Even the smallest translation agency is a separate company that operates in an individual way. However, some problems are shared by all entities in this industry, many of which can be at least reduced, and the solutions to them can be automated, leading directly to savings of time and money. All it takes is using modern technology, which for some time has been available as a solution to the typical problems of translation companies and facilitates their work at numerous stages.
True, this article is primarily intended to promote our own application. But do yourself a favour and at least look through the headlines to see how many of the listed problems also apply to your translation agency. Would it not be worth to solve at least some of them at a low cost? Let us find out.
1. There is not enough space on my disks to store the clients’ files
Each language service provider stores numerous files for valuation, translation, proofreading (before and after), often in many versions. Usually it is hard not to get lost in them, and when space runs out, it is difficult to decide what to delete, because clients who return after three or five years expect the next translation to be valuated taking into account the repetitions from their previous orders.
The solution to this problem is Mantreo, which features unlimited file space, automatic data backup and 24/7/365 security monitoring.
2. I get hundreds of emails a day and I cannot keep track of them
Requests for quotes, comments to projects, translated files, questions regarding vocabulary and spam - all this and even more goes to the translation project manager's mailbox. It is difficult to keep track of everything and it is very easy to overlook a message, which often turns out to be very important.
In Mantreo, managing messages is easy - all messages are automatically downloaded, displayed as a readable list, from which they can be archived, answered or converted into a quote, maintaining perfect order. And if a client or translator responds to a message regarding an ongoing job, Mantreo will automatically assign this message to the project and notify you.
3. The client chose the LSP that sent the quote first
According to surveys, as many as 78% of clients buy from the company that responds to the query first. Time is money, so it is worth showing the client from the very beginning that we care about their savings. Making a good translation quote is not easy, and it is worth to keep your shoulder to the wheel.
However, by using modern tools, automating tedious activities and simplifying procedures, we are able to reduce the time needed to prepare a quote to several minutes - of course with the use of Mantreo.
4. A disk failure in my laptop removed all data from the last month/year/5 years
Hard drives are one of the most failure-prone components of modern computers, especially laptops (due to frequent shocks and risk of physical damage). Of course, regular backups help to minimize this risk effectively, but according to Murphy's Law, a disk failure occurs just before we were about to perform a backup.
And what if keeping backups of all translations, proofread files, quotes, invoices does not have to keep you awake at night? In Mantreo, all uploaded files are continuously copied to two backup servers in different physical locations, and several times a day also to a separate location, which effectively immunizes our system against any failure of computer components.
5. I do not know how much I earn / I do not control the margin
As an employee, you know exactly how much you earn - this amount just goes to your account every month. As an entrepreneur, things are not so transparent. Not all payments are made regularly, and what remains on the account at the end of the month may not always be fully paid to the business owner, who must always bear future payments in mind. Therefore, without detailed financial settlements, it is difficult to determine the exact margin on a particular service or your earnings as an owner.
In this case, Mantreo can also help - when running projects in our program, all financial data for the calculation of key indicators are already there, so you can generate financial reports tailored to your needs at any time.
6. I am not sure if all our services are equally profitable
We often fall into the trap of answering "of course" to every client’s question starting with "Can you do...". By doing this, many companies that initially specialized in one particular type of translation services start providing additional ones. But are they all equally profitable?
Financial reports in Mantreo allow you to easily identify low-cost services, and ceasing to offer them enables significant cost savings and saves time that can be used to provide services with a higher margin level.
7. Vendors’ settlement is a nightmare
As long as you subcontract translations to several people, it is manageable. But when the list of vendors gets longer, you need to spend more and more time settling their work, taking into account various cooperation models (invoices, contracts), units of account (words, characters, lines, pages) as well as individual price lists, repetition discounts and individual arrangements. Unfortunately, it is easy to make a mistake.
If you use Mantreo, the data entered once allows you to automatically generate monthly settlements, as well as mark payments as processed, which significantly facilitates this task and eliminates many potential mistakes.
8. I often send similar messages
A translation project usually varies depending on language service providers, but some of the elements are fixed, and the information sent to the client is often very similar: confirmation of receipt of the message, quote in an email or attachment, some questions regarding details, confirmation of starting work, sending target texts, request for feedback. The repetitiveness of these messages means that often project managers copy fragments of messages, which, when done carelessly, can lead to errors and misunderstandings, and the clients may feel like the service they get is not of the highest quality.
Mantreo allows you to solve this problem by offering a system of message templates that can be highly personalized and uses a set of variables (such as price, deadline, name and surname of the project manager and many more) to eliminate the risk of making a mistake.
9. The clients claim they have not received the email with the translated files...
... and it is often true, because many anti-spam systems filter out e.g. messages with large attachments. Apart from the fact that sending confidential information in emails is simply a bad idea, it is also prone to ordinary human errors (who has never emailed the wrong John...).
How to eliminate these problems? In Mantreo, you can simply give the clients access to the project so that they can see the current progress of work, but without unnecessary details (such as vendors' personal data or private comments). They will also be able to download target files. This action will leave a note in the system (with the date and time of download). We call it the VIP Portal and you decide which client representatives are granted access (without any limits).
10. I left the notebook/laptop/folder at the office and the client needs assistance after working hours
This is a common problem of all systems that work well on a daily basis but only at the office. They simply cannot meet the needs of our times. It also applies to IT systems operating on-site on the office server. Living in the times of the "buy now" button and instant gratification, clients are simply accustomed to being answered quickly (or at least receiving real-time information when they can expect an answer).
Mantreo is available online 24 hours a day, so the problems described above simply do not apply.
11. I cannot find the email with the client’s remarks/suggestions/arrangements
If you have many clients, work with numerous vendors and like to have everything planned down to the smallest detail, you know how easy it is to get lost in emails. And we know from our experience that the most important message (e.g. with a request to send the translated files to a different person, because the client is just starting their holiday) is likely to be omitted.
Mantreo automatically assigns incoming emails to the projects they apply to, and therefore this problem does not occur. All messages regarding a given project are clearly displayed in the "Notes and messages" section.
12. I keep recalculating units back and forth
The translation industry has its own rules and both the LSPs and translators can use completely different units of account, also depending on the type of service. When using characters with spaces, without spaces, words and lines, it is not only easy to make a mistake, but it is also difficult to estimate the final result.
Mantreo solves this problem because it independently scans all uploaded files by reading the number of characters with spaces, without spaces and words (with the possibility of manual overwriting) and then performs all the calculations automatically based on these numbers.
13. I reject orders with a large number of small files to be translated
Projects with numerous small files are very problematic - starting with the quote, through work assignment, tracking progress, all the way to putting everything together and sending it to the client. This means that the costs of handling such a project may exceed the profits, which in turn forces small translation offices to reject it.
Mantreo, on the other hand, allows you to upload all the files with one click and quote them with another few clicks, which effectively reduces the costs of handling this type of orders.
14. I do not remember which vendor did a better job
We usually remember the best translator in a language pair, maybe also the second best, but when the best performer is on holiday, the second one gets sick and the third one is busy, we have a problem, because we do not remember the rest of the list…
By using Mantreo, you have a simple vendor rating system (you can rate each translation on a scale of 1-5 stars) and a full history of all completed tasks.
15. I do not remember client-specific rates
A short period without orders from a client whom we have promised individual rates or even a simple distraction can cause us to forget about special rates and do not include discounts in the quote. This can break the relationship with the client or even lead to losing them, as well as damage the company’s image.
And all you need to do is to enter the custom price list for a given client in Mantreo and from now on every quote for them will take into account individual, preferential prices.
16. I forget to update the project price based on the target files
If you settle rates with the client based on the analysis of the target text, recalculating prices after receiving files from translators is an additional activity you have to remember about. As you know, human memory can be ephemeral and reanalysing a file is a time-consuming task. Unfortunately, the client who expects a price other than the one on the quote will always remember about it.
Therefore, after uploading a target file, Mantreo will automatically scan it and recount the number of characters and words. And if it detects differences from the source file, it will suggest updating the project valuation.
How many of these problems affect your company?
Of course, you can diminish the importance of these problems or even claim that they do not affect your business. However, it is worth noting that standing out on the saturated translation market is not only a good idea, but a necessity, and that one of the most important tasks of a business owner is to anticipate and solve problems before they occur.
Our clients have been telling us about the above problems over the last few years, hence we are certain that sooner or later they will arise also in your company. The good news is that with Mantreo you can solve them for about 17 EUR net per month per user. If your problems are of a different nature or you want to learn more, we encourage you to contact our team and get advice regarding possible solutions.
However, above all, we encourage you to try Mantreo (20 days for free) and see for yourself how easy it can be to run a translation company in a modern and secure cloud. After all, what can happen if you change nothing?