When you need some translations done for your company and no one speaks the target language, you'll need to call in some outside help. You'll be faced with deciding whether you should opt for a translation agency or an individual translator. What are the pros and cons of each?
Unless your company has an unlimited budget, you're likely looking for someone who has an affordable pay rate. Agencies generally have predetermined prices, so you will not have much room for negotiation. Individual translators may be more likely to negotiate their prices as they often work for themselves and have some free reign here. You may be able to get an even lower price by working with someone who has just started in the industry.
You want to be certain that the translator you are using has experience in this field. Just because a person can speak two languages does not mean that he or she is capable of being a proficient translator. When you are working with a translation agency, there is more of a guarantee that the workers have been certified to work in this field. You can check reviews of them online, and you can consult with the Better Business Bureau to truly discover the company's reputation. If you're working with an individual, particularly with someone who does not have a lot of experience on the job, you will likely be unable to find such reviews.
Reliability and Accessibility
Let's say that the individual does not show up on time for your meeting. If the person is associated with an agency, you can call up the agency's number. Therefore, someone else working there can fix the problem by locating the employee or by sending a replacement. When you are working with an individual, you might not be able to get in touch with him or her. On the other hand, working with an individual ensures that you have direct access to the translator. When working with an agency, you may have to go through a series of people to reach the individual with whom you are working.
It's possible to establish rapport with an individual from an agency or a person who works for his or herself. It all depends upon the people. However, sometimes it may be easier to have a long lasting relationship with an individual. While a huge company will likely have stellar reviews, you will probably just become another number in the crowd. With an individual person, you can keep returning to that translator time and time again if agreeable to both parties, so you are working with someone whom you trust.
Deciding who to use for translation services on big projects is difficult. You want to be sure that you are making the correct decision while staying within budget. You can use either a translation agency or a freelancing individual. The decision really depends upon what you are looking for in the services and with what you are most comfortable.
Ben Cook writes about translation, finance & finding the best travel insurance.