The right way to choose a translator

The world of translation is divided into three: :The World of Translation translators, translator networks or translation companies and finally translation agencies. In the same way that you wouldn't consult a general practitioner to have your wisdom teeth taken out, your professional documents must be translated by an expert in the field concerned. The following tables will help you determine your need more clearly and therefore choose the right contractor or the right formula.

Table 1:  Choose the right level of translation


Advantages
Drawbacks
Freelance translator
  • Proximity
  • Good knowledge of the client’s work
  • Privileged relationship
  • Prices often lower than those charged by translator networks and translation agencies
  • Complaints handled direct with the translator
  • Acquisition of the company’s terminology
  • Language combinations and areas of specialization limited
  • Lack of flexibility for large volumes Translation without proofreading by a third-party
  • Multiplicity of contacts according to the language combinations desired
  • Translations cannot be certified
  • Limited language variants
Translator network or translation company
  • Proximity
  • Good knowledge of the client’s work
  • Privileged relationship
  • Prices often lower than those charged by translation agencies
  • Complaints handled direct with the translator / proof-reader pair
  • Acquisition of the company’s terminology
  • Wider choice of language combinations and areas of specialization than can be offered by a freelance translator
  • Responsible for the whole process of translation, proofreading, validation and certification/authentication
  • Flexibility concerning tight deadlines and large volumes
  • Option of offering several language variants within a combination (Canadian English, British English, American English for example)
  • A single point of contact for ten (on average per translators’ network) language combinations in general
  • Quality process entirely managed internally and by professional translators
  • Advice concerning producing the translation without harming the quality
  • Language combinations and areas of specialization depend on the members of the translator network
  • Less flexibility where deadlines are very tight and volumes are very large (100,000 words in 24 hours for example)
Translation agency
  • Infinite choice of language combinations and areas of specialization
  • Responsible for the whole process of translation, proofreading, validation and certification/authentication
  • Infinite flexibility where deadlines are very tight and volumes are very large (100,000 words in 24 hours for example)
  • Option of offering several language variants within a combination (Canadian English, British English, American English for example)
  • A single point of contact for an infinite number of language combinations including rare languages (Farsi for example)
  • Complaints always handled for the client s benefit
  • Frequent change of contacts
  • Lack of follow-through of the translation process (often several translators and proof-readers for the same project)
  • Fluctuating quality due to frequent changes of pairs
  • Quality process managed internally very often using software, limited human involvement (terminology comparison, spell checker, punctuation checker...)
  • Lack of consistency in documents (frequent change of translators, documents split between several translators)
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