About this blog

Translator's Shack is a collection of links, news, reviews and opinions about translation technologies. It's edited and updated by Roberto Savelli, an English to Italian translator, project manager and company owner of Albatros Soluzioni Linguistiche, a team of English-Italian translators, which hosts and supports this blog.

The Life as a PM category, managed by Gabriella Ascari, contains topics that are less technical in nature, but which we're sure will be appreciated by owners of small translation businesses and freelancers.

Here are links to my pages on some social networks:

Highly recommended:

memoQfest 2010 – How to be successful in the translation industry

Isabella Moore from Comtec gave a very interesting presentation this morning here at memoQfest in Budapest. I am posting the four final points that summarize the issues she discussed.

Communicate results to staff: this will improve the relationship between the company members at all levels (from management to employees) because it gives everyone a good feedback about the overall performance. Interestingly, this aspect is perceived as being very important by employees.

You can’t do everything yourself: learn to delegate and start doing it now.

Join networks, but be  selective: some of them can be a waste of time and resources (this includes online networks, in my opinion)

Consider selling to the public sector: A considerable chunk of Comtek’s turnover comes from the public sector. Of course, approaching this sector requires specific strategies that are different from those that apply to the private sector.

Always check the background of potential new clients (or scammers)

It does not happen very often, but our team receives messages of this type every now and then:

We are XXX. Now we have a large translation project from English to Italian. We want to find the translator for this project.

When you have interest, could you tranlate a little text from English in Italian for the test? Looking forward to cooperate with you.

This topic is regularly discussed on various blogs and forums, see for instance:
Should we haggle like Levantines?
Taking free translation tests

We do not have a standard policy about accepting or refusing requests for translation tests (paid or free). Instead, we try to check the background of the company that sends the request. In this case, a quick trip to the ProZ Blue Board (lately one of the few areas of ProZ that we find useful enough to justify the subscription fee), showed the following in this company’s profile:

This outsourcer has been banned from posting jobs at ProZ.com
Well, this should be enough to make a simple decision. I think this is the result of the company having violated ProZ’s policies and is a strong indication of poor reputation.

“Likelihood of working again” is very low
This score summarizes the feedback given by the translator about the company. In this particular case, the company has a long track record starting in 2005. Until March 2007, the feedback given by translators was very high (almost invariably 5 out of 5), but from that date on it deteriorated dramatically, and there is nothing but negative feedback (20 or so comments showing 1 out of 5 points).

The feedback numeric score is available to non-paying users of ProZ. If you are a paying user, you get to see the long list of textual feedback. In this case it reports this outsourcer’s habit of paying invoices with incredible delays.