You’ve been looking to open an overseas branch of your company or otherwise expand your business into a new overseas consumer market and you now need to translate your website or advertising and promotional work into the native language of your target consumers to make your service or product accessible and appealing to your new target audience or you have already established a global company and need either translations of internal documents to keep all your international employees on the same page or translations of company information or PR to present to the public.
Now what should do you? Who should you choose for the task?
Who to trust with your translation?
Now you have to choose whether to hire a professional translation company or an independent freelance translator.
There is no hard and fast rule and it can be confusing when choosing who to place your order with. Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Below I will go through some of them to help ease you through the selection process.
Freelance Translator vs Professional Translation Company
Freelance translators are contracted individuals. They can be based anywhere in the world and are generally hired through the internet and work remotely from home. They often provide the lowest cost option as unlike a professional translation company which is subject to numerous overhead costs including rent and other utilities for office premises, salaries for management staff and in-house translators as well as higher tax payments, freelancers can offer lower prices which do not incorporate these additional overhead costs. It is important to be aware that these overheads will of course be included in the cost of the services provided by a professional translation company and so more often than not, you must be prepared to pay more. With a freelance translator, you will only need to pay the actual cost of your translation needs and can avoid extra costs.
Having said that, working with freelance translators presents significant challenges not present when hiring a professional translation company. Companies in particular, which require translations to be done precisely, efficiently and quickly and may require various types of documents to be translated including product data sheets, advertising campaigns, marketing communication, financial statements, annual reports and contracts could well benefit from hiring a professional translation service which can offer many advantages in these areas over an independent freelance translator.
Multiple Languages and Fields
One good reason why you may want to choose a translation company is that you need to translate your documents into more than one language or you have translations that cover multiple document types. A professional translation company such as Samurai Translators more likely has the capability of translating your document into multiple languages and can provide translations specific to each field or industry. Another reason why it might also be preferable to hire a translation company is because a translation company is capable of managing the entire translation process: finding translators for each language pair and document type, distributing the files, tracking project progress, collecting files from multiple translators, arranging quality control and carrying out the final delivery.
Faster Turnaround Time
Freelance translators likely have several jobs on the go at once and tend to handle them single-handedly, so your work may not always take first priority and a freelance translator may not be able to get around to it as quickly as you would like. Also, freelance translators are responsible for carrying out the entire translation and proofing alone unlike a translation company which can allocate more than one person to handle your translation, meaning the turnaround time for your translation will probably be slower than that offered by a translation company. Generally, a translation company will have the best availability and most consistent turnaround times.
In addition, quality may vary and be inconsistent across different freelance translators. It may be difficult to find a translator at the professional level required. Freelance translators can advertise themselves as they wish while in general a professional translation company will vet their translators to ensure they are of the standard they profess to be. Many independent freelance translators do not have extensive expertise in all document types. On the other hand, a professional translation company will be able to match your requirements with a suitable translator to ensure a better quality of work. A professional translation company will be able to provide a high-quality translation specific to your industry’s needs. Since translation companies are focused on translation specifically, they possess the expertise to give you the best-quality product available. Not to mention that at a translation company, a translator’s work is proofed and edited by other qualified staff which guarantees a lower chance of errors and mistranslations than in work procured from a freelance translator who checks his/her own work.
Project Quality Management
The advantage of a professional translation company is that they have established processes for translation. A professional translation company will set up work flow protocols and systems that ensure that the tone, style and terminology is maintained throughout texts and across languages. A professional translation company will also help you standardize key terms to ensure that your customers are able to identify the product features more easily. Furthermore, confidentiality protocols at a translation company are more adept at ensuring that confidential documents are strictly managed. An established translation company has experience in what works best and the expertise to provide high-quality translations.
Project Adjustment and Scaling Up
It is easier to adjust and scale up your translation needs when working with a professional translation company. Whether the volume of text required to be translated increases or the number of languages required to be translated into increases, a professional translation company will be able accommodate your needs both in terms of having the right professionals at hand and in terms of speed.
Professional translation companies also often offer additional services such as notarization services or certification services if you require a translation to be certified or authenticated in order to be submitted to certain institutions.
Translation companies may have higher costs than freelance contractors. However, this is due to the level of management and quality control present in a professional translation company. This level of accuracy and quality cannot be controlled with cheaper freelance options. As such, a professional translation company is usually the best option to ensure a translation that meets your needs.