Should you hire a freelance translator or translation company?
09/02/2022

Should You Hire a Freelance Translator or a Translation Company?

If you find yourself needing a translator, you may be wondering if you should work with a freelance translator or a translation company. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, because both options have some really amazing benefits for you to consider. That being said, there are reasons why one option may be better for you than the other. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to work with freelancers or a translation company so you can make the right call for your business. 

Working with Freelancers

Freelance translators can be very helpful and valuable when translation services are required. If you need the translation of a very technical or specialized subject matter, it makes sense to go to the expert. Chances are, there’s a great freelancer out there who can fit your language, culture, and industry needs, no matter how niche they are. 

Freelancers are known for putting in a lot of effort to keep their clients happy and don’t shy away from hard work. For example, if you need a certified translation of a legal document, when you work with a freelance translator who specializes in legal documents, they will work very closely with you to make sure the documents that require translation (birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic certificates, etc.) are not an obstacle towards getting a scholarship or your dream job abroad.

Despite the many benefits of working with a freelance translator, sometimes you might need more than they can provide. You may have a project on your hands that is on the more complex side and that requires many steps that would be better handled by a translation company

Here are some examples of when a workload may be too much for a single freelancer to handle. A brochure may require a DTP step at the end. Marketing campaign materials could require a back translation performed by a different linguist. If the materials are for publication, then you probably need a translation, editing, and proofreading workflow (aka the TEP process). It may also be the case that you need materials translated into several languages. 

All of these are examples of tasks that require the expertise of several different professionals. In other words, a project may require a dedicated team that can help you complete it from start to finish. The last thing you want to do is have to hire and manage multiple freelancers who will work separate from each other. A translation company will fill your project management needs and make sure the work is cohesive throughout the project. 

Working with Translation Companies

As previously noted, translation companies are experts at managing large translation projects. They can handle the whole project management process from start to finish. From the first scope analysis, to establishing the right workflow, to creating timelines, to selecting the right team of linguists, to making sure everything gets done in time.

Translation companies also employ in-house teams which ensures staff availability even when there’s a high volume project. These teams are dedicated to you and will be there for you long term. You won’t need to worry about inconsistency or new translators not knowing the specific needs or requirements of your projects.

Because of the organized processes translation companies have in place to ensure quality (such as ISO, which is a top industry standard) and the professionals they work with, they can achieve the highest quality for their customers.

Which is Right For You

We can’t make this call for you, your translation solution totally depends on your company’s needs and the specific requirements of the project. Choose carefully to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you’re happy with the end product!

In-House-Translators-vs.-Freelance-Translators
01/12/2021

Pros & Cons: In-House Translators vs. Freelance Translators

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!

In-House Translators

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. 

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

Freelance Translators

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. 

Pros

  • 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. 

Cons

  • 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.

The Takeaway

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!