The time has come when you need to hire a translator for your business. Where to start?

Finding the right candidate can be daunting. Deciding between hiring a freelancer or a professional agency is difficult. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Advantages of Hiring a Professional Agency best translation agencies for freelancers

First off, assess the translating job you need done. Is it big or complex? Then hiring a professional translating agency may be the best option.

Professional translating agencies are able to handle large scale projects on short notice – even with a tight deadline. An experienced team of skilled translators, many of whom are certified, will provide professional service to get your project completed on time.

Most agencies assign a project manager to each project. Your project manager keeps you up-to-date on your project’s progress during the translation process.

Perhaps your job has a variety of translating needs – translation and localization services, over-the-phone and on-site interpretation, even voiceover and subtitling. A translating agency is likely to have all of those resources in-house.

An agency hires native speaking, certified and highly qualified linguists that are available to help their clients with any task. The best translating agencies have extended business hours to provide 24/7 service to clients all over the world.

Professional Agency Disadvantages

Detailing the pros of hiring a professional translating agency is great, but what about the cons?

One of the turnoffs is the price tag. When compared to some freelancing services, the price of hiring a professional agency is higher. You’ll need to evaluate what financial benefit you assign to having a team of specialists who guarantee high quality results.

When working with a translating agency, you cannot always control which translators get assigned to your project.  You’ll need to trust that all the translators working at the agency are highly skilled and qualified.

The communication process at an agency may be more formal than with a freelancer. Your project manager might ask for more details, and seek clarification more often, to make sure your project is completed how you want.  

Freelancer Advantages

Most freelancers are extremely passionate about what they do and the work they accomplish. If they feel they can provide an outstanding outcome on the project you have; they will agree to do the job.

As mentioned, hiring a freelancer may save a significant amount of money up front. Keep in mind that since they work for themselves, rates may change at any time.

If an aspect of the job requires a specialty they don’t have, they can team up with one or two colleagues with whom they trust. Your freelancer will be responsible to review the whole scope of the project before submitting it.

Freelancers are great if you need a person that is specialized in a specific topic or language. You’ll need to call around and check with others in the industry to get a good referral.

Communicating with freelancers may be less formal. How quickly they return your messages depends on the style of the freelancer you hire.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Freelancer

Let’s say that your business decides to hire various individual freelancers to complete your project. What are the drawbacks to this approach?

It will take time. Recruiting these freelancers and finding the right ones takes a lot of time. There’s also following up with each of them; managing their invoices and payments, answering their questions, and responding to complaints. Time is money.

Extra charges might apply. Large scale projects can’t be handled by one freelancer alone, so you’re paying overhead for more freelancers. If you’re on a tight deadline, or your deadline gets moved up, you will be charged extra for the overtime they work. A freelancer may take on your project; but then charge you extra when they need to ask another freelancer to help them when they’ve miscalculated their availability.

Quality might be lacking. Finding a certified freelance translator, which means higher quality work, takes checking each freelancer’s credentials. A freelancer anxious for more work may accept any project, even if they aren’t qualified to complete it properly. Quality might suffer if the freelancer is not spending enough time and effort focusing on one project at a time; and instead working 5-10 projects simultaneously.

The final decision between hiring a freelancer or an agency is up to you. Contact ITC to see if a professional translating agency is right for your project.