If you want to have a text translated, you have several options. Either have it done by a colleague who appears to be quite a linguist, or do it yourself or outsource it. When outsourcing it you either opt for a freelance translator or a translation agency. What are the differences between a freelancer and an agency? What to take into account when choosing the one to work on your translation?

It can’t be said that working with a translation agency is always the best idea. Nor does it have to be a bad thing to work with a freelance translator. To help you find the right translation collaboration partner, we have listed the main differences between freelance translators and translation agencies.

A translation agency has a (very) comprehensive quality control in place

As a translation agency we really stand for quality. This means that we apply an extensive quality control. As soon as the translation is ready, a reviewer will check the complete translation. Once your translation has been reviewed, it will be forwarded to your project manager. She or he will not only review the translation but will also keep your little wish list at hand. Is the layout correct? Have your preferred terms been used? Freelance translators don’t do this or not in a very extensive way – and they often don’t have those three pairs of eyes at their disposal either.

We always recommend having your translations checked before actually publishing them. If you’re going to work with a freelance translator, look for a second translator. Or be aware of the risk that you may not have an error-free translation.

With a translation agency you can be sure that the right translator is working on your translation

You probably want a high-quality translation which both a freelance translator and a translation agency can arrange for you. It’s up to you to determine what you consider to be “high-quality” which is a fairly easy process. Search for references, read about the working method and feel free to ask about the experience the freelance translator or translation agency should have. Translating is not a protected profession, so anyone can call themselves a translator. The advantage of a translation agency is that they would have already checked this out for you. Our Vendor Manager, Grace van Engelenburg, picks the best candidates.

An additional advantage; as translation agencies collaborate with many translators, there will always be that particular one with experience in your sector and type of text.

One freelance translator can’t handle multilingual projects

Native translators always produce good translations. As a translation agency has a large database filled with native translators they are the best place to go to for multiple language combinations. Just to give you an idea; Euro-Com’s portfolio contains 800 language combinations. A translator who only translates into the mother tongue will not accept multilingual assignments – unless they outsource them themselves.

Reading tip: Why native translators provide better translations

The project manager of a translation agency can unburden you substantially which saves you a lot of time

Is your translation project a large one and do you want to have your texts translated into a number of different languages? Or is your text quite a big job due to the amount of words or different specialties? Here the difference between a freelancer and a translation agency is your time investment. If you want to work with a freelance translator, it will often take a lot of time. You will be looking for the right translators yourself, then you would want to screen them and eventually you will be the one maintaining contact with all the different translators. Translators who may have a lot of questions.

Some translation agencies, including Euro-Com, employ project managers. They take a lot of work off your hands. If someone has a question, the translators will not contact you but your project manager. Your project manager knows exactly what your wishes and preferences are and will answer these questions for you. This saves you a lot of time.

A translation agency ensures that all deadlines are met

Difference between freelance translator and translation agency

A good freelance translator will, of course, always do his or her best to meet the deadline. The fact, however, is that translating is the work of humans and translators sometimes catch the flu. In that case you’re in luck if the freelancer has a backup plan and a second translator on hand.

A translation agency has such a large network that the project managers can make a quick switch in the event of force majeure and still ensure that you will receive your translation before the deadline expires. Even if it concerns an urgent translation.

Once delivered by a translation agency, your translation is immediately ready for use – including layout

Not really eager to do all kinds of things with your translation once you’ve received the text? A translation agency will gladly take that off your hands as well. Whether it concerns a file in InDesign, audio, transcriptions, voice-overs or completely laid-out texts; we will ensure that your translation is immediately ready for use. Euro-Com even has its own DTP team who will gladly ensure that your document can go straight to the printer’s.

Who uses which software?

Renowned translation agencies use specialist software. (No, not Google Translate.) This software helps to produce consistent translations, realises an even higher quality of the translations and lowers the price if you have a translation memory set up. Not every freelance translator – nor every translation agency – uses this software, so do inquire about this if the best quality is important to you.

The difference in price between a freelance translator and a translation agency

If you request a quote, the final total will tell you that a freelance translator is often cheaper than the translation agency. It can’t hurt, however, to review – or inquire – what exactly you are paying for. Is the higher price of the translation agency worth it if you consider the following points?

• The check of the reviewer and project manager is already included in our word rate. As is the work that your project manager takes off your hands. A freelance translator often charges a word rate only based on the translation itself. If, when opting for a freelancer, you also want to engage a reviewer, these costs will be added.
• Translation agency Euro-Com makes use of translation memories which will lower your investment. It is not self-evident that a freelance translator does the same or is able to, so be sure to ask.
• From the first assignment onwards you will receive a discount on repeated words. If certain words appear more often in a text, you will receive a discount – and you have our specialist software to thank for that.

Would a translation agency or a freelance translator suit you and your job better?

You are the only one who knows the answer to the question whether a translation agency or a freelance translator is a better fit for you and the translation work you need to have done. It totally depends on what you want and the translation assignment in question. This blog post will help you think about what is important to you, what to consider and to then make the best choice.

Do you choose a translation agency? In that case you need to find the right one. A reading tip: 6 essential things you need to know to choose the right translation agency.

Would you like to know more about our working method or are you curious about our view on what you need? If so, contact our project managers!