;   Medical Translation Insight: We do everything! Just like everyone else! - ForeignExchange Translations

We do everything! Just like everyone else!

We do everything! Just like everyone else! (medical translation)Here is a little question/rant/story:

Why aren't translation companies bolder to differentiate themselves?

Once again, this morning, I came across a website for a mid- to large-sized translation company. And, once again, there was the familiar list of industries served, similar to this:

  • Automotive
  • Consumer Goods
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Hardware
  • Manufacturing
  • Media
  • Medical
  • Mobile
  • Specialist Software
  • Tourism
  • Web
It could have been any of a number of such firms, because most of them claim to do – well, everything. Just like all the others.

Yes, I understand that translation companies want to give the impression of being a one-stop shop so more dollars can flow into their coffers. You're afraid to miss out on some piece of work because the net is not wide enough. So you do bullet-point marketing. But at what price?

You're now just like everyone else. "Will Work for Revenue." There's a biz-ugly word for that: Commodity.

Two things about this question/rant/story: First, it is taken almost verbatim from Steve Woodruff's Impactiviti Blog. Different industry, same rush towards the bottom.

Second, a client who receives more than his share of solicitations from translation suppliers recently told me the anti-dote to this. His advise was that instead of touting how a translation company is just like everybody else, they should approach prospects with a "here is where we stink" list of subjects and services that they do not want to provide.

Going back to Steve's blog post: "We'll Do Whatever!" is not a message that sets you apart in the minds of your clients. Focus. Differentiate. De-commoditize.

Unlike everybody else!

For past "soapbox moments", take a look at the following:
ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation services to the world's largest medical device and pharmaceutical companies.


  1. Anonymous said...
    How true!
    And how often do we forget this fundamental truth!
    Even us providing the service, the translator! The temptation is there, all the time, ever presennt and all powerful, to be everything for everybody, and that's the basic no-no of business.
    Guilty, Your Honour, but I promise, I'll never do it again. Thanks for reminding me!
    Jackie Smith said...
    Absolutely agree with you, 100%.
    Emma Goldsmith said...
    Specialised translation agencies are a win-win-win situation for client-agency-translator. As a medical translator, I prefer working for these agencies because the whole project management process is smoother. No hand-holding is needed because we all know what is required of us.

    I don't advertise my "Here is where we stink" fields, but as the subject has been raised, I steer clear of dentistry and medical devices. (Give me an SmPC or clinical trial protocol any day.)
    Roman Mironov said...
    While specialization is undoubtedly good, I don't see anything wrong if a translator accepts a job that doesn't exactly fall within her specialization, as long as she feels she can do a good job. A medical device manufacturer has other types of content to translate, not only IFUs. For example, the manufacturer may want to have a territory sales agreement translated. Do they have to find a different provider for that, the one who specializes in legal translations? This is possible, but is it effective?

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