August 15, 2019 |
So, your business needs translation services but you have no idea what type of language service provider to work with? Should you go for a freelance translator or a full translation agency?
Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer to this question. Mostly, it depends on the scope of your translation project and how quickly you need things done. These aren’t the only elements to consider, however. Your budget, the type of translation services needed, and the industry in which you operate will influence your decision as well.
Freelance translators are excellent resources not only for businesses looking for accurate translations, but for agencies as well. Usually, these translators are passionate about what they do and dedicate much of their time to educate themselves. Often, they become Subject Matter Experts that can perform complex translations in their niches.
Here are some of the advantages of working with freelancers:
When hiring a freelance translator, you’ll be able to communicate directly with the person who does the translation. He or she is the project manager, the virtual assistant, and the expert that chooses the best terms to describe each concept. With a direct line, miscommunication is less likely to occur, reducing the risks for translation errors.
If you’re a small or medium business with a tight budget, a freelancer could be a better match. Working with an individual instead of a company costs less, and you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice quality.
With freelancers, you have control over the hiring process. You get to select whom you work with based on references, job interviews, or any other method you consider relevant. Of course, that means you’ll work harder to find the right match–compared to an agency, where they choose the experts for you and you rarely have the chance to choose your team.
Translation agencies, too, bring a series of advantages to the table. They have the power of numbers on their side, plus significantly more resources they can dedicate to your projects.
Let’s see the benefits of hiring an agency:
The larger the language service provider, the bigger its team of translators. If you have large projects to handle and are already running out of time, a translation agency can find the right people. They have an updated database with translators, linguists, and language experts who can step in immediately and help you meet your deadlines.
Agencies provide a wide range of services within the industry. From localization and transcreation, international SEO, and other technical services, you can benefit from their experience in more ways than one. They have the experience and infrastructure in place to help you overcome language and cultural barriers.
Most of the time, agencies will assign you a project manager, who will go above and beyond to make sure you get the best value for your money. That could be helpful when you feel overwhelmed by the idea of going global with your business.
Freelance translators (especially the good ones) often have their services booked for months in advance, so you might have to wait before getting your translations. On the other hand, agencies are available right when you need them thanks to their large number of collaborators.
One of the best advantages of working with an agency lies in the accuracy of the final translation. It has nothing to do with the translators’ skills, but with the workflows and protocol inside a translation agency. Even the most skilled translator can make mistakes, but agencies have a proofreading system in place that can detect errors in real-time.
As you can see, agencies have the power of numbers on their side, plus significantly more resources they can dedicate to your translation projects. But, as previously mentioned, there are other elements to consider when making the decision.
Roughly speaking, you should work with a freelance translator when:
Outside these specific situations, you may want to think twice before hiring someone. For high-volume translation and localization projects, agencies are almost always the winning choice. You get all the tools and experts you need in one place, with multiple advantages for your bottom line.
Some projects are simply too big to be handled by a freelancer or a team of individuals who have no previous experience working together. When you need multi-language support and have set rigorous deadlines, an agency can help you meet your business goals. They’re reliable and work fast thanks to their experience and significant resources.
Depending on the size of your projects, you may even choose to work both with an agency and freelancers. There’s no one-size-fits-all model, so see which way works better for your company and stick with it.