Small is the new Big: why work with a boutique translation agency?

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Big multinational companies tend to work with global (mostly US-based) translation agencies offering a standardised service for a high price. Across the globe, thousands of project managers and linguists work around the clock to communicate clients’ brands and messages in every country.

Smaller (or boutique) translation agencies can offer services tailor-made to their clients.
They can build closer personal relationships and they know each client’s business well. Beyond mere translations, they also provide consultancy, helping clients to find solutions to any challenges they face. What’s more, they have the flexibility to act as their client’s external “team member”.

Can smaller agencies survive alongside their global competitors?
The answer is yes, most definitely.

What are the advantages of working with a boutique translation agency instead of a global one?

  1. Lower price vs. higher price
    Since smaller agencies have lower overhead costs than their global competitors, lower price is definitely the key advantage of a smaller agency. However, price isn’t everything, so let’s take a look at the other benefits.

  2. Tailor-made services vs. standard services
    Boutique agencies are able to shape their services according to the needs of their clients, allowing them to make changes at short notice or even find a personalised solution to resolve any problems faced by the client. By contrast, global agencies have standard services, which means clients’ needs have to fit into one of the service categories they offer.

  3. Specialisation vs. every field
    Boutique agencies typically specialise in a few fields. This means that they can really be experts in those fields, providing clients with the reassurance that the boutique agency really knows what they are translating. Big agencies translate everything, leaving room for doubt as to whether the translator working on a document really has expertise in the given field.

  4. Better quality vs. good quality
    Of course, we can’t say that big agencies necessarily provide inferior quality, but given that small agencies always work with the same team of specialist linguists who are already familiar with the client’s business, we can assume that the quality of the output is better in the latter case.

  5. Fast-moving vs. slow-moving
    Small companies can adapt their business strategies to changing markets faster than global companies. As a result, clients of a small agency get a more up-to-date service and possibly even superior technical solutions compared to the clients of a global agency. Small agencies can also adjust better to changing client needs.

  6. Faster delivery vs. longer lead time
    With less bureaucracy and less staff involved in a project, small agencies can react quicker and deliver rapid solutions.

For companies that set or follow market trends, that need to react fast and have special communication needs, it makes sense to work with a specialist boutique translation agency to secure the best client service, optimal quality and timely delivery – all at a fair price.

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