Working with a translation agency or with an independent translator: advantages and disadvantages

The agency's professional translation team can provide a steady stream of texts translations on a wide variety of topics. Services are provided on a turnkey basis: your order is being processed, the most suitable specialists (proofreaders, editors and translators) are selected for its implementation, who will monitor the quality of services from the moment the order is accepted to its delivery.

You will never encounter a situation in which a responsible text on jurisprudence of is entrusted to a translator specializing in medical or technical texts. In such a business as translations, universal specialists are rare: it is difficult for a person to understand the intricacies of every sphere of society.

As a rule, one translator can deal with orders in several related areas (at least, three). Those of the “specialists” who claim that they can easily and efficiently translate texts from any field of knowledge, are cunning, as a rule. Translation agency statistics show that such performers declare their universal abilities when applying for a job, but then fail the very first tasks, breaking deadlines or performing translations of poor quality. After them, editors have to either give the work to another specialist who will complete the task correctly, or spend their own time correcting many errors.

If we talk about the speed of work, then, on average, an independent freelance translator can process from 5 to 10 standard reference pages per working day. But even such a low speed cannot be constant - some texts are translated faster, others - longer. Therefore, the final dates are difficult to predict.

If you need to translate quickly and efficiently a large amount of text into another language, it is better to contact a translation agency. In the agency, several employees can be involved in one job so the speed is multiplied. A medium-sized company can translate 150-500 reference pages per week. Higher speed may be available if a large number of specialists work on one job, including freelancers.

In addition, it is worth noting the importance of organizing the process and monitoring its progress. If proofreaders and editors check the work of translators in the agency, then the freelancer is left to himself, which worsens the quality of work. Even professional translators can make typos and other simple mistakes that are not related to knowledge of the language.

Therefore, agreeing on the deadlines for completing the task, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that additional time will be required for editing, proofreading and layout. In addition, force majeure circumstances may occur periodically during work, for which the agency reserves additional (reserve) time. This keeps deadlines from moving. Deadlines are rarely missed. The choice of the amount of time in case of unforeseen situations remains with the customer. The company undertakes to notify promptly of the possibility of such situations.

Independent translators cannot say the same about their work: the high daily workload does not allow for additional time for emergency tasks. No one can guarantee the completion of the work, because the freelancer is free to decide when and how much he will work. It can be said that the guarantee of receiving a translation in a short time is stronger when working with an agency.

Another conditions put forward by the customer is the non-disclosure of confidential information. In order for the guarantee to be valid, the parties sign a non-disclosure agreement. This can be done by both individuals and legal entities.

The reluctance to sign such documents is a good marker showing the degree of specialists` confidence  in the quality of their work. Novice translators and editors rarely agree to such conditions, despite the fact that they are fundamental in business.

Price is another marker. You can find a translator who is willing to work for a small fee, but you probably won't get a quality job. Experienced professionals charge more for services as their quality is higher.

As a rule, translations at a low price are illiterate and contain a large number of errors. Therefore, the agency sets prices at or above market levels. The cost of services includes the work of editors, proofreaders, experts on complex topics. The freelancer receives money exclusively for his own use.

Thus, we can draw the following conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of working with agencies and with independent translators.

Advantages of working with freelancers:

  • High-quality translation in several topics related to related fields of knowledge.
  • Translation price below the market average.
  • It is possible to contact directly the person responsible for the order.

Disadvantages of working with freelancers:

  • Low speed of work (usually up to 5-10 translation pages per day).
  • The works are checked by the performer himself, so errors, inaccuracies and understatements in the text are possible.
  • It is possible to entrust the work to a performer with low responsibility, who may refuse to work just before the expiration of the required deadline.
  • It is difficult to get a refund if errors are found later.

Advantages of working with agency:

  • Texts of any subject can be translated, as the staff has many employees specializing in different topics.
  • High performance speed.
  • Error checking is carried out in three stages, the customer does not receive text with typos and inaccuracies.
  • Confidentiality is guaranteed through the conclusion of an appropriate agreement.
  • There is a guarantee of receiving the finished text in a timely manner.

Disadvantages of working with agency:

  • There is no way to contact directly the person responsible for the job.
  • The price of services is slightly higher than the average market.

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