Translation Solutions: Here, the Translations for Aviation, Medicine and Yohji Yamamoto are Made

Denis Olkhov, Director General of Translation Solutions Translation Agency, is speaking about distinguishing features of work with Japanese and Chinese, linguists specialized in chemistry and new channels of interaction with the B2B market.

Denis Olkhov

Director General of Translation Solutions»

Why did you engage in this specific business?

I have a legal education. I worked in foreign consulting and financial companies where the translation of documents was sometimes needed. I was often dissatisfied with the quality of those translations, so I decided that I could make better ones. This is how «Translation Solutions» Company was founded in 2015.

For a long time, your website was not functioning, but a short while ago, you restarted it. Why?

Yes, at first, we had no plans in terms of the website. It existed just for the customers to see that our company existed. Now, we decided to tackle it, because the market changed a lot recently. The customers of the B2B segment, who are exactly those who we work with, do not wait for us to come and offer them a service. They actively search for information on the internet themselves. So, we started to actively develop in that direction.

And how did you find customers before that?

The cold calls. This approach worked perfectly then, and it has not become obsolete yet. However, we added a proper and operational website to this sales channel. To restart it, we hired Syncweb Company, a contractor from Ekaterinburg. By the way, speaking of how to search the customers and partners, we found each other on the Internet. We got in touch over the phone, agreed on the mutually beneficial terms, and started working.

What were the tasks faced by Syncweb?

At first, the website was created just to secure our presence on the Internet and had no other function. The guys restarted it, configured the security, and now they perform optimization for a faster and more proper operation of the website. In the future, they will maintain the platform in good working order and make edits, if necessary.

How did your company survive the pandemic?

Fairly well. The job offers became less numerous, but not crucially so. Our customers are fairly big companies. They even continued working in the midst of the lockdown, because they could not do otherwise. And we were among those who worked with them.

What companies do you work with?

We work with «BORK», Japanese brand «Yohji Yamamoto», which nowadays is not only in the business of clothes but also the perfumery products. We translate the information posted on their website, various documents and contracts. Our customers are medical companies, customers from the chemical industry, consulting, aviation, and public catering. In general, the range is fairly wide.

Your website says, «We work around the world». Could you please explain what it means?

We work with companies from any place in the world. And we are ready to solve even the most sophisticated problems. For example, we translated the voice control into Japanese for the Japanese market. To do this, we needed a native speaker, otherwise, the device could fail to read the commands and reject them. Understand that the accent, way of talking, construction of sentences of a native, and that of a translator, even a brilliant one, can be somewhat different. Long story short, we found a professional that we needed in Japan and completed the task.

I have a partner who works directly with the translators, and she even copes with very difficult tasks. We have made a pool of tested professionals who we cooperate with on a regular basis. We recruited and tested them for a long time, grouped them by fields of specialization. Some of them work with chemical industry documents; some of them are responsible for the legal field, medical field, etc. If we receive a task that is not within the competence of our staff members, we outsource professionals. Sometimes, such people come to us themselves.

Does this mean that it is useless to ask how many languages are in your company’s «profile»? You will find a professional for any task?

Yes, with a 95 percent probability. If we can’t find any, we will be honest about it. We will most likely not take up a translation from Arab, because we will be unable to guarantee the proper quality of work. There are not so many native speakers, who translate from Arab, and they are very expensive, but it only makes sense to work with them. Otherwise, we could easily end up dealing with an incompetent person.

Do you provide for an additional check of the texts after the translators’ work on them?

We do so at all times when we check the work of a person with who we intend to work long-term. As to the customers, everything depends on the task. Some of them ask for a shorter term, some ask for a cheaper price, in which case no additional check is provided. Some customers ask to engage an editor or a native speaker and an editor.

Let us suppose that we need to prepare a translation that will be published in one of the English Mass Media. Such an article has to look like it is written by a local journalist. In such a case, we engage both a native speaker and an editor, who makes a literary correction, and a corrector who makes proofreading to remove errors. The price of this work will be equivalent. Things are simpler when it comes to the legal translations, there are nuances in it as well. When it comes to technical documents, just one translator is usually not enough.

What type of translation is the most complex in terms of terminology?

This is not a question well-posed. If a translator is specialized in medicine, it will be fairly simple for them to work on such materials. For you and me, if we take up such a text, it would most likely be a monumental task. The same thing is true for the other fields. An aviation translator has to have both the knowledge of terminology and the basics of that profession. This is the only way for them to understand the meaning of the text they work on. When it comes to the oil and gas industry, one has to have basic knowledge in geology, geophysics, petrochemistry, etc. We have such professionals in our staff.

However, the tasks related to the chemical industry cause quite a stir in the company. Usually, I am the one who brings them in, and the staff members already joke about it: «Chemistry again?! Where do you find those??» Its terminology is very complex indeed. However, a translator who has education and work experience in chemistry can do this.

I think that there is another problem with some words: not all of them can be translated adequately into another language.

This happens. The customer and we initially agree that if there are some comments regarding the accuracy of a translation, we will discuss them and rectify everything. We save the terminology at all times for future texts so that there is no discrepancy in the interpretation of some word or term. I remember the instance where a female customer knew American English very well. We, on the other hand, translated the text into British English, so many terms did not match, because one word had several meanings. We made corrections quickly, and there were no more difficulties.

The same problem happens when it comes to the translation into Japanese and Chinese. In those languages, some words simply don’t have equivalents, so we leave the English spelling. There was a case when, we had some text for mass media, and the customers asked why some words were not translated. We explained that, if a word has no clear equivalent in a language, it is better to leave a word as it is.

Nowadays, more and more translation software emerge. Is it possible for them to remove the professional translators from the market in time?

Regarding the simple level, I think that we will have quality translation software soon, especially when it comes to English. In terms of professional documents, it is not that simple. If a professional translator who translates a legal contract with many nuances, for example, has any questions, they will ask them, and we will relay them to the customer. A machine cannot do that. So, I think that we will not be out of work for the next five to ten years.

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