Freelancers vs. LSPs?
No matter if you’re just starting out on your international journey or you’re an international business veteran, making that big decision on who’ll handle your translations is never easy. Do you go for a freelancer because they’re that little bit cheaper? Or do you get a professional translation agency on board? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both options to help you make an informed decision on what’s best for you.
Translation Agency & Recruiting
When it comes to recruiting translators, if you want to do it right, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. There are so many people out there who offer translations, so sifting through them all and picking out the good from the bad can sometimes be a bit tougher than it might seem at first. Plus, that’s made even harder if you don’t actually speak the language you’re translating into.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a translation agency is the fact that translation agencies do all of the hard work for you. They normally have a dedicated vendor manager who’s full-time job is to source out the best linguists out there and test them to make sure that they’re good enough to work on your texts.
If your translation agency is ISO certified like us, they’ll have the following basic criteria for picking out linguists:
- Must have a degree in linguistics and 2 years experience, OR:
- Must have a relevant industry degree and at least 5 years of translation experience
Then, they’re able to test all new linguists by using their existing and trusted linguists. They’ll give the agency their honest opinion on the recruit’s ability, which proves invaluable as it’s impossible for anyone’s vendor manager to speak every single language fluently!
Next, comes the aftercare. A Vendor Manager has time to follow up, assess, and put on training for translators who have been with a company for a while so that they can ensure that they don’t get complacent, and have the most up-to-date skills possible.
Some companies have the ability to mimic this in-house and can recruit translators in a really effective way – which is when working with freelancers might be the perfect option for you. But for those of you with limited resources, don’t add more to your plate and leave the recruiting to a translation agency.
Turn around times and upscaling
The next point we’re going to touch on is turn around times. Working with a couple of close freelancers is perfect when you’ve got regular amounts of translations needing to be done, but what if something happens and you need to upscale? This is where a translation agency comes in.
Rather than having to rush to upscale and recruit linguists who might not be the best fit for your translation needs, translation agencies like us have hundreds of qualified and tested linguists ready to help. This can be of benefit in 2 scenarios – if you’re using freelancers and need a little bit of extra support for a time, we’re happy to help you, meaning you can simply go back to normal when the busy period is over. And secondly, there’s no limit on time or resources so we can continue to scale up for you as long as you need.
Plus, as we have all these extra resources, it means that we can be a lot more flexible with turn around times. We know what it’s like when you need a translation…chances are you needed it yesterday! But when you work with a freelancer, they’ll probably have other clients. And you’ll have to wait and fit around them, whereas a translation agency can fit around you. We can even put teams of linguists together to get a particularly massive project done is next to no time at all.
Investing in technology is expensive. And unfortunately, translation technology is no exception. When you do everything in-house, the cost of investing in the latest translation technology then falls on you. You could decide not to use the latest translation technology, but that’ll cost you more in the long run, unfortunately.
Anyway, here’s what translation agencies generally invest in:
- TMS: standing for translation management system, a TMS is used to manage every single aspect of your translations. From storing all of your freelancers’ contracts to keeping detailed information about every single project done, they prove invaluable, especially with their advanced reporting and financing capabilities.
- CAT tools: meaning Computer Aided Translation, CAT tools should never be mixed up with Google translate and the like. CAT tools are special pieces of software that help human translators do their job. Through glossary features and TMs, they help to remember what a translator has translated before so that if a sentence comes up twice, they don’t have to re-translate it ever again – they’ll simply give it a once over and click approve. As CAT tools help translators improve not only their productivity but their quality, having a CAT tool is a vital piece of a translation toolbox. What’s even better is that you get discounts on the savings!
- MT: machine translation is the professional equivalent of Google translate. Special engines are trained using proper training data, meaning the quality of the output is far superior to something you’d get online. Having MT software is perfect for companies who translate a lot of text that doesn’t need to go to print, as it helps increase TATs and saves money on human costs. When paired with MTPE which is MT plus post-editing by a human translator, you can get amazing results on your translated documents.
As there are so many different software options available, freelancers often don’t have the budget to invest in these solutions themselves. You’ll have to invest and provide them with access if you require a particular tool. With a translation agency, however, we have all of these tools in-house meaning you don’t have to spend a penny on translation technology!
A Translation Agency Equals Human approach
One of the things we hear pretty often is from companies who are worried about the lack of personal touch when they deal with a translation agency. We hear you! But this is definitely not something that has to be seen as a problem. We totally understand that when you work with a freelancer, you’re able to train them up and treat them as part of your team – but you can do the same with a translation agency, too!
As a company, we love partnering with clients and becoming a valuable member of their team. We’re happy to learn about your products and what you do so that we can convert that knowledge into international success. Plus, you can expect the same level of advice from us as you would a freelancer…maybe even more!
We hope we’ve helped you shed a light on the benefits of working with a translation agency. You have to choose whatever option is best for your company – but no matter what you decide to go for, remember we’re here to help. Also, if you’d like a bit of friendly advice if you’re a bit unsure of which route to take, we’re here for you. No strings attached.