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Rehabilitating and Reinvigorating the Language Company–Freelancer Relationship

The language company-freelancer relationship is arguably the foundation of our industry and the key to our success. Stating the obvious? Perhaps, but if we know that, then why aren't we giving this relationship the attention and care it requires? Rather than honoring and nurturing the relationship, we have taken it for granted and allowed it to fall into dysfunction. This is reflected in our antiquated approach to vendor management, which I feel is seriously flawed. The term itself says it all, suggesting an unbalanced relationship where one side has the power and imposes the rules. How can we, as companies, ensure that we are providing the best work product to our end-clients if the stakeholders producing that work are locked in an adversarial relationship where one side doesn't truly trust the other (and even the fact that there are sides)? How can we change this to everyone's mutual benefit and still meet our business goals? While this, like all relationships, is a two-way street, we can only control what we can control, so I think it is up to the companies to lead the way. In this session we will talk about what that looks like, breaking the problem down into its component parts and identifying solutions that will help us rebuild the trust and restore this essential relationship.

Steve Lank

Vice President, Translation Services
Cesco Linguistic Services, Inc.
360 Acoma Street
Denver, Colorado 80223
(720) 341-9010

Steve Lank serves as vice president of translation services for Denver-based Cesco Linguistic Services, Inc., working from Washington, D.C. He has worked in the language services industry since 1987, having started out as a freelance translator and project manager and subsequently holding senior management positions with agencies in the United States, Ireland, and Spain. From 1998 to 2011, he served as chairman of the ASTM International subcommittee that developed and published the ASTM F2575 Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation and served as co-chair of the Colorado Association of Professional Interpreters (CAPI) from 2010–2012. Mr. Lank is also a lecturer in the Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation (GSIT) program at the University of Maryland, teaching courses in translation technology and workplace processes and procedures. He earned an M.A. in translation and interpretation for Spanish from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.