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Will We Ever Work for a Russian Translation Agency?

We are continually receiving requests from peer Russian translation agencies to subcontract work to us. While such indirect peer recognition is flattering, it usually doesn’t result in any relationship. The roadblock is our rates being the same or higher than the rates of an inquiring agency. Subcontracting work at such rates rarely makes business sense unless an agency wins a very huge translation project and, being unable to handle it all by itself, needs to outsource a portion to a trusted partner. The agency chooses to do so just for the sake of being able to take up the whole project, even if doing so brings no profit. Otherwise, it might lose the project altogether or fail to complete it on schedule.

Because such requests are a form of peer recognition, in the past, we would get so excited about them that we would rush into the relationship, without even thinking about the rates. Later, we would discover that the rates an agency expected us to work for were actually prohibitive. You can read about this kind of frustrating experience in an older post. Now, however, we are overriding the initial excitement with the understanding that this request is unlikely to result in any business. So, the first thing we now do is communicating our rates, which immediately acts as a brake on a potential relationship.

It seems that the common assumption is that provincial translation companies like ours have generally lower rates than Moscow-based agencies. Indeed, there is a common sense rationale behind this assumption, because operating an agency in Moscow might be more expensive due to higher cost of living and doing business. But the geographical location has never been a consideration in setting our rates. It is my opinion that most translation vendors are in fact competing with all other vendors on a global market enabled by Internet. This increasingly virtual market doesn’t really care where you are located physically. It is your competitive edge that determines your rates.

Personally, I think working with Russian translation agencies is an extremely remote possibility for us. Just as with most other Eastern European agencies, a major piece of their business comes from agencies in the U.S. and Western Europe, simply because this is where most clients are. As a subcontractor to another agency, a Russian agency is expected to charge less than it would charge to the same client if it worked with this client directly. This is perfectly normal, but my point is simply that many Eastern European agencies, including Russian, are likely to be turned away by our rates since their rates are relatively low in the first place.

Finally, here is the link to our current rates. I strongly encourage you to save time and energy by checking these rates before contacting us with a subcontracting offer. By the way, in January 2012, we slightly increased the rates, mainly because of adjustment for inflation, as well as our continued efforts to improve the quality of our work and be in the top 5% of English to Russian translation providers.

Looking for a Russian translation company that will have your best interests at heart? Then contact us for a quote!

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.