How did Animus Translations get started?
In order to understand our story, it’s important to know a little background about the translation industry and the context which inspired the creation of our company. As company director, my own background has been heavily influenced by languages, translation, and ethics. I studied French, Spanish, and Portuguese at the University of Nottingham and then went on to specialise in translation at the University of Manchester, where I completed my MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies. This intensive and challenging course gave me a solid foundation in translation and interpreting theory, ethics, and practice, including more specialist areas of translation, such as literary translation, subtitling, and simultaneous interpreting.
After I graduated, I also learnt how poorly translators are often treated by big translation agencies. Given the amount of skill I knew translation required and the demanding training many translators undertake, I was astounded by the pitiful rates paid by many agencies. Considering the time taken to produce a high quality translation, the rates offered by many agencies worked out to less than minimum wage for highly skilled work translating technical or legal documents. In addition to this, many translation agencies pay their translators late, or don’t pay them at all once they have completed the work.
Aside from pressuring translators to lower their rates, these same agencies were also pressuring translators to take on projects they weren’t qualified to do, be available for work 24/7 without receiving any extra pay for unsociable working hours, and manipulating new graduates into providing their translation services for free, yet still charging their clients hefty fees.
Part of the reason behind this, is of course corporate culture and the pressure many companies face to offer increasingly competitive rates to attract and maintain clients. However, this was particularly apparent in the translation industry because, unlike many other professions, it is possible to make a living from translation without any formal qualifications. This, in conjunction with a general lack of awareness of what translation involves, leads to misunderstanding about the amount of skill and work translation requires, both among business owners and underqualified translation providers.
Many translation agencies are run by people with a great deal of experience in business and management, but little to no experience in translation or linguistics. Without understanding how translation works, such companies were focused merely on managing costs and generating profit and had adopted a number of questionable policies as a result. For example, with many agencies, formal training in translation is not a requirement and translators are only asked to pass a ‘language test’ which is then graded by someone without the skills required to do so.
Other harmful policies include a lack of background or reference checks for translators which can lead to projects being completed by scammers – of which there are a surprising amount -, an overuse of automated translation, and agreeing to urgent or rush jobs which are split among many translators.
From a client’s perspective, all of this leads to poor translation quality and an overpriced product with most of the fee going to the translation agency. From a translator’s point of view, it can be dehumanising and demoralising to work with such an agency, which will either lead to the translator leaving or not dedicating sufficient time to producing high quality translations.
It was within this context that I decided to found my own translation agency, drawing upon my own experience and training to create an agency that translators would enjoy working with and clients could rely upon to produce high quality translations. When I founded the company, I vowed that we would always steer clear of the questionable translation policies of other agencies and treat our translators with the respect they deserve.
I was committed to running the company ethically and responsibly, and creating an agency with policies that would produce the ideal conditions for high quality translation production, rather than follow the footsteps of other agencies I had encountered.
How has Animus Translations performed since then?
Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength. We work with translators and clients all over the world, developing strong relationships through communication, respect, and flexibility. All our translations are completed by native language translators with at least a Masters’ qualifications in translation and undergraduate degrees in a range of subjects.
Our translators can choose their own working hours, set their own rates, and only translate subjects they feel confident with to ensure high quality and accuracy. I am proud to say that we have never delivered a project late, nor have we paid any of our translators late, and we have certainly had no complaints from our translators or clients. You can see testimonials from our satisfied customers and respected translators here.
We offer a flexible service designed to meet clients’ needs and have gradually expanded our range of languages, services, and subject areas over our 4 years in business. To increase awareness of the translation process and encourage translators to gain professional qualifications, I have spoken at many events and attended numerous seminars and conferences. We strive to encourage new and emerging translators by offering them advice and the opportunity to gain experience on simple projects where we can.
What are our plans for the future?
As we continue to grow and develop as a company, we are committed to upholding our high quality standards and ethical principles. We aim to expand our core languages further over the coming years and develop and strengthen our client and translator relationships, while forging new partnerships.
We also plan to encourage and increase recognition of translation as a professional industry and look forward to investing a generous proportion of our profits into charitable organisations and scientific research.
The future is bright for Animus Translations and we hope you will stand with us in our bid to encourage ethical business relationships, facilitate communication between people and cultures, and raise professional standard in the translation market.