Freelance Translator vs a Team of Translators

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Every year business companies invest a lot of money in outsourcing their translation projects to either freelance translators or translation companies.
According to figures, only one third of these businesses are pleased with their language services providers.
The odds show satisfaction from freelance translators vs. translation companies been 1:4 in advantage of translation companies.

Professional translation companies have in-house IT, DTP, project management and quality assurance departments.

Translation companies as a rule prefer to work with national teams of translators rather than with individual freelancers. Team work is now gradually becoming the norm in translation companies.

What is a team of translators?

A team of translators usually consists of:

  • Translators

Translators are native speakers of the source language. They input all available resources into the material for translation. In their work, translators interact with a translation facilitator.

  • Translation facilitator

Translation facilitators contribute with linguistic and/or technical help.

  • Translation consultant

Translation consultants are experienced translation facilitators. They provide language-specific and industry specific expertise and monitor the translation quality.

  • Translation reviewer

A translation reviewer is a native speaker of the source language who checks the draft translation and gives feedback and recommendations.

Freelance translator vs a translation company

  • A freelance translator is usually an expert in one or couple of languages and is not suitable for multilingual translation needs. A translation company can handle large-scale multilingual translation projects.

  • A freelance translator is not suitable for large scale projects with tight deadlines. While teams of translators at translation companies mean faster turn-around times, even on larger and complicated projects.

  • A freelance translator typically has expertise in one or couple of industry areas and can not deal effectively with various specializations (legal, commercial, technical, medical, financial, IT, chemical translation etc). By contrast, a translation company has a big pool of translators who have linguistic and translation education as well as practical work experience with a specific industry field and will pick the most qualified and suitable one for your industry specific translation need.

  • To be successful, a freelance translator has to also be a computer expert (in a way) investing money in buying and learning how to work software as  text from clients may be sent in different electronic formats. Nowadays, desktop publishing and website localisation services are a must. A translation company on another hand, will typically have an in-house IT team of experts who support all the well-known DTP programs and are capable of working with any file format given and in any language.

  • Few freelancers offer project management services as well as valuable additional services such as proofreading, editing, back translation, transcription and glossary creation. A translation company supports and offers all of the aforementioned services.

  • If a freelance translator offers proofreading services, then there is the quandary of proofreading one’s own work. The same applies to quality assurance control. It’s often hard to verify the quality of an independent translator, and they are not on call as are a fully-staffed translation company. Unlike individual translators, translation companies work with teams of professional translators. This ensures that your documents are reviewed by several eyes and assures the final output’s quality.

  • Freelance translators often use an inflexible price list, while translation companies have enough capacity to offer flexible pricing. Lastly, translation companies offer accountability and follow a policy of building intensive and long-standing relationships with clients.

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