Choosing the translation service that’s right for you: agency or freelancer?

Having personally managed my fair share of translation requests from rush to… rush (is there really any other kind?!), I have dealt with the excruciatingly tedious, never-ending procedural agency to the simple single phone call to my preferred freelancer.

After working for several years at a large company that provides end-to-end Web solutions, I found my first week at 90 Degrees to be a breath of fresh air. For the first time in my life, I’m discovering how things get done from INSIDE an agency specialized in Web content – and I like what I see!

My conclusion after just a few days is this: both agencies and freelancers have their pros and cons. To answer the first question, you first need to ask yourself this one: “What are my translation needs?”

If you’re looking for a translator who can work on odd jobs from time to time, be they short or long contracts but within a relatively short time frame, then a reliable freelancer can prove to be a quick and simple solution. Freelancers can often commit to a block of hours in given week but generally have less availability for full-time projects that stretch over a longer period of time.

If your translation needs, however, involve large volumes of content – as is the case with large companies – then doing business with an agency specialized in translation services has several added advantages. Here are some of the best practices I find particularly valuable when dealing with voluminous content:

–      A highly efficient coordination process whereby all requests are funnelled through a “queen bee” – ensuring quick turnaround times on estimates and the delivery of final content on time and with utmost confidentiality

–      Tight quality management incorporating proofreading and final quality control – the final content should not only respect the level of language but also effectively achieve the communications objectives

–      Dedicated translators well versed in the client’s brand and editorial style act as gatekeepers to ensure accurate and consistent communications in a cost-efficient manner

–      Access to highly qualified personnel at competitive prices – translators should be thoroughly tested and carefully selected prior to being hired or contracted

–      Ability to provide complementary services, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and adaptation of original content

So which service is best for you? Well, it really depends on your needs Calling a freelancer is a faster and excellent option for short contracts. However, businesses dealing with large volumes of content would benefit more from collaborating with an agency that respects the crucial elements listed above.

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