Whether you crave the stability of a nine to five or like to hit the road and let the world be your office, you may find working as a linguist or translator suits your needs. While some benefit more strongly from being in-house or working as a freelancer, there are some pretty solid pros for translators considering either option. Of course, there are a few downsides we’ll cover too, but let’s try to keep things positive!
Working as an in-house translator is probably a bit easier to picture for most as many have held full-time in-house positions before.
- Fixed income. One of the main perks of working in-house is the income stability it provides. You know exactly how much money you’re going to earn each year and have consistent paychecks coming in. You’ll also qualify for unemployment in the event you do lose your job, which can be trickier for freelancers to obtain.
- Benefits. In-house employees typically have access to benefits that freelancers don’t such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation, and more.
- Convenience. When you work in-house, there is no need to worry about the logistics of running a freelance business. There are other employees that will handle things like accounting, marketing, and looking for new clients.
- Teamwork. You can rely on a team of peers to help you complete big projects. There’s no need to wear all the hats, which freelancers often have to do. When you need to take time off, ideally there will be someone there to cover your workload. And if you need help with a tricky project, you should have teammates you can lean on. You can learn from each other and grow together.
- Professional development. Typically in-house employees receive valuable training from those who are further along in their careers. Many companies invest in employee professional development on an ongoing basis. The company may offer to send you to conferences, to pay for educational resources, and to train you in new skillsets.
- Less flexibility. Some in-house employees may have to work in a specific office each day at an agreed upon schedule. Not to mention, there are dress codes and other office rules to worry about. That being said, while most in-house translators used to work in a company office, nowadays it’s very common for them to work from home.
- Cap on earnings. While working in-house provides stability, in many ways you have less control over your earnings. Freelancers have lows, but they can also have major highs.
- Less autonomy. When in-house, you typically have to do as you’re told. You may have little control over what types of projects you work on and might have to follow company protocols.
If you haven’t worked as a freelancer before, it can be hard to picture what that career path looks like. There are some major benefits of freelancing worth considering, but there are also some downsides that not everyone is ready to handle.
- Ultimate flexibility. Want to work by the seaside today and in a mountain cabin tomorrow? No problem. Are you a night owl who does your best work when everyone else is asleep? Good for you. Don’t like a client or aren’t interested in certain types of projects? Send them packing. As a freelancer you’ll be able to decide when and where you work, who you work with, and what your vacation schedule looks like.
- You’re the boss. Freelancing is essentially running a very small business of one. You’re a business owner, even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside, which means you get to do things your way.
- Earning potential. Freelancers get a bad rap as being “underemployed” at times, but many freelancers can tell you that when you’re retaining the whole profit from a project (and your company isn’t taking a cut) that your income can soar. You get to set your rates and can choose to only take on projects that work for your budget.
- Stability not guaranteed. Working as a freelancer provides a lot of excitement and the wins can feel really big since they’re all your own, but a stable income is not guaranteed. This can be challenging for people on a tight budget or who have a family to support.
- No benefits. You’ll have to purchase your own benefits and accept that there is no such things as a paid vacation anymore. It’s important to remember to aim to make more than you would in-house in order to pay for benefits yourself.
- Loneliness. Working as a freelancer can be lonely at times. If no one else in your household works from home or if you live alone, you may find you have a lot of solitude on your hands. The lack of teamwork can also feel very isolating.
- Out of pocket expenses. Office supplies, computers, and professional development will all have to come out of your pocket which can sting a bit.
There is no “better” option here. Both in-house and freelance translators have some major perks to look forward to. At Terra, we employ in-house linguists as well as collaborate with freelancers. So whatever your preferences are, we can work together. The key is to find which is the best fit for your goals, personality, and lifestyle!