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Translation Agency vs. Freelance Translator

So you have a translation project on your hands. Documents, brochures, subtitling. Now where do you go to get these translated? Should you outsource to a freelancer or go directly to a translation agency? That really depends... Here are a few things to consider when deciding who should handle your linguistic project.

Freelance Translators are generally the first professionals you would probably go to, to get a project worked on. And the benefits of working with them are:

Direct communication: When working with a freelancer, the communication is straight forward. On the downside, there is no other person that will continue with the job if something happens to the freelancer.

Expertise: If you work with a translator with experience in the particular subject matter, language pair and tools you need, you are set and you are sure to have no issues with getting your job done. On the downside, translators don’t necessarily handle all types of projects and could have limitations regarding subject matter, tools and quantity of work they can handle.

Cost: The overall cost should be lower and negotiating prices could probably be simpler.

Translation Agencies depend and work collaboratively in many opportunities with freelancers, who in fact are crucial to their business and their processes. But translation agencies have certain characteristics that distinguish them from freelancers:

Quality Assurance: Processes are in place in most translation agencies where there are at least 3 people reviewing the translation project: the project manager, the translator and the reviewer. Since all these people are working on your project this guarantees that mistakes that might go unseen by just one person will probably get fixed by another pair of hands. Also if anything should happen to the team working on your project, the agency will most definitely find other resources to complete the assignment.

Volume: Do you have a huge translation project, is it a complete manual or a book? An agency can give you a better handling of massive projects with a much better completion time. They have the resources of multiple translators at their disposal, so distributing loads of work to professionals that are appropriate to your job is probably going to get done.

Diversity of Projects: Subtitling, Desktop Publishing (DTP), Translation Applications, Voice Over and multiple languages. Agencies generally can handle a diversity of projects and can provide different types of services.

When is it best to go with a freelance translator?

The best projects for freelancers are those which subject matter the translator has more experience in and those that adapt to the volume that person can handle as well as the language pair. It is also important to consider, if you are on a budget, that negotiating a price could be easier. So finding that right person for the right project is crucial.

When to go to Translation Agencies?

Translation Agencies are great to go to if you just can’t find the right individual to handle a job or if you have a big project that you need done rapidly. Also companies have processes that should make you feel more comfortable or more confident that your translation job will get completed with the right people and with the quality you expect.