The freelance translator and your spirit of adventure

A freelance translator may seem like a cheaper and quicker solution than using the services of a translation company. This meas that, at least in theory, they should work for lower fees. Also in theory, if the middleman were to disappear, everything would be faster. If you’ve ever thought that using the services of a freelance translator directly is simpler, and perhaps even money saving, we will share with you in this article why it’s not the best idea.

The freelance translator must be found

Some obstacles are obvious.

  • For example, and especially in the case of rare languages, how do you find someone you trust to translate what you need – on time?
  • How do you make sure the translator you chose has done the job properly?
  • How do you check what you get if you don’t know the language yourself?
  • How do you make sure that the rate the translator offers you is appropriate for the language, the type of translation and the volume of work?

But other obstacles are not so obvious, and they are, in fact, all the situations in which you can find yourself with a translation when the freelance translator of your choice makes various mistakes. And then, you become the one who has to resolve the situation created, in time and with minimum loss.

The freelance translator is not necessarily serious

Either they have a few bad days or they take on too much work and postpone some jobs in favour of others.

Let’s imagine the following situation: you have a 300-page Hungarian translation that you need in, say, 30 days. You find a translator who is recommended as being serious and you call on him. The freelance translator makes you an offer, which you accept without question and with confidence. Then they confidently take on the entire document, you get assurances that everything is OK and that you will receive the translation within the agreed deadline. Every week you give the translator a follow-up call to ask if everything is OK, if anything else is needed, if the translation is going according to plan. The translator assures you each time that the translation is in progress and that there are no problems.

So far so good, isn’t it?

But then the deadline comes and you wait for the translation. In the morning don’t worry, because first everyone has to drink their coffee/tea and start the day. The afternoon then passes and you start to worry. So you pick up the phone and call the translator. And you find out that there’s still work to be done, you’re asked to wait a week longer, and then you ask them to send you at least the part of the material that has already been translated.

And you get it. 14 pages. 4.6% of the work that was supposed to be done already.

It’s hard to replace the freelance translator

In this situation, real and recent, we quickly solved the problem. We handed the translation over to another translator, who got the job done in a timely manner.

But Transl8 is a translation company and has the necessary resources. We know several translators even for rare languages, we know which of them can take on urgent situations immediately, and we can distribute a large translation work to several translators, each with their own share of material, and then have the whole material unified and brought to a common denominator (wording, terminology, formatting) by a reviser. All of this is possible quickly and with a minimum of wasted time for a translation company, but it is impossible for the individual who ventures alone in working with the freelance translator.

Of course, there are also situations where things go well, translations are good and deadlines are met.

But can you afford to risk it?

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