes for CAT tools and other software that is used in the translation industry. While TA1 can afford to adopt only one system or a CAT tool and train all its employees to work with it, TA2 needs a wide variety of these in order to have a chance at working with many partners from the range of TA1.
Direction 2: In terms of TA1’s project management teams, one of the factors is getting clear instructions from the client. The better the project management team of TA1 is trained, the easier for TA2 to get the work done.
If these are obtained and passed on through to TA2 with the proper details for each project, language, topic and etc., this will result in more efficient work for both sides.
Project management usually also entails working as a team.
Finally, if you work on improving both your clients’ and project managers’ knowledge and on your own employees’ knowledge, it will pay you back.
Remember, their clients are your clients and fostering strong relationships between TA1 and TA2, will lead to better work flow and better results for all parties involved.
The question “how hard is it to do translations for translation companies?” has several answers.
Yes, it is a difficult endeavour, but it is not impossible.
At 1StopAsia, we have been learning the ways and intricacies of B2B in the translation industry over the past 20 years, and we’ve learned many lessons along the way, some of which we’ve shared with you here.
While there is still more to be found out in the future, by focusing on the above elements as a translation company translating for other translation companies, you’ll foster strong, mutually beneficial relationships that will ultimately payback in the future.