In an ideal world we would all want to have a direct contact with our end-clients and they likewise would like to be directly associated with their suppliers. This shortening of the supply chain would benefit both parties as it would facilitate communications between them as well as cut down the purchasers’ costs without undermining the vendors’ prices. I could envisage a huge virtual market place where buyers and suppliers of various services could meet and negotiate their deals via the social media.
But how do you set up and administer those markets and who is going to oversee them? One option is for a governmental body to set up the centralised websites e.g.: translationmarket.com which would hold a searchable database of service providers and where purchasers of services could also post their requirements. The question arises here how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? OK, it’s not easy, but that doesn’t mean impossible. How do the existing agencies do it? The answer is – not successfully and therefore very often their services are useless. From my experience their selection processes are fundamentally flawed as they set up a lot of myths in place e.g.: you have to live in a country of origin of the language you translate into, you can only translate into your mother tongue, you have to be of a certain age etc. The expertise of many translation agencies in the languages of lesser diffusion is below average, which results in poor translations supplied to their unwary clients.
In the centralised marketplace the agencies selection process would be replaced by the criteria set up by purchasers. They could look up the credentials supplied by the selected providers and contact them directly for further evaluation by remote or face to face interviews. One way to evaluate a potential translation provider is to check up their writings in the language you’re familiar with. A translator is first and foremost a writer and if you find his/her writings in their second language satisfactory, the chances are they would be even better in their native tongue.