The freelance translator and our spirit of adventure

We told you in the first article of this little series what are the risks and why it’s risky when, without experience in the translation process and without a recommendation for the professional translator, or without the serious translation company that you actually need, you prefer to work with a translator that you “found on the internet” or on a classifieds website, but about whom you know nothing.

In short, you may be lucky enough to find a professional, with whom you get on perfectly and with whom you will always want to work for all the translations you need, or you may come across one of the two common enemies of the translation market: the unreliable or the incompetent.

(Yes, we are well aware that everyone can have a bad day or a bad time and be suddenly and all too easily pigeonholed into the unreliable or incompetent category. However, with open and direct communication, these situations can be remedied on the fly without anyone suffering consequences).

Translation companies and freelance translators

I’m sure you’ve wondered about the relationship between translation companies and freelance translators, so today we’ll tell you a bit about the behind-the-scenes work we do.

First and foremost, you should know that translation companies usually work with freelance translators – we are constantly working with professionals with whom we have long-term contractual relationships, and who we always call on when we need something translated quickly and well.

The professional freelance translator is essential

Professional freelance translators are essential for any serious translation company. They make up the firm’s resource base from which the Project Manager chooses the person they know best suited for each translation work, and for each client who brought it in. And to be honest to the end, they may also choose the person with whom they have ‘chemistry’.

Professional freelance translators are the ones who often make up for the lack of glossaries of terms preferred by the client (and who do research and make real databases for the various fields they translate into), and who often have to deal with incorrectly submitted, disorganised documents, that they first have to prepare, format and convert into usable files (all without exceeding set deadlines). They are also the ones able to take on and get done flawlessly, even at late hours, the document you want ready the next morning, or the one you showed up with at the beginning of the weekend, because you couldn’t have it earlier, and you need all of it first thing on Monday.

The translator relies on us, and we rely on them

They translate correctly and on time our clients’ materials and save us in emergency situations (like the one I told you about in the first part of the series). We give them the best terms we can provide and make sure payments reach them on time. The pay may not always be what the translators want, but the aim is to work together to develop this field, which the vast majority of translators have chosen out of passion.

Seriousness in both directions is very important in our profession, and all the collaborations we have depend on it!

Without serious translators who deliver the documents on time or even ahead of schedule, things would not work. And, yes, we have many such collaborators, who actually save us from tight spots, and to whom we are deeply grateful.

The translation market

In the translation business, supply, like demand, is very high. It is an extremely complex field, but at first glance it may seem easy for anyone to tackle – you need to know well enough at least one foreign language, have a computer with a text editor installed on it, and place an ad on a classifieds website. Then all you have to do is get work.

It seems trivial, but it’s as real as it gets that incompetence and unreliability in the field are real problems that professionals, companies and freelancers struggle with every day.

Because of those who do not treat translations with seriousness and passion, clients’ trust is eroded. Because of those who charge fees far below the fair price, just to “hook” a client, professional translators are forced to lower prices to levels that do not truly reflect the value of their work, and also have work extra hours daily.

How do you know who the professionals are?

How do you know which translator is a professional is the subject of the third article in our series.


If you would like to help us get our message across as clearly and accurately as possible in the field of translations and interpreting services, please drop us a line. Perhaps the situations we encounter are different from those you face. So come and give us ideas so that the whole “guild” knows where we can do things better. What do you want to share with your colleagues?

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