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Freelance vs. company translation services
2018.11.14

The translation process is not just about switching words from one language to the other, it is also about conveying the meaning of the text while keeping in mind the target audience. It is not an easy task. Translating one language to another is tough. There are various translation companies and freelance translators to choose from in order to have your content perfectly translated. If the content translation goes wrong, it is a waste that could bring more damage than benefits. The translator is to be carefully picked if accuracy and content adaptation is needed. The question is which one would be the best, a translation company or a freelancer when you are going for professional translation of important documents, which are needed to be perfect.

The above question is directly related to the cost. Freelance translators may be more affordable as compared to translation agencies. But when it comes to freelancers, you can’t be sure whether the one you picked in the best fit for the task. What are you going to do if your freelance translator is not knowledgeable enough to properly convert specialized technical or legal terms? Surely, any translator would have to research for some key terms, but not being in the actual field, one would have to search for just about any specialized term used in the document. This would lead to extra time needed to translate, which obviously means more money, and consistency might have to suffer.

So, what are the advantages of using professional translation services from a freelancer or from a translation agency?

Advantages of using a freelancer

  • Expertise

Most experienced freelancers are excited about what they do, so they take on tasks only if they are able enough to provide the required result. Freelancers may also be an alternative if you want to find a specialist in your specific field. Be ready to give some time finding that person, though.

  • Price

Freelancers may be the best choice for small businesses and solo businesspeople if cost is among critical factors, as they may be cheaper. Why spend more for excellent work when you can have the same from cheaper services? Although prices may vary considerably, you may end up paying less, while missing on some services like extra proofreading.

  • Clarity

No extra covers to be found between the client and the translator. You choose a freelancer you wanted and tested; you get the job completed by that freelancer. One end of contact guarantees direct and immediate communication: you work more intimately with the translator, enabling the project to move along quicker. And you can be sure that your content remains highly classified.

Disadvantages of using freelance translators

  • Security

Use freelance job sites with care: you may end with the tool of all businesses. Dedicated websites are better. And don’t be influenced to pick a service provider just by their price. Young freelancers only receive jobs because they ask for low prices with little to no knowledge in the field.

  • Deadlines

Most freelancers have a hectic schedule and don’t work with subcontractors. If you have a tight deadline, most freelancers will graciously refuse without being able to manage their schedule days in advance.

  • Experience

Professionals tend to practice in a couple of areas. It can be challenging to get one freelancer to satisfy all of your translation requirements: medical, legal, finance, localization, marketing, user guides, etc. Very few have all the abilities for large-volume, complicated projects including translation and editing in multiple languages.

Advantages of using a translation company

  • Availability

A company can take practically every project following an established plan no matter what your conditions are. Apart from higher cost, it also means on-demand availability and an extensive choice of services.

  • Services

When dealing with larger projects, companies are better provided to meet challenging client needs and difficult technical conditions. Usually, they offer quality assurance of professional translation/localization management and other services.

  • Languages

A company would have translators for all common languages. If you’re dealing with a multilingual project, a company would be able to translate it into all required languages without you having to hunt freelance translators for each language.

  • Consistency in time

A company can ensure the same translator will be working on your new projects each time. This could lead to various advantages like consistency in style, language and technical terms, not to mention the same quality every time.

  • Extra proofreading

Some companies ensure extra proofreading by a second, independent linguist within the same price. This is a major advantage as it is well-known that human brain can’t proofread its own work (writers and translators would know).

  • Turnaround

Most companies have an essential translator base at their disposal at all times. A company is ready to create teams and meet the most difficult deadlines for your translation project. It will also provide consistency even if several translators are working on the same project and later-edits are commonly accepted if required.

Disadvantages of using a translation company

  • Price

In general, translation companies are seen as more expensive, particularly in comparison to language learners willing to do the same work for 1/10 of the price. Like any industry, they have higher costs to cover and will typically have several experts involved in one project. But higher prices do not always mean they work with well paid, qualified translators.

  • Reliability

When asking for a full-package multilingual service, you have to check if the company has available resources for all languages. Too many companies accept any translation project voluntarily and worry about finding a suitable translator later. If that happens, you are better off with a well-picked freelancer for each language.

  • Communication

The hiring process for freelancers may only consist of a few emails back and forth. If you need a project completed by tomorrow, it may be your best bet. Some companies have complicated communication processes and structures, making everything slower. Others on the other hand are faster, it all depends on their project managers and the ways the use to connect with translators.

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of possible advantage and disadvantages of each, the choice is all yours. It completely depends on you whether you need freelance translation or the services of a company. A freelance translation might save some money in your pockets but might cost you your reputation, delay in technical translation, court/ legal trials, etc. A good company on the other hand, with their certified experts, might cost you a little more but regarding quality, they will rock you.

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