Are Agencies the Evil Enemy?

My wife and I have heard some diabolical nicknames when referring to certain agencies. Some people I talk to would agree, while others defend them. I personally tend to view both sides and fall in a different place.

Evil Enemy Perspective

The nature and purpose of big business is to make as much profit as possible. In order to compete, you must charge as much as the market will let you while at the same time reducing expenses.

The fee for the contracted translator or interpreter should be the largest expense. However, they will pay language professionals the cheapest price they can get away with in order to make more profit.

Because they are so cheap, they cut corners reducing quality. Worse yet, they hold on to your check as long as they can so that they can earn interest on your money.

This perspective is often based on bad experiences.

Defenders Perspective

I have an excellent relationship with great companies. Not all are bad. The very few disreputable ones are the exception to the rule.

Large companies may have a lot to offer:

1. Consistent work
2. Marketing
3. Support, continuing education, and/or programs

This belief is based on good experiences.

My Perspective
I am grateful to the agencies who gave me a start. Overall, I’ve had positive engagement with them. As time passed, I cultivated direct clients and the responsibility to market and sell for my business. As my fees went up, it was no longer a fit for some of the agencies and me.

Are there evil agencies? Maybe (my wife says YES). Most people I meet are usually decent citizens, but from time to time I see news reports about a person that opens fire on the public, killing innocent people. In recent years, these terrible reports occur more than ever.
Nevertheless, when I step outside my house, I don’t see chaos where everyone is killing each other. Most language service companies are decent in my opinion.

Sure it is the nature of business to make profit. They will negotiate a deal that works for them. Companies have (or create) a lot of expenses: rent, staff, workers’ compensation insurance, liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, marketing, etc. Just like every entrepreneur has to calculate the minimum they need in order to survive, likewise with any business. I won’t blame a company if it declines acceptance of my fee. It must be aware of its bottom line in order to stay afloat.

Experience, reputation, skill, and certifications might also factor into the fee negotiations.

If I do a background check and don’t like a company’s reputation, I just don’t work with it. If I don’t like what I read in the contract, I will propose changes and may choose not to collaborate with it.

To summarize, I do have a great relationship with some companies. I don’t feel that any company is the evil enemy although I will keep a safe distance from a few.

My opinion is based on my good and bad experiences.


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