The single supplier vs. multiple supplier decision
When you have a large language project, there are two clear options. Choosing a single supplier who can handle everything, and choosing multiple specialist suppliers.
And when a project is large and expensive, cutting costs is often kept in mind.
Many businesses shy away from partnering up with a full-service language services agency, for the fear that it will be an expensive solution. Of course, it's possible to find a person who can do the translation, another person who can proofread it, and a voiceover agency, so why wouldn't you do that and save budget?
Here are three important points to consider, based on our experience over the last few years managing full-service language projects. We hope they will help you consider your choices and get the most out of your project.
1. Continuity drives consistency
Working with multiple suppliers means hiring people with different backgrounds and ways of doing things. From translation and proofreading, to formatting, your approach might end up looking fragmented.
It's important for each element of your language project to align closely with the previous stage and stay consistent. For example, if the translator was briefed to keep the tone light, and then the voiceover was carried out in a corporate way, the whole project would look disjointed on completion. Sometimes potential clients who go with various suppliers come back to us, asking to restart the project from scratch - meaning they end up paying twice.
Building a long-term relationship with an agency will improve the on-going work in the long run. One area we add
value to projects across different disciplines is our internal translation technology. This helps our clients maintain consistency across content, terminology and phrasing, no matter what medium they use to communicate.
Continuity is a big part of the process. Whether you're using one agency or multiple agencies, make sure you invest plenty of time to manage the communications. Every time an agency and client work together, they both learn and the relationship is improved. Which ultimately leads to our next point.
2. Save time and cut the costs
We've all been there. Sat at a computer
r, scrolling through hundreds of possible suppliers,
all saying the same sorts of things. It can be difficult to choose the best supplier and it's a time-consuming process. Crucially, looking for suppliers takes you away from your daily activities.
Agencies that can handle everything can be a great solution if you choose carefully. You'll save yourself the trouble of investigating new agencies every time you need a new language service project completed, and you reduce the risk of choosing a poor-quality supplier due to lack of time.
With the speed of innovation and change, time to market is a crucial aspect of the business. By having a single supplier, you can capitalize on business opportunities and get your ROI faster. But if you do decide and go for multiple suppliers, make sure you budget enough time.
3. Lower the risk
Mistakes happen, and you need a safe pair of the hands-on board.
If your company needs a variety of services (eg. transcription, translation & voiceover), an agency can prepare a package to accommodate your needs. You'll have a project manager assigned to you and you won’t have to worry about chasing different suppliers and coordinating their work.
This is a big area of focus for us as a business. All our project managers are qualified through the Association of Project Managers and have at least 3 years of specialized industry experience. They look after your project from start to end, and they collaborate with each specialist business unit.
One example of this is when we recently completed work with a reputable toy manufacturer who needed a promotion video translated from French to English. The project involved:
- Transcription of the original video
- Translation of the transcript
- Proofing and review with some editing of text
- Recording of a voiceover
- Time coding and editing
Here we had five services running in tandem, and at each stage, the project manager was in control. For example, they could go and talk to the studio manager on the next floor, and discuss the recording. When working with an agency, the shift from step one to another is smooth. When you have different suppliers for each step of the project, the chance of making mistakes would have been higher, because the handover stage is where mistakes often happen.
If you decide to work with multiple suppliers, tracking every stage of the project can be complicated. Make sure you're in charge of the whole project.
One last thing to consider
Many translation agencies and LSPs (language service providers) pride themselves on being “all-in-one”, but in reality, they only have experience in some areas. Agencies typically specialize in translation, proofreading, localization, and/or transcription. However, a truly “all-in-one” agency will not only cover the mentioned above services, but also offer DTP, transcreation, subtitling, interpreting, and voiceover services.
Choosing the right agency for the job might be daunting, but using one partner will help your company maintain consistency across all projects, save time, cut costs, and lower risk.