You’re a small multinational company doing business in several countries throughout the world, and you need to produce a steady output of documents, presentations, brochures, legal contracts, manuals and even regularly update your website content in one or more languages.  You need an agency that can provide you with translation and other services into English, Spanish and several other languages … and deliver on time. Your budget, however, is limited. You start contacting the agency bigwigs in New York, and your jaw drops lower with every outrageous price quote you get.

Why not consider a small or boutique agency? Here are some of the advantages of going with a small shop:

  1. Price. A smaller agency can deliver consistent quality at a better price point. Small agencies, like mine, are made up of a small in-house team and a database of contractors worldwide. Because their overhead is smaller, they can afford to charge you less without sacrificing quality.
  2. Streamlined operations. A small agency lacks the bureaucracy of the mega-shops. There are no layers of management, salespeople, IT departments, accounting departments, etc. A large agency has all of these, none of which are actually involved in the task of translating. At a small agency you’re likely dealing directly with the owner or with the owner’s second-in-command, not with an account executive who reports to a sales manager who reports to a division vice president. And believe me, you’re much more important to that small agency’s owner or second-in-command than you are to the mega-agency with lots of large clients and lots of bureaucracy.
  3. Close relationships with translators and other suppliers. A small agency knows its suppliers personally and can speak for their translation ability, their integrity, and their professionalism. They only work with individuals that they know and trust. If a large agency boasts a database of 10,000 translators, how do they know that these 10,000 people are actually qualified to work on your project? No one has the time or capability to screen 10,000 people.
  4. Flexibility. Unlike the big shops, a small agency can offer you flexibility. Large agencies often won’t touch clients or projects below a certain budget threshold, but a small agency will dedicate the same care to your one-page document that it will devote to your 1,000 words, 10,000 words or 100,000 words. And even if a large agency were to take on your small (to them) project, these projects are managed by junior staff members and farmed out to translators on demand. None of these people will ever be as personally invested in your satisfaction as the owner and second-in-command of the small shop and their small group of highly qualified translators and suppliers.