Sometimes our translators ask us why we cannot just send them a file attached to an email, or why they cannot just send us a translation sample instead of them having to do these tasks themselves through our web interface. These pages describe why, and how we work in general.
Why We Work This Way
Submitting Translation Samples
Processing Submitted Translation Samples
Translator Application Form
Total Investment of Your Time Before Commencing Work
Why We Work This Way
It is our aim to be an efficient organisation working through a virtual office. The advantages of working this way are:
If we can offer more work to you, it means you will have to do a little more work to make this possible. It is better for us if you can charge a little more, if necessary, than for us to hire an army to process a million files and individual emails. But I find that, once translators get used to the system, they do not need to charge more, because it really does not take a lot of time at all. Most of the aversion and resistance to this system is having to learn something new. But once I convince anyone to simply go through the translation process, I find they always agree that it really is not painful or time consuming. It is simply an aversion and resistance to learning a new system. If something is painful or slow, we always improve it based on your suggestions.
- with a central virtual office, project managers can log in from different parts of the world and keep the agency operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Further details here.
- if our organisation is efficient, it means our costs are low. If our costs are low we can charge a lower markup on top of what the translators charge. With a lower markup our final price is lower, we win more tenders, and we can offer more work to you.
Below is a detailed description of each particular process, and a justification for it, if you would like to familiarise yourself with it.
From the translator's or proofreader's point of view, the only extra work may require the downloading of files, or the logging into the CS, instead of receiving them directly in their inboxes. But once you've used it at least once, I truly believe you will find it effortless and painless. It is necessary to keep things efficient and centrally organised on our end, and why we are able to charge such competitive prices for our services.
- incoming emails from a customer are received on our central server
- the head project manager (PM) forwards it to any of the other PMs for further processing
- a PM logs into their email account on the server and prepares the attached files into a project folder so that they can be downloaded from the Download Pages found through download.kenax.cz. Sometimes the head PM (me) will send the files directly to the translator, if one has already been established for a particular language combination, subject, or customer. If forwarded to a translator, the file will often also be saved to the server in a project folder, as a backup in case the translator loses it. Additionally, after the translator there can also be a proofreader, and a vettor (the person who checks the file to make sure that nothing is missing and that the formatting is correct etc.). For these reasons it is generally good to always have the file available for download from the central server.
- once in a while the emails get downloaded from the server and saved offline, or distributed for further processing (incoming translator applications, link exchange requests, etc.).
- if the project is very large or an ongoing one, it can be migrated to and be set up on our file exchange server (Communication System, or CS). With this system, translators will be able to communicate with other translators or proofreaders or project managers (specific rights are assigned) and exchange files with one another. As soon as a translator uploads a file, the proofreader, vettor and project manager are automatically sent an email informing them of this. They can then log into the project and immediately download the file. Otherwise, to force this processing through a central office, to be manually handled by a staff, can be inefficient and slow. Not to mention that most translation offices only work certain hours. If a translator completes their file by 6pm of the translation office's time zone, it may not get forwarded to the proofreader etc. until by 10am the next morning. We consider this a great inefficiency. As you know, in the translation industry, the customer always wanted the translation completed yesterday. So such unnecessary delays are a great impedance to a quality and fast service. Furthermore, with our PMs on different time zones, someone is always available to support the translator or proofreader while they are working. Many translators like to work late or scattered hours, not to mention that they could be on a totally different time zone from the head office. So depending only on such a headquarters, unless it operates 24 hours a day, can represent a great impediment to the overall process: Translation > Proofread > Vet > sent back to translator or proofreader if something is found missing > final check by vettor > file prepared for the customer by PM. Not only does our system automate the transfer of files so that they do not get bogged down in some office while a staff is on lunch or answering a hundred other emails in their inbox, the support staff located on different time zones and always available to help the translator simply makes our system far superior to anything which can be managed by a bloated and bureaucratic, in-house translation agency operating 9to5 on some time zone. Unfortunately, for this system, the translator etc. simply has to log in to the particular project, upload or download their files through that, and communicate with the other users through the system. The server is fast and these steps really are not that time consuming. To partake in this more efficient system, the users simply have to log in and cannot expect everything to be delivered for them into their inbox.
- when the CS system above is not being used, files and emails can be processed directly, although with possible limitations.
Submitting Translation Samples
This system can often generate the most complaints, and it can be more time consuming. But when you apply to a new customer, or any job, can you not expect at least some initial investment of time before establishing cooperation? Some translators say, "Listen, I'm pretty well known around these parts. My quality is fantastic and if you want to work with me, don't waste my time with your requests and just start sending me some work." But can one expect to start sending a translator work without testing them first? We do not place great faith in references or personal statements, or even impressive looking CVs, but rather in our own testing process. Translators are asked to submit a 100 word translation sample (of text WE provide), which then gets reviewed by as many as three or more different assessors. We try to limit one translation sample per translator, per language combination, per subject matter. If a translator has proven their quality in a particular subject and language combination, and we have good experience with them, we could generally believe them when they say they can handle other subjects in that same language combination. But if they would like to take work into another language, we generally like to see their quality first.
Once a translator has been rated as quality based on their translation sample, we will continue to test them once we send them a translation, but now they are getting paid for it. If some problems are found, the file might be sent back to them for further modifications, and in this way we nurture our relationship with the new translator. So for that particular language combination, to get your foot into the door and start the entire process, you cannot argue that the one hundred word translation sample is so painful that you cannot continue. After all, when you apply for a new job, you usually have to spend some time making yourself look presentable, then commute to and from the first interview, which may turn into a second and third interview. But to submit a small translation sample requires much less time.
A quality translator might be receiving regular work, but dry spells can occur, during when such a translator might decide to spend the time approaching new customers. By approaching new customers they are already spending some time. When some of these customers respond and ask that the translator fill in an online application form and submit a translation sample, it tends to defeat the purpose of the original investment of time if the translator does not want to take the few extra steps necessary to begin cooperation.
Processing Submitted Translation Samples
Unfortunately, just sending in a translation sample by email is not sufficient, because we have learned over the years that processing such samples in this way is extremely time consuming.
So once again we use an online system where:
This entire process should take you less time than the 100 word translation sample itself.
- the translator logs into their account with us
- press the Active Tenders link once logged in
- press Bid on Tenders
- choose the project or language combination to bid on (the Panasonic tender is for a general, first stage test from English into many languages - for translations into English click here instead. For a general explanation of the different projects or language combinations, click here), and press the "View and Bid" button at the bottom of the page.
- once in the Tender Project, assuming there are several language combinations being tested, first choose which language combination concerns you.
- now you are in the tender window. You should see a link which will open up the sample to translate in a separate window. You can type your translation into the field provided, or type it in Word (for spellcheck purposes), and then copy/paste it into the field. Then fill in your price or other important information and that is it. You can log into the project again to double check that your sample is there.
Once your translation sample has been submitted in this manner, it can be reviewed online by any of the assessors. All the data is eventually downloaded and copied into an Excel file, where comments can be made.
Otherwise, without this online system, each incoming email had to be processed individually, the price and other information laboriously copy/pasted from each email into an Excel file, the attached file saved into a particular folder and named according to the record number, the samples sent to the individual assessors, and their assessments laboriously copied into the Excel file. For all this and hundreds or thousands of translation samples, a small army can be employed.
For the translator to log into the account and then upload their translation sample, this extra step should take no longer than one minute. A quality one hundred word translation sample could take 10 minutes or more. Not a great price to pay to get your foot into the door of an agency and begin long term cooperation.
Translator Application Form
And there is one last "painful" form you should fill in before we commence cooperation, which is the Translator Application form, which you can access once logged into your account. But even this we have simplified such that it should take you no more than one minute. The most important field is your language combination(s), and then your price.
When we approach translators for a new project, we might look into the Active Tenders records, with the assessments of translation samples, or the Translator Application form. We generally prefer to ask for translation samples only when we are actually receiving regular work in a particular language combination and subject. But when we get approached by a new customer, or an existing customer for a new language combination for which we have not set up a translation test yet, we will approach translators based on their language combination and price (a customer often sets a price limit for particular projects, and we always try to target our approach emails so that we do not waste anyone's time). In our database we type in the source and target language, and sort the results according to price. It is therefore imperative that you at LEAST fill in all your language combinations (red marked section near the top, should be blinking) for this form, so that your record will appear in our searches. You should select the languages from the provided drop down menus, and ONLY manually type in the languages in the fields below in the event that you provide a language that is not in the drop down menu. This is because, if you do not choose it from the provided drop down menu, you may spell the language differently than we have (Byelorussian instead of Belorussian, Kroatian instead of Croatian). If you spell it differently, once again your record will not appear in our searches, because we always search according to the chosen form of spelling.
You should be able to see all your language combinations, then press Save at the bottom of the page. This process should take you about one minute. If you like, you can copy/paste information from your CV into the Education and Experience fields, and select/check which subjects you are capable of translating, or fill in any of the other information, but this is not so necessary. In some cases, once we have determined that you qualify for a particular project, we may ask that you complete this form, so that we can forward the relevant information to the customer. At this point you will have already received and be receiving work from us, so this extra step, if necessary, will be worthwhile.
Total Investment of Your Time Before Commencing Work
Therefore, if we add up all the time spent for the tasks above, which are required before commencing cooperation or to get your foot into the door, it might look something like this:
|Register in database (email
address, first and last name)
|Active Tender form (only if we
are testing in one of your language combinations, meaning we are receiving
regular work in that and looking for more translators - more details of
which language combinations here)
|Perform 100 word translation
sample (if necessary)
about 10 or more minutes
|Fill in the Translator
Application form (language combination and price only)
(depending on how many combinations you offer)
So, all in all, it should take you between 15 to 30 minutes to go through the entire process, which really isn't that much if you consider the possibility of long term and continue work. You may have already spent about one minute finding us on the internet and sending us your CV, not to mention several hours approaching many translation agencies (instead of spending hours surfing the internet looking for translation agencies, you can purchase more than one thousand email addresses to translation agencies looking for translators). When any of those agencies you approach ask for references, or to fill in some forms, it means they are interested in more translators in your language combination. You just need to address each case and invest a little more time for each of them. We find that filling in the form of some agencies can be quite time consuming and almost traumatic, which is why we designed ours as user friendly and simple as possible.
Note that our system has been designed for both Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Using other browsers may lead to problems.
Once you have done some work for us, in addition to more complete information in the Translator Application form which we might ask of you, if you can accept payment by Moneybookers, PayPal or iKobo, generally you can just send us the related email address by email, with no need to send an invoice. We can copy this information next to your name in the project you worked on with no further work required from you. If you will be receiving regular work from us, we might ask you to punch in this information into the Payment Form (link found when logged into your account with us), to keep the information centralised so that we do not have to keep referring to the previous projects you worked on.
But if you require payment by wire bank transfer, we will definitely require that you fill in the Payment Form (only necessary if you've received work from us), since the form has been designed according to the requirements of our bank, to make sure that the wire transfer is without glitches or potential problems or delays.
In the Payment Form you can select which way you would like to get paid, if this changes from time to time, or just instruct us of this by email during a project. In this way you can include all your possible methods of payment in the form.
You do not need to issue us an invoice, but when logged in, through the Accounting link you will find all the projects you have performed for us in the past, all our previous payments to you, and any outstanding balance. This is particularly useful if providing occasional small jobs for us, as managing the accounting for such small jobs and issuing invoices can easily take as much time as the entire translation.
So you see, we really have thought about the best way to save you time and make our cooperation as comfortable and effortless as possible. It will only require from you the initial and small investment of time to get your foot into the door and start the entire process.
We look forward to you becoming a valued member of our growing team!
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