Freelance Translator vs. Translation Agency: What is the Best Option

An independent or freelance translator would work alone (from home) and offer translation into one or two language pairs and in a limited number of areas.

Advantages:

  • price, no extra charges;
  • no middle men;
  • direct contact (doubts can be resolved much quicker);
  • translator’s experience and qualifications can be verified.

A translation company or agency market translation services in an enormous number of language pairs and subject areas.  However, they cannot afford to have in-house translators in all the languages they advertise and, therefore, they have to rely on individual translators (from their database), the ones they have selected and tested previously.
It has been quite common that these agencies or companies should offer other services along with translations to meet their clients’ requirements. 

Advantages:

  • technical support;
  • professional project manager;
  • other services to complement the translation;

For single and straightforward translations projects it is a good option to work directly with a professional translator in terms of communication fluidity and costs. But, if the project involves several languages pairs, great volume of words and required technical expertise it is worth working with a “competent” translation company who will supposedly assign professionals to manage the project both linguistically and technically.

You will often here the following comments from freelance translators: unfortunately the relationship between the independent translator and the agency/company is never an easy one.

The main reasons being:

  • the lowest possible rates paid to the translator;
  • delay payment;
  • change hands often.

P.S: Having said that, there are also many excellent translation companies or agencies in the market.

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