A Freelance Translator or a Translation Agency: Which Should You Choose?

If you need a language services provider, you’ll most likely turn to the typical search on Google or websites for professionals. The number of results can be overwhelming, but what’s true is that the vast majority can be classified into two big categories: freelance translators and translations agencies. Which is right for you?

The first thing you have to know is that one option isn’t better than the other, but rather it depends on your specific needs. How large and complex is your project? How much time do you have? What’s your budget? I hope this basic guide helps you understand the differences between a freelance translator and a translation agency and, in short, make the best possible decision.

Translation agencies

One of the main advantages of translation agencies is that the language combinations they offer are much more varied than those of freelance translators. While an independent professional specializes in one or a few combinations, agencies don’t have this limit. So, if you need to translate a single text into a set of different languages, choosing a good agency can save you time and effort.

Translation agencies also tend to have the capacity to carry out extensive jobs in less time than freelancers. If necessary, they can assign a team to the project so that they can move forward much faster.

On a related note, it should be pointed out that a translation agency can take care of complex work flows. For example, an agency can create subtitles from a video, translate them into another language, and proofread them without you needing to contact several professionals. It should be clear that good translators always review their own work, but an external review is always recommendable.

Freelance translators

Freelance translators might not be able to compete with agencies on what we talked about above, but they have their own advantages that you should take into account.

The first is that they offer you much more personalized service than the majority of translation agencies. In general, a freelance translator works with fewer clients in their day-to-day, their inbox isn’t as saturated, etc. For this reason, they can pay more attention to your particular needs, clear up any doubts, ask you questions, and more.

What’s more, translation companies themselves often outsource part of their work to freelance translators! If you want to communicate with your translator without any intermediaries, choose a freelancer.

In the case of freelance translators, you can count on their complete commitment. Agencies are more complex organizations that often work with numerous assignments simultaneously whereas freelancers tend to limit the number of projects they take on at a particular time.

Lastly, a freelance translator’s fees tend to be lower and more negotiable than an agency’s. Both companies and freelancers set their prices taking into account costs and benefits, but generally, the latter are more willing to adapt them based on the type of assignment, its urgency, and other factors.

Picture: Justin Luebke