A guide to different types of translation service providers

translation services providers

Do you need a document translating but how do you go about it? There are many solutions. Here is a brief guide to the different types of translation service providers, which could help you choose who to entrust your business content to.

Freelance translators

Many translators choose to set themselves up in business as freelancers. These professionals try to carve out a place in the translation market on their own. In this category, you might come across three scenarios:

  • A freelance translator who will take on your project directly

This professional works alone. You can contact them directly, sending your documents and providing instructions about the translation. Note that freelance translators often also work for translation agencies.

  • A freelance translator who subcontracts to other colleagues

    Some freelance translators, overwhelmed with work, choose to subcontract to trusted colleagues in exchange for a small commission. They will act as an intermediary, usually proofreading their colleague’s work before sending you the final version.

  • A freelance project manager

    Unlike a translator subcontracting to a colleague, a freelance project manager no longer translates. They act solely as intermediaries. Their address books are long lists of professional translators who specialise in a variety of fields and work in different language combinations.

Translation agencies

A translation agency is a company that can take charge of your project from A to Z. Translation companies differ in terms of size and mode of operation:

  • Small agencies

In this category, two or three people work together to create a small translation agency. They are often former colleagues or collaborators specialising in a particular field who choose to set up their own business.

  • Translators’ networks

This concept is the basis on which BeTranslated was created: several professional translators pool their knowledge and experience to create a network based on trust and quality. This is a different way of managing a small agency. Generally, the members of this type of network still produce their own translations. They always proofread all the translations that pass through their hands.

  • Medium-sized agencies

This type of agency might have five to twenty employees, who will include not just project managers but also specialists in desktop publishing, web formats, and localisation. They work in the same office, know each other personally and meet every day. Everyone has a specific role and represents a key element of the translation process. Medium-sized agencies are usually created by professional translators who know their way around the industry and entrust projects to fully-qualified independent translators.

  • Large agencies

Here at least a hundred employees work together at several offices spread around the world. The scenario here is quite different, and the larger agencies may not even be created or managed by professional translators or people with experience in the industry. The “business” side tends to take priority over the human aspect and professional fulfillment.

  • Mega-agencies

Unlike small agencies, these huge corporations, such as SDL or Lionbridge, are real translation factories. Located in many countries, they manage hundreds of projects every day and divide tasks between their large numbers of employees. They have huge networks of translators working in every conceivable language combination and specialising in particular fields. This enables them to manage many different projects, regardless of the subject.

Translation services: it’s up to you!

From freelance translators to mega-agencies, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to translation service providers! The final decision to entrust your documents to one over another is up to you, depending on your needs and expectations. Every provider has a different approach, so think about the type of service you want when making your choice.

Have you ever used the services of one of these types of providers? Were you happy with the service? Share your experience with us! And if you’re looking for a reliable agency with experienced native translators, get in touch with BeTranslated today for a free, no-obligation quote.

The best schools and universities teaching translation in Belgium

translation schools

What training courses are there in Belgium for future translators? As you can imagine, this is not a profession that can be blagged – it requires solid foundations. In Belgium, translation schools are flourishing all over the country, training hundreds of professional translators every year.

In recent years, translation training in Belgium has become an academic subject taught in universities over five years (a bachelor’s degree in three years and a master’s in two). This is due to the Marcourt decree, which stipulates that all master’s courses in translation and interpreting should be university degrees. We have drawn up a list of the main Belgian universities teaching translation.

Translation schools in Brussels

The Institut Libre Marie Haps trains its future translators and interpreters in the heart of the European quarter. This institution’s reputation for excellence makes it a great choice for students wanting to enter the profession. The bachelor’s degree in translation and interpreting has recently been taken over by the Université Saint-Louis, though teaching still takes place at the Marie Haps building. The master’s, meanwhile, is offered at the Louvain-la-Neuve site at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).

ISTI, part of the ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles) since 2015, offers a complete translation and interpreting curriculum in no fewer than 19 languages. As well as European languages, students can choose more exotic tongues such as Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian.

  • Vertaalkunde – Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EhB)

This Flemish university, affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), also offers a course for Dutch-speaking students wanting to specialise in translation.

Translation schools in Flanders

Students can also opt for this prestigious university. The reputation of the University of Ghent is well-established, and it is considered the best university in Belgium by the Shanghai Ranking.

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is another pillar of the Belgian university system. This Dutch-speaking Belgian university is one of the biggest in the country.

Translation schools in Wallonia

The Université de Liège offers a course awarded jointly with the Haute École de Liège. During the bachelor’s course in the first three years, students take classes at both institutions (ULg and HEL), before focusing on either translation or interpreting during their master’s at ULg in the Place du XX Août.

The Mons EII enjoys an excellent reputation in the worlds of translation and interpreting. Students graduating from this school have a solid qualification with which to launch into their working lives. An unusual feature of this university is that students are offered an introduction to a third foreign language, including Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hungarian, Swedish, or Norwegian.

The Université catholique de Louvain should not be confused with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The two institutions are entirely separate. Unlike KUL (listed above), UCL is in Wallonia and offers teaching in French. UCL has organised two new master’s courses in translation and interpreting since 2015. The bachelor’s takes place in Brussels at the Marie Haps building (ULB). Starting with the 2017-2018 course, the master’s will also cover Belgian French sign language.

As you can see, would-be translators and interpreters have no shortage of choice. Belgium has evolved in parallel with the translation market, encouraging more and more young language enthusiasts to pursue this career. Every year, many professional translators graduate from these universities and set off in conquest of the translation market in Belgium and abroad.

What do you think of these universities? Do you know of any others that should be added to our list? We are interested in your opinion! You can also take a look at our full list of university translation courses worldwide.

If you’re looking for talented translators such as those who have attended these institutions, look no further than BeTranslated, an experienced translation agency with reliable linguists. Get in touch today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.

The tremendous value of having a multilingual website

multilingual website

In our increasingly globalised world, and thanks largely to the internet, expanding into international markets is a reality for many businesses. Most companies are well aware of the importance of having an active online presence, but this digital content is of no use to potential international customers if they can’t understand it. Hence the importance of a multilingual website.

Having your website translated by a professional translation service will make your products or services accessible to new clients, and allow them to feel connected to your brand. But why are multilingual websites so important and what factors need to be considered when translating them? Let’s take a look.

Translate your website for strong customer relations

Studies show that 55% of customers prefer to shop in their own language, and who can blame them? Navigating the web through your native language is not only a much more relaxing user experience that eliminates the chances of misunderstandings, but it also makes you feel like the company is speaking to you, that their products or services are for you.

These days many web browsers offer instant machine translation of websites and, while this function can be useful in a pinch, the quality is extremely low which leaves users feeling frustrated and confused. Customers can’t be blamed for questioning why they should give money to a company that has made no effort to make their digital content accessible. Is this the impression you want your business to give? Hiring a professional translation service to translate your website will open your business up to a whole new world of potential clients.

Your multilingual website should be easy to find

As well as helping you create strong relationships with prospective clients, translating your website into relevant languages actually increases your search engine rankings, making it easier for your company to be found online. This is because having your content available in multiple languages means it appears in key words searches in those languages, not only English, giving your business better exposure.

While we’re on the topic of SEO and search engines, it’s worth acknowledging that around the world different search engines are used. In Russia people use Yandex, in China it’s all about Baidu, and in South Korea, Naver far outperforms both Google and Yahoo. It pays to research how people use the internet in the country your business wants to expand into to give your website the best chance of being found by potential customers.

Make switching between languages easy 

It’s all well and good making your website available in multiple languages, but if people can’t find the language switcher, they will be stuck viewing the site in English regardless! It should be an intuitive process so that users don’t have to waste time and get bored. Most websites opt to place the language switcher at the top right-hand side of the page, so this is usually the best option.

Once you’ve settled on the position of the language switcher, you have to decide if you’re going to use flags or words to indicate the languages (or both, though this can look overcrowded). Flags have the advantage of being visually appealing and simple, but can be rather exclusive; think about all the countries that speak Spanish, for example, they won’t feel represented by a Spanish flag. If you decide to use words, we recommend having the language written in the relevant languages e.g. the button should read ‘Deutsch’ instead of ‘German’ to make it easier for users to find.

Localisation can be just as important as translation

Translating the verbal content of your website is only part of what goes into creating a successful multilingual website; you should work with a translation agency that can also localise your site. Localisation is the process of altering content, whether that’s a website, a video, or a brand’s advertising campaign, to make sure it is received in the appropriate manner by the target audience, taking culture into account. When it comes to localising websites, things to consider include images, date and address formats, and brand slogans, to name a few.

How to help the translation process go smoothly

Allowing your translator access to links to the original website they are translating will make life much easier and ultimately result in better translations. Translation does not exist in a vacuum and knowing if the text they are working on is an image caption, a CTA (call to action), or button will inform how a translator renders it. Similarly, communicate with your translation agency about what the best format for the source and target texts to be in is. This will help both your translator and webmaster, who is likely not to understand the target text.

Now that we’ve convinced you of the importance of having a multilingual website, perhaps you’d like more information about BeTraslated’s talented website translators? For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.

Belgium: a small country with a large translation market

Belgian translation market

Belgium, for a small country of nearly 11 million inhabitants, sure carries a lot of intrigue! Despite its small size, the country has three official languages – Dutch, French, and German. This leads to a booming Belgian translation market. And that’s only part of the story; the country is divided into three regions and three “communities”, with some overlap between them. The regions are Flanders (Dutch-speaking), Wallonia (French-speaking), and Brussels-capital (Bilingual).

In Belgium, decision-making powers do not lie exclusively with the federal government or parliament. Instead, there are multiple governing bodies which exercise autonomous power. Quite puzzling, isn’t it? But this linguistic diversity is exactly what makes Belgium a fertile ground for developing a translation market.

Translators: communication experts in multiple languages

It may be surprising to learn that people living in the same country do not have a single common language to communicate in. But this is the reality in Belgium. Furthermore, not all Belgians are bilingual, let alone trilingual. This is where translators and interpreters come in. It is they who facilitate communication within this small country challenged by huge linguistic divisions that have grown wider over time.

Brussels: capital of the European Union

Beyond the country’s diverse linguistic landscape, there is yet another springboard for translators and interpreters in Belgium. As you probably already know, Brussels is the political capital of the 28. This means it is home to most of the European Union institutions, including the European Commission and Parliament, and the Council of Ministers.

On a daily basis, these institutions attract a multitude of foreigners who flock to the capital to attend various types of events. Our linguistic experts serve as ambassadors for them, facilitating multilingual communication. They are at the heart of the plethora of international exchanges taking place in Brussels.

Brussels: the headquarters for numerous international organisations

In addition to the above-mentioned European institutions, many international organisations also have headquarters in the capital. These include offices of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and WCO (World Customs Organisation), for example. Other organisations have at least major offices in Brussels, such as the UN, UNESCO, WHO (World Health Organisation), and the ILO (International Labour Organisation).

Due to their international character, these organisations bring together people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This makes Brussels a veritable hub for multilingual communication and, consequently, for translation and interpretation.

Belgium: a strategic place

All these factors encourage translators and interpreters from around the world to join this flourishing market in the land of beer and chocolate. Many see it as a good opportunity for the future. They are trying to find a place where competitiveness is ripe in the translation market. Translators and interpreters … you know what your next stop should be!

After reading all about Belgium you probably aren’t surprised to know that BeTranslated has deep connections with the country and that we have many skilled translators specialised in all three of the official languages, as well as many others. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.


5 good reasons to hire a small translation agency

small translation agency
Are you planning to hire a translation agency? To get the results you want, you need to ask yourself the right questions. The market for translation is huge and the competition is stiff. As a customer, it is up to you to entrust your work and product to the most qualified experts. Let’s go through some of the reasons why it is best to hire a small translation agency.

Optimal responsiveness

Does hiring a small team really equate to better customer experience and improved responsiveness? Yes! Communication within a small company is much simpler than in a larger one, which makes it possible to offer customers a fast and efficient service that is better coordinated.

By hiring a small translation agency, you can avoid the slower pace and indifference of bigger companies. A small company can combine quality and speed much more easily. Do you need something urgently translated from English to French? All the better to hire a small translation agency! A small company can respond to your request faster and you can rely on them to always deliver your translated documents on time.

Personal customer service

When using a small translation company, you will be assigned a single contact person, who is responsive and always available. This person will facilitate all the communications between yourself, the translators, and the proofreaders. If there are any questions, concerns, comments, or areas of the work to discuss, you know exactly who to contact and how to contact them. Your individual customer care person will respond to all your requests and needs throughout the project.

When you hire a small translation agency, your project is managed by a single intermediary, the project manager. Their mission is to ensure a smooth process for you, starting with your initial request up through to the delivery of your completed translated documents. The result of having one person take care of your project from beginning to end also eliminates the chance of miscommunication or the space for anything to get misconstrued. There’s a good reason for the saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’.

Custom-tailored translation services

A small translation agency will connect you to its vast network of professional translators, who are selected according to strict and rigorous criteria. This is where the single project manager shines, responsible for monitoring your project from A-Z and ensuring a smooth process all around. The project manager will identify the most suitable and experienced translator for you and has the responsibility of ensuring that your collaboration with the company goes smoothly for the entirety of the project.

The perfect translator-client match

Though small translation agencies may have a smaller pool of translators they work with, this means the project managers are extremely knowledgable about the translators’ skills and specialties. Thanks to this, they will be able to find the right translator for your project, one who is an expert not only in your language combination but also in the field relevant to the project.

Let us summarise

Do you need translation services? Do you want a simple, fast, and efficient process? Are you tired of dealing with large companies that lack the personal touch and connection with your brand?  Working with a small translation agency that can offer an intimate service and personalised customer care is without a doubt the ideal option for you. This is what you need to be focused on when looking to implement your next translation services contract.

Contact BeTranslated, a boutique translation agency with a strong network of experienced native translators located around the world, for more information or a free, no-obligation quote today.