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Effective translator management in the translation agency

During hundreds of conversations that I have conducted with the owners or managers of translation agencies, one of the most frequently encountered problems was the effective management of the freelance translator database and the effective distribution of orders. The biggest problem arises when the translation agency carries out a large number of relatively small orders. In this case, finding a suitable vendor quickly is crucial to maintaining business margins.

Management of translator database - traditional approach

In a traditional work model, which is based on e-mails and telephones, the translation agency employee usually has a list of subcontractors, along with languages, rates, specialization and relevant comments.

When a new order arrives, the employee checks the list, sends e-mails or makes phone calls to find a subcontractor who decides to accept a new order. Often, this process is very time-consuming and requires many phone calls before the right person can be found.

When this finally happens, the agency employee has to write an e-mail, attach the documents to be translated, include the number of characters and wait for the translator's final decision.

Sounds familiar? What is the average time you need to find a vendor who is willing to take a job?

Management of translator database - modern approach

Modern translation companies are trying to automate as many activities as possible. One of the key elements is, of course, the process of delegating tasks and distributing orders. It is worth equipping yourself with a system that will distribute tasks and find the right translator on your behalf. How should it look in practice?

  1. Database of translators - the place where you enter your subcontractors' details. At this point, you should be able to provide the same information that you usually store in a traditional excel file. Think about all the data that you need to be able to decide whether it is possible to outsource the task to the given translator: type of translation (regular / certified), language pairs, industries (medical / IT / etc), rates for translations.
  2. Registration of orders - a system that will register orders from the website or allow you to add them manually through the administrator's panel. In the system you should be able to add the so-called translation products that will define the type, language and, for example, the industry of translation.
  3. Linking translators to orders - you should create a mechanism that will allow you to automatically combine orders with a group of vendors. If the client expects an ordinary, medical, English-to-German translation, the system should automatically select translators who meet the criteria of the order and inform them of the possibility of taking the job. E-mail or SMS notification containing order details should be generated automatically on your behalf. In this message you can include information related to the length of the text, the profit for the translator and the date of the order.
  4. Acceptance of the order - the translator should be able to quickly accept the order. Ideally, if he could do it with one click. It is also important that you notice the information about the acceptance of the order automatically in your system.


Automation of processes related to the search for vendors and the distribution of orders is a key aspect of improving the efficiency of the translation agency. The example described above allows for quick and effective separation of tasks between translators. The method indicated by us works on the principle of "first come, first served". In the next post, I will present ways to expand this mechanism with additional functionalities so that you can additionally increase your cost effectiveness.

Michał Walachowski
Mike Walachowski
Head of Growth