It’s a fairly common belief in our industry that the percentage of reliable translators is limited. I’ve seen quite many professionals in our line of work arrive at such a conclusion after seeing too many poor translations and too few good ones. Although certainly controversial, this belief is supported by an interesting observation: often, several translation agencies share one and the same preferred translator for a given language combination who demonstrated excellent performance over time. Such “shared” translator is the best translator all these agencies could find. Sometimes, these different agencies receive one and the same request for proposal from a client (i.e. a client contacts several potential vendors at a time). And all of them then turn to their best translator who happens to be one and the same person. I would like to share one such incident from our experience, which I find particularly amusing.
Some time ago, a translation agency contacted us with an offer to provide a medical translation sample, but didn’t accept our price. Just as with any other unaccepted quote, we completely forgot about the incident. In a few weeks, however, we received a request from another agency to edit the same sample, which at that point was already translated by two different vendors and required editing before submission for evaluation by the end client. Accepting this request could create a conflict of interest: because our services for translating this sample were previously rejected by another agency, we could be potentially interested in debunking the work of the other translators who had been preferred to us. We informed the agency about this potential conflict, but they instructed us to proceed anyway.
Already extraordinary, this “shared translators” story still wasn’t at its climax. As we proceeded with editing, it became clear that the translation samples, supposedly from different translators, were actually identical with a few minor exceptions. The agency had no idea as to how this had happened.
Summing it up, this translation agency received identical translation samples from two different vendors and used an editing vendor who had also received a request to translate the same sample from another agency previously. How is that for a small world?
To make sure your English to Russian translation projects do not run into problems like these, you can work with a translation company that has your best interests at heart as we do. Contact us for a quote.