Head to head: Who’s better for translating – freelancers or a translation company?

The market is full of translators working as freelancers, and you aren’t sure whether to use one of them, or instead rely on a large and recognized translation company? We help you sort out the issues and decide who should do your translations.

When examining the advantages and disadvantages of freelance translation versus translation using a translation company, there are a number of parameters that can help you make the right decision suited to your needs. Some of them may seem a bit trivial, but they are also an important component of the comprehensive picture, which will help you understand who you should work with – and why.

  • Availability: When you order a project, it’s important to know that your supplier is available for any question, request or problem. A freelancer will generally work with a number of customers, which means that they are not always available for work when you need them, which may lead you, the customer, to look for an alternative translator, one you aren’t familiar with and don’t know the quality of their translation, or how reliable they are.
    On the other hand, a translation company has a large reserve of translators in every language, who have undergone translation tests and whose translation quality has received a “professional stamp”. If one translator is not available, there’s always a backup ready.
  • Reliability: Sometimes, you’ll get a translation from a freelancer, and you won’t be satisfied and want to make some corrections as quickly as possible, but they have already taken a new project and don’t have the time, not to mention the fact that they are asking additional payment for the work. Unlike many translators on the market, the translation company is committed to taking responsibility for the translation provided to the customer, and therefore, the engagement contract usually includes at least one round of corrections. In addition, there can be no situation in which a customer doesn’t receive a quick and professional response from the company’s service personnel.
  • Quality:True, there are excellent freelancers on the market, but on the other hand, there’s no shortage of translators who lack a proper quality control process. As translators don’t always have a linguistic editing certificate, sometimes the translation sent to you does not undergo additional editing. On the other hand, because a translation company works in a manner similar to a newspaper – with a writer, editor and linguistic editor (meaning three pairs of eyes go over the text prior to it being published), the quality control process is organized and includes the additional pair of eyes of experienced editors, who ensure that the language and style match the style guide, and that there are no spelling errors or typos, that the translation is consistent and that the text meets all accepted standards. Furthermore, using technological tools, Hever Translations makes sure that the entire text has been translated, and that no part has been omitted, the language is consistent, there are no missing tags and so on.
  • Output – an average translator translates about 2500-3000 words per day, depending on the type of material and the platform used. Medical materials, for instance, require more research time, and therefore the daily number of words is smaller. When a freelancer takes a major project, they can’t always afford to work on this project alone and postpone additional projects. As a result, quite a few freelancers work on a number of projects a the same time, which slows down the rate of work on your project. A translation company has the option of dividing a number of projects among different translators without overloading them, while maintaining the quality of the translation. The work is distributed while placing an emphasis on the number of tasks given to each translator and on the allocation of suitable resources for quality control.
  • Price – the issue of price is important to every customer, in every project. Sometimes, you’ll find that freelancers offer you more attractive prices, mainly as they’re working from home and the price does not include other operating costs. On the other hand, after weighting in the quality of work, the quality control process, the availability and the fast response time, you may find that, in fact, the attractive price came at the expense of other important elements of your project.
  • A single contact – what happens if you need to translate into a number of languages? What if you need both marketing and legal translation? Each language or subject requires a different translator with a suitable area of expertise. When working with a translation company, the customer speaks with a single contact, who then works with all of the translators. The customer does not need to waste valuable time and endless emails managing the project.
  • Technology – a translation company will always have a technological edge over a freelance translator. In general, a freelancer will work with just one translation tool, or maybe two, while a serious translation company will support a larger number of tools. In addition, a freelancer works on their personal computer and depends on their ISP. If there’s a problem with the network, they’re stuck. A translation company has servers in its office or servers on a server farm with 24/7 support and the ability to provide an immediate response.
  • Access to uncommon languages – despite the easy access to databases, it’s not always easy to find translators in every language who will also be suited to your needs. A customer can waste many hours just finding a translator, while a translation company has all the resources it needs in its database.

In the end, with both options in the balance, you’ll find that translating through a company has many advantages over working directly with a freelancer. Even in the event of translating to one language at a low frequency, it’s important to understand that a freelancer will not be able to provide the same quality and efficiency as a professional translation company, so if the translation is important to you, it’s better to pay a bit more but know that you’ll receive the highest-quality product.