For a general background of how we operate, you can read our global translation company page.
By these means we are able to keep our costs at a minimum, so that we should be more competitive while also more effective than most translating agencies in the world. This gives room for you to make a profit.
For example, our research has shown that the average translation agency in the US charges between 0.2 and 0.3 USD per word (that’s an unbelievable 30 cents a WORD!). Comparing this to our rate of around 0.08 or 0.09 USD, you can see there is room for you to make some money. Even on the Chinese market, where our competition could be one of the greatest, we have the advantage over translating agencies there that we have accumulated an extensive database of translators all over the world, which most Chinese translating agencies might not have. Therefore, rather than try to translate from Chinese badly into many foreign languages (if they rely on Chinese translators who do not translate into their native language – which we only offer at the explicit request of the customer, usually to save costs), it could be cheaper and much better quality to first translate the documents into English, and from that into all the other languages.
In any case, this is something you would have to research. Find out what companies in your area are paying for a translation, what language combinations they are interested in, determine from us what we would charge for those translations, and calculate what you would need for your own markup. Whatever customer you send us and state what markup you would like for it, we would keep that price for you for all its future work. In other words, let us say you approach a customer and determine they have regular work in five language combinations and pay x per word. You ask us what we would charge for that work. You could then add to that your markup (for example 0.0025 USD/word – assuming that 0.0025 times 5 languages times the number of words they generally have translated a month would be interesting for you), and for that customer we would always charge our price plus whatever your desired markup is – FOREVER!.
Of course, you might ask yourself why you would trust us. Well, one way is to look at what our translators have said about us. They too are located in other countries, and perform the work before getting paid, as we do ourselves. And you certainly would be at least as important to us as they would be (although neither of us would make any income from this without the quality translator). Besides, we are already making the markup we are happy with and it is generally our policy to maintain as competitive a price as possible, so we will leave the marketing end up to you. If the region you live in is expensive, you see that companies in your area are paying x amount, you eventually decide that you want to advertise for us, you must decide what markup you need to make things worthwhile for you. You can even change your markup over time, or have different markups for different customers. This is totally up to you.
In any case, you can simply start slow and test us out. Once you start receiving your markup (on work we actually get paid for), then you can decide if you’d like to invest more time into this. Therefore, this job can start as part time with no commitment.
It may require simply putting on a suit and showing up personally at various customers, or making some telephone calls, or sending some emails. We have a basic inhouse graphics department (our external and more qualified staff we reserve for actual paying work), so if you need help putting together some fliers or printed material to wow your potential customers with, we can try to help you with that.
If you are a web developer, another possibility is to make webpages designed to draw traffic. Customers drawn to your website can either write directly to you and you forward us their emails, so you have an idea of the various offers, or we would create a special email address and log all the email responses for you.
Or you might also ask yourself, "Well, after going through all this trouble and having the customer in the palm my hand, why don’t I just farm out the work to my own translators and make even more money?" Well, you are certainly entitled to that, but after working in this industry for over a decade, I can guarantee you that this is not an easy task at all. First finding, and then testing translators. Where to advertise all over the world, because a Bulgarian translator working in the US, for example, will certainly charge a lot more than a Bulgarian translator working in Bulgaria. Who, furthermore, is generally better quality, because they are constantly exposed to the language, which naturally evolves over time. And what concerns our own work, not to mention all the experience required in handling large projects, file processing, translation memory tools, software localisation, paying different translators through different means. I can go on and on. The point is, we’ve got the production end down, we have the spare capacity (and continue working on expanding that), and this method of marketing cooperation seems a better strategy for us than to laboriously set up some branch office in a foreign country, for example.
For your information, the way we ourselves look for customers can be in several ways. Mostly in google rankings, a service we ourselves would like to offer once we have proven ourselves sufficiently successful at it. Another possibility is by direct advertising, such as paying for ads in newspapers or publications in different parts of the world. But both these methods are passive, and not all customers are searching the internet or perusing publications looking for a translation agency. So there will always be room to approach customers and underbid their present provider, which shouldn’t be difficult considering the competitiveness of our prices. The customer you find can start slow, offering us only a little bit of work, and then offering us increasingly more as they learn to trust us and be satisfied with the results. In any case, the world is definitely our (which includes you) oyster, and we (that’s us only) will continue to make our prices more competitive, which is made easier with a higher turnover.
So you could consider yourself like Steve Jobs of Apple Computers, and us Steve Wozniak, who actually designed the computer. Isn’t, after all, Jobs much wealthier than Wozniak? So we will leave the marketing end up to you, whether you need a fancy office to make you look more legit, etc. If you feel some of your customers need a certain look and feel, an office presence with a nice couch so they feel they can trust to whom they hand their documents, that is entirely up to you. But for technical overhead all you will need is a fax or a computer with an internet connection, so that you could send us the work and us back to you. Or you can just let us deal with the customer directly which, trust me, can be quite time consuming in and of itself.
To get an idea what commission we could be talking about, here are some of the larger projects we have accomplished in the past:
- 5 million words from 11 languages into English which needed to be completed within one month, for Dupont. This was through a translation agency based in Austin Texas. I am guessing they charged a flat markup of 3 cents or more on top of our work. 5 million words was what we accomplished, which was apparently 75% of the total project, that agency handling only 25% of it, primarily because they could not handle any more. Although they sent us more work over the years, over time they found their own translators, learned how to increase their capacity, and rarely need our services any more. If you find us a customer like THAT, I think we could be talking good business.
- So far 5 of a promised 22 languages for Monster Technologies (which own monster.com), each language at 225,000 words each. The project is to globalise their website, so after those 22 languages I’d presume there would not be much work (a lot of large companies have their own internal staff of translators to handle day to day translations but refer to agencies with larger projects or sporadic work into more exotic languages).
This just gives you an indication of what your commission could be like and the best way would be to call or ask around to see what amount of work various customers regularly hand out, and what they are paying for it.
If you find us enough work and make yourself enough regular commission, perhaps in the future you could consider setting up an office to give yourself a local presence, hire a secretary to accept documents from local customers and have her simply forward those to us. This is possible as well, but obviously something you’d only consider after seeing success and profits first. So I think this marketing position is something you could start at a very small level and on a part time basis, with a minimum commitment, to let it grow over time. If you will eventually set up a local office, just think how yours will be so much more competitive and effective, considering our virtual office, operating 24/7 (refer to link at the top) and employing staff all over the world from countries with much lower standards of living, against a bulky local office employing expensive locals, who usually wouldn’t be working over the weekend or past 5pm anyway?
So I really believe this is an ideal marriage and the way our continued expansion should be directed. You will learn over time that you can fully trust me, so if you want some sort of exclusive license in your area, or to know where we have other potential marketers so that you do not step over each others’ toes, I will be fully honest with you and believe that you will learn to trust me.
And while looking for translating customers for us, you might also try your luck at some of the services we offer and as provided by our remote human resources team. While advertising for translators over the years, it occurred to us at some point that we could also be advertising for other personnel at the same time. Human resources whose work can also be transferred over the internet, such as programmers, website designers, graphics artists, and typists (refer to link directly above for a full description of all the jobs). And obviously, such "dual" advertisements would only be placed in the same lower standard of living countries from where we draw our own staff who work in our virtual office: the Ukraine, China, India… Countries rich in qualified and highly educated people, whose costs are much lower than those same qualified and educated people living in more expensive areas. But we go even a step further, being even more competitive that programming companies located in those countries, because such companies are usually located in larger cities, where the standard of living can be much higher than in rural areas (note that Moscow is one of or the most expensive city in the world), because all our staff are external, we cooperate with people who can live in their less expensive rural environment, live and work with their family and from the comfort of their home, on their own time, and in exchange for this great convenience, charge us a much lower price than, for example, programmers who live in the expensive city of Moscow.
This is a truly global world we live in and it is my dream to free as many people as possible from the tyranny and chains of the office, the suit and tie, and the 9 to 5 job. Where everyone is crammed on the metro or jammed in traffic twice a day, stinking up and polluting the atmosphere while getting on each others nerves.
But this is a more philosophical issue. The point is that KENAX is the engine that makes this entire system possible. Coordinating employees working from the comfort of their home, perhaps somewhere in rural nature (for internet is increasingly accessible everywhere – and wait for the upcoming African revolution! We are certainly working on that too!), while you, the marketer, is dealing with the customer on the other end. The magic of internet which brings this all together, reduces costs, increases our effectiveness, and makes redundant the huge, bureaucratic office which is almost useful only for exchanging colds!
The KENAX virtual office. Be a part of our team, and the new revolution.