Let’s face it: it’s no longer necessary to engage a language translation company for jobs. The rise of the platforms means that you can hire someone directly, and this may be just the thing for you if you want to compare among different levels of skills, experience and pricing, and you prefer to do the legwork yourself. However, the decision to hire someone online or a translation company should depend on your specific needs. 

Here are some things to consider:

The Pros

  • Convenience. It’s easy to find and hire a translator for your language combination by doing a search based on your needs, and it’s faster than dealing with an agency.
  • Pricing. Online marketplaces offer competitive pricing and you can compare prices of different translators, making it easier to find someone that fits your budget. They may also be less expensive than a traditional translation company.
  • Speed. You can find a translator quickly and efficiently, which can be especially helpful if you have a tight deadline.
  • Global access.  You can choose from a large pool of translators from all over the world. If you are localizing by market, this is particularly helpful.
  • Variety. There’s a wide variety of translators to choose from, in many language combinations and areas of expertise, making it easy to find just the person you’re looking for.

The Cons

  • Quality control. There’s no guarantee that translators on an online marketplace are qualified or experienced. Some may not be native speakers of the target language, or may not have the necessary expertise in your specific subject matter. In addition, they may not have the same quality control system in place that a professional translation agency would have.
  • Lack of accountability. It can be difficult to hold translators accountable for mistakes or delays, as communication and dispute resolution can be more difficult.
  • Security. Online marketplaces can be a haven for scammers … and not just those who could compromise confidential information. It’s easy enough to use a free online tool like Google Translate or DeepL and pass off the work as original without any quality control – and then charge you for it.
  • Pricing. The pricing for translators can vary greatly, and you may end up paying more than you would through a traditional agency.
  • Limited options. You may not find the specific translator you need with the expertise you need for your project.
  • Trust. If you’re translating into a language you speak, this is less of an issue because you can check for yourself if the work is up to par. But if you’re translating into a language you don’t understand, you’re taking a big chance. How will you know that the work is good? And even if you speak the language, do you want to spend the time doing quality control and corrections, especially with lengthy documents? If the documents are complex or involve confidential matters, do you feel comfortable turning them over to a complete stranger?
  • Reliability. There’s always the chance that a freelancer may not deliver the work on time or deliver the quality work that you’re expecting.

Hiring a translator from an online marketplace can be a good option because of the large pool of professionals available, and you can easily compare qualifications, rates and reviews. However, it’s important to make sure they have the necessary skills and experience for your project. This may take some research. It’s also important to check reviews and feedback to get an idea of the quality of their work and the level of customer service they provide. Not everything requires a translation company, but at the same time not everything is adequate for a freelance translator that you don’t know. It all comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re still unsure, talk to the experts at Transforma and we’ll gladly guide you through the process and give you your best options.