When it comes to translation there are a limited number of routes a business can take.
There are many free programs that are available, but needless to say, most have serious downsides and should never be used for important documents.The alternative is to hire an in-house translator, though this is a big investment of both training time and money, and is therefore only worth it for larger companies with more extensive workloads.
Then there are the professional services. These fall into two main categories:an individual freelance translator or an agency that employs many translators who cover a variety of areas and languages.
An important consideration for any business that requires translation services will be choosing the right fit from these options.
Is it a one off or sporadic translation?
If you are planning on doing a lot of translation work in one particular language then a freelance translator may be perfect. You can build a relationship with your translator while they can develop their knowledge of your business. Ideally you would find somebody who already has some working knowledge of your industry which allows them to use expert language within their translations with little prior research.
However for more sporadic translation work, or if you need to translate into multiple languages, an agency is going to be a more efficient option. Otherwise you might have to
employ several different independent translators.
London Translations, the first translation service to be awarded the British Standard For Translation, said in an article that ‘large translation projects are complex involving many people each with different skills along with specialist software and tools. Managing such projects is a full time specialist job and hence outsourcing to an agency can actually work out cheaper than hiring and training in-house project managers. Reputable translation companies will also carry insurance to protect you in the event of problems.’
The size of an agency, therefore, can be beneficial to both large and multilingual projects, ensuring that the best person is put forward for each task from their team of expert translators. This allows a small business to sit back and let an agency take care of the details, with confidence that the end product will be on point – as long as it is a well regarded translation company.
Do you have time to background check?
For one off tasks it may be simpler to work with an individual, as long as you can check their credentials. If your company is willing to put in the time and effort you can find a brilliant freelance translator that you may want to work with for years.
It is very important to be thorough when looking to work with a freelancer by checking qualifications and references. Unfortunately tt is easier to lie to potential clients as a freelancer than it is as a large company.
Most translation companies will have customer reviews. If they don’t then that should raise a red flag in itself. It may take a bit longer researching a freelancer but it may end up in a lower fee if it’s a one off job. Generally a freelance translator will cost you less as they do not have employees to pay.
However what you may gain in savings you may lose in time, as often agencies have better equipment and translation machines to aid their translators and may be better at managing a large workload within a set time frame.
Generally, if your project is either a quick one off or an on-going and regular occurrence in one language then a freelancer will probably be the most cost-effective option. However if the work is sporadic, involves many languages or needs a great deal of management – outsourcing to an agency will be the quickest and best option.