Why small marketing translation agencies talk your language(s)

By Louise Ludgrove, 18 November 2021 | 5 mins read

The phrase ‘small is beautiful’ was made for translation agencies. Compact and highly agile, pint-sized players are able to out-maneuver big industry names. But how is that possible when the behemoths have invested millions of pounds in the latest AI translation technology and a global chain of offices? The answer’s simple: translating marketing materials is not just about translation. Small agencies (sometimes called boutique agencies) understand this and that’s why they have the edge. Read on to find out how David is beating Goliath in a fast-expanding sector.

Stat attack

  • The employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 20 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The global language services industry was worthapproximately US $46.9 billion in 2019 – and it’s forecast to be worth US $73.6 billion by 2025. That’s a rise of 57% in six years.

The big benefits that come with being small

As the translation market’s grown, so have the biggest players. Buy-outs and mergers have created huge companies, with thousands of staff and global business services. Each one offers a raft of corporate packages at highly competitive prices, powered by slick marketing. But that doesn’t mean they’re running the show. No Siree.

1. It’s all about you

In fact, customers are increasingly turning to smaller agencies that can offer something different. They might not have a huge team or a 24/7 online platform, but they do have intelligent, personalised services – and that can be game-changing. Because, whatever your project, you need a partner who will act as a consultant and understand your organisation. One who’ll work to your particular needs instead of pushing an off-the-shelf solution. Ok, so this kind of relationship doesn’t happen overnight. You need to find an agency that’s prepared to learn and grow with you. But as your bond develops, your partner will be able to offer specialist advice that’s tailored to your needs. With larger companies, you are one of many clients, often handed from one contact to another. We say boo to bureaucracy – and yes to unique relationships.

2. Bending over backwards

Another plus to smaller agencies is their flexibility. Without corporate processes to weigh them down, they can quickly navigate industry trends and adopt new developments. The result is fast reactions, rapid solutions and continuous innovation. What would you prefer? Nimble and approachable or faceless and inflexible?

3. Scale in any direction you want

But what if you have a truly global project that requires translation across multiple markets on a massive scale? Surely this is where the big players win hands down? Not necessarily. A good small agency will have its own network of high quality, in-market professionals that they can call on in an instant. Scale up, scale down. You can do both (and still get the personal touch). What’s more, small agencies will take time to assemble the ideal team for every project, choosing from translators with experience in relevant fields. The best agencies select the right talent for each assignment to achieve the best results.

4. Proven professionals – and peace of mind

Before we go on, let’s take a minute to talk about these hand-picked professionals. Each one will be a skilled and proven linguist who’s immersed in their native culture. Based ‘in-market’, they know the latest phrases and how language is evolving. When you’re translating material to reach a specific geographic market or demographic, that knowledge can win you valuable market share. After all, what will appeal more to a local audience: a bland, corporate sell or a vibrant, relevant message with language that really connects? Work with a larger company and you might find that those local touches just aren’t available. Big names keep prices low by farming out your work to a database of unqualified strangers who are paid the bare minimum. Do you want someone churning out translations as fast as they can? Or a respected translator who takes pride in a job well done?

This is perhaps where small agencies really come into their own. Because their teams do more than translate words – they translate meaning. A small agency has know-how that extends to transcreation and localisation, which means your communications are carefully shaped and optimised to appeal to your target market. Why just give them words when you can give them a powerful message?

5. Playing to their strengths

This focus on transcreation and localisation is what sets small agencies apart. These specialist strengths allow them to focus on marketing, rather than a million other different types of translation projects. Big companies take on everything but may not differentiate much between the various jobs. Colossal legal texts, medical material, consumer websites… they’re all treated the same. With so many jobs on the conveyor belt, bigger companies simply want to churn work out and get it out the door. It’s quantity over quality. But yes, it may be cheap.

Introducing Maverick Global

How do we know so much about the benefits of smaller agencies? Because (surprise, surprise) we are one. For more than 10 years, Maverick Global has been providing bespoke services, expert advice, flexibility and a personal service to all kinds of clients. We’ve learned that customer satisfaction soars when innovative, agile teams invest in their clients’ success. Want to stay relevant, now and in the future? Choose a supplier with a network of proven talent, who’ll evolve as you do.

At Maverick Global, we’ve been helping our clients smash it in overseas markets time and time again. And it’s all because we translate more than words; we translate meaning, feeling and message. That’s not just a nice-to-have; it’s absolutely invaluable. If you want to see what we mean, get in touch. Alternatively, take a look at our case studies.