Freelance Foreign Language Translators may be an Ideal Choice

To meet your translation needs, freelance foreign language translators may suit the best. Here are the pros.


foreign language translators

Personal relationship: When you communicate with your translator directly you have a personal contact, the same type of personal contact you have with your physician, lawyer, or real estate agent.

You do not have to rely on an intermediary (a project manager of a translation company) in the hope that s/he will accurately convey your translation requirements to the translator and that s/he will ensure that the translator understands them.

While anonymity may be frustrating in the translation process, personal relationship helps to build trust beneficial both for you and your foreign language translator. On the one hand, translation of your important document will not be placed with a “nameless” translator, one of hundreds language professionals registered on the books of a translation agency. On the other hand, the translator will not have to translate for a “faceless” company, the one standing in the long chain of translation buyers not known to this translator.

Each time you need a new translation, you will deal not with a different translator found by the project manager (which may be frustrating), but with the same translator whom you know and who knows your business. The latter factor is critical. Why? Because it influences translation quality.

Cost cutting: In these economic times, hiring freelance translators will definitely save you money. On average, freelance translators charge 20%-50% less for their work compared to translation agencies.

Translation quality: Good foreign language translators will literally scrutinize your text. They may have questions regarding the style of or technical terms in your document. They may even found mistakes that you’ve overlooked. For translators, it is easier and less time-consuming to clarify everything with you, the client, directly than send emails via the project manager. The better the translator understands your company’s spirit, philosophy, products and services, the more accurate and clear his translation will be. So, actually, it is in the best interest of the translation buyer to talk to the translator directly.


Inability to translate large volumes in a short space of time. If you have a tight deadline and a large document for translation, the individual freelance translator is not the right choice for you. One translator can produce a quality translation of 2,000-4,000 words per day, on average. (Of course, if the text is full of repetitions and you can provide a respective translation memory, the translator will translate more words.) However, if you need your 10,000-word brochure to be translated for tomorrow, please go to a translation agency.

Inability to handle multilingual projects. As a rule, foreign language translators translate between two languages, sometimes – between three, and rarely more than that number. If you need to translate your product description into 5+ languages, please contact a translation agency.

Inability to perform complex multi-stage tasks. For example, in addition to the foreign language translator, you need a separate proofreader to proofread the translation. Or, perhaps, you need desktop publishing services, back translation, linguistic validation. Then you should deal with a translation agency.

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_____________________________________________________________________ Website owner: Irina Lychak, self-employed freelance linguist, Russian translator, Ukrainian translator, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine

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