This February, two of our staff attended the Elia together conference in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Our STB jet-setters were Hannah Stacey, Head of Translation Operations, and Nicola Porter, Senior Translation Project Manager. Surrey Translation Bureau is a member of Elia, the European Language Industry Association. Elia is an organisation which encourages relationships between businesses and promotes ethics and quality standards in the translation industry. Hannah and Nicola had been looking forward to the Elia together event for some time because the conference focused on positive freelancer-agency relationships. At STB, we place great importance on building good working relationships with our freelancer translators as well as our clients. These relationships help us to continue delivering consistently good translations.
The conference programme lived up to our high expectations. It was divided into three sections: relationships, growth and technology, within the conference’s theme ‘Developing our Connections’. We predominantly attended the ‘relationships’ talks and were eager to see what our peers had to tell us. The over-arching theme was that translation agencies and freelancers are stronger when working together – we couldn’t agree more! We learned a few freelancer bugbears, which confirmed that we’re doing a lot right. Namely, we listen to our translators’ and clients’ needs.
Over the course of the talks, we heard the role of the project manager at a translation agency being described as a sponge – ready to soak up any potential stress from both the client and the translator to ensure the translation project goes smoothly. That’s certainly true and our project managers will definitely appreciate the acknowledgement! Since all our project managers at Surrey Translation Bureau have a highly-qualified linguistic background, we are able to see both sides of the freelancer-translation agency coin. We’re always looking for how we can improve upon what we offer our freelancers and our clients with our strong production team.
Robert Sette’s talk entitled ‘Keys to effective relationships between agencies and freelance translators’ was of real interest to us. Robert reminded us about the importance of taking cultural differences into account which can affect a working relationship. These include the pace of work expected in different countries or simply working hours and differing time zones.
We also thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Morris and Lloyd Bingham discuss not airing your dirty laundry on social media with their talk ‘Mind the gap: overcoming strife in the translation industry’, which covered upholding professionalism in the industry and promoting a positive industry image. As a Corporate Member of the ITI (Institute of Translation & Interpreting), we, like our freelancers, adhere to their code of professional conduct, which not only covers honesty and integrity, but also client confidentiality and trust – vital elements of our agreements with our clients.
Lastly, Karen Tkacyk told us what high-end successful freelancers want to see from their agency clients. We were pleased to hear that we are already practising a lot of Karen’s advice. However, we made a few notes on things we can improve or consider further.
One important point Karen made is to make sure that everyone in the translation chain – the client, the translation agency and the translator – knows what the purpose of the translation is. Without this clarification the translator cannot possibly deliver the right product for the client; Is the translation for publication in a magazine and hundreds of people will see the brand’s advertising campaign? Perhaps the document only needs translating to meet legal requirements and will only sit in a filing cabinet? Will the translation be used for a court case and the words chosen could affect the outcome? This information is essential to do a good job and deliver a translation that’s appropriate for the client. We will endeavour to convey the importance of this to our clients and pass this information onto our translators.
The conference also allowed us to do some networking with like-minded freelance translators and agencies and it was great to have the chance to talk to so many people who are on the same page! We hope that some of the new contacts we made will become long-lasting partners, whether in the role of a client or a freelance translator. We’re certainly looking forward to it!
Would you like to know more about our affiliation with Elia or the ITI? Please feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!