Translation Company or freelance translator: Which one is the best choice?



You need translation services to translate a contract or catalogue, for example, from Portuguese to English. But you are unsure whether contacting a translation company or a freelance translator is best.

We will now present the main Pros and Cons of each one to help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of working with a freelancer

  • More affordable

Working directly with a translator can provide attractive cost savings when translating your documents. In the end, you only end up paying for the translation.

  • Ability to speak directly with the translator

By being able to communicate directly with the translator, you can explain your exact intentions – and the importance of the translation to you or your company – to the person who will be doing the translation work. Similarly, the translator can contact you directly with questions about the source document.

  • You choose who you work with

You also have the ability to choose the translator of your personal preference and, as such, know precisely who will be translating your documents.

Disadvantages of working with a freelancer

  • Choosing the right translator

The last advantage can also be a disadvantage. You will have to dedicate some time to researching and selecting the right translator for the language and area of specialization of your translation. Do you know several different translators? How will you choose the right one?

  • Overseeing the project

Not only will you have to be available to answer any questions the translator may have during the translation, but you will also have to oversee the project to ensure that it is going well and that it will be ready on time.

  • Limited availability

Good translators have an extensive customer portfolio and, as such, may be very busy. You may have to wait for an opening in their schedule to translate your files. If your translation is urgent, you may have to look for an alternative. 

  • Less responsiveness

One appealing aspect of being a freelance translator is having the freedom to choose when you work. Some prefer to work very early, while others enjoy working later. Therefore, a translator’s working hours may not be the same as yours. For this reason, it may take time for them to answer your emails, for example.

  • Lower ability to process high volumes

A single translator cannot handle high-volume projects with tight deadlines. Do you have a contract with 12,000 words that need to be translated three days from now? If so, you may be taking a risk by assigning the translation to a freelance translator.

  • Checking of final work/risk of inaccuracies and mistakes

After receiving the translation, say in German or Greek, it’s good to check the translated files to ensure that everything is OK. In such case, you have two options: to check the text in German or Greek yourself or to put your complete trust in the translator. A final text that a second linguist does not revise increases the chances of errors, negatively impacting your brand.



Benefits of working with a translation company

  • Team with a proven track record

Translation agencies work each and every day with many translators who have undergone a meticulous selection process and whose quality is constantly monitored, i.e., all of the translators have already proven their quality. No Translation company will risk having a weak translator on their team who does not deliver projects on time or follow instructions.

  • Experienced project manager for your translation

Your primary contact at a Translation company will be a project manager who looks out for customers’ interests daily. This means analyzing requests, choosing the right team of translators and checking translation quality before delivery.

  • Wider range of services

Despite their name, translation agencies offer more services than just translation. Imagine that the file to be translated is a non-editable PDF, but you want a translated file with the same graphic quality ready for printing or publication. You will then need a desktop publishing (DTP) service. Translation agencies have graphic designers who will take care of the layout of your files. Other services offered by translation agencies include SEO, cultural validation, linguistic consulting and copywriting.

  • More languages

Translation companies can translate your instruction manual into French only or the 24 languages of the European Area. You won’t have to search for experienced native-speaking translators for these 24 languages.

  • High volumes under challenging deadlines

A Translation company will be able to process a high-volume translation project in a short period of time. The project manager will choose a team of translators + reviewers who can respond to your urgent needs.

  • Quality assurance

For example, translation agencies certified in ISO 17100 have a quality assurance system that applies to all projects before delivery. This ensures that best industry practices are complied with and that customer requirements are met.

Disadvantages of working with a translation company

  • More expensive

Each project managed by a Translation company involves several different people (project managers, translators, reviewers, quality controllers and potentially graphic designers or SEO specialists), inevitably leading to higher costs than working with a single freelance translator.

  • Inability to communicate with translators

The project manager is in charge of the project and will serve as a spokesperson for the translators. They will answer as much as possible and speak with the customer whenever necessary. As a result, the customer cannot communicate directly with the translators.

  • Inability to choose who will work on your project

Similarly, it is the project manager who, after analyzing the files and deadline, will select the translators who they believe are the most qualified for the success of your project.


The customer is always the one who decides.


Whatever the right choice, you should keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages of each option to avoid any unwanted surprises.

If you’d like to discuss the best option, get in touch today!

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