Living in a globalised world is often celebrated due its success in creating cross-border markets and accordingly a new domain for employment. For millennials, working as a freelancer reflects the life style of this high-paced age, where technology is dominant, freedom is absolute, and jobs can be done while relaxing at home. This has created a new hype so as clients would opt for freelancers believing it will help them to save money and get the job done in the blink of an eye - but is it true?
No doubt, internet has made life easier for clients who can search millions of results by just googling a keyword - all what you need to do is to google the magic words “freelance translators” and voilà! But, in truth, the easiness to find a freelancer comes with a price – an expensive price I must say. This is because the cons for hiring a freelancer outweigh the pros, as will be explained. This article is intended to help clients make an informed risk-aware decision, which should make you think twice and even thrice before hiring a freelancer.
(1) Freelancers can only play solo.
One hand never claps alone and so is translation as well as many other language services. This is probably one of the biggest limitations you will have to face when you hire a freelance. Imagine having an important business meeting next Thursday and so you need your presentation translated to hand it over to your new or potential business partner. You rushed to your laptop and typed the magic words and so you hired a freelance translator online after you read he or she has some good reviews – though I am often sceptic about online reviews! On Tuesday, two days before your meeting, you receive an email or a text message (presuming he or she agreed to give you their phone number) from your freelance translator apologising for not being able to finish the work for whatsoever reasons (i.e. had a car accident, fell sick, laptop is broken, kidnapped by an alien, etc.) What would you do? Nothing of course, except you can kiss your job, money and time goodbye. Contrary to the common belief, translation, as well as any other language service, is not a one man show, and it should never be so. One of the biggest pros of hiring a language services company is that you do not have to worry about such emergencies because a company would have a team of linguists and a project manager who will take care of any emergency to deliver the project on time.
We love taking risk, but obviously not when it means wasting money and losing business! Think wise before making the decision.
(2) Freelancers are NOT ball jugglers.
Freelance translators cannot juggle more than two balls at a time i.e. they can only translate specific types of materials and often have translation experience in certain topics only, never mind they are often bilingual (meaning they can help you to render your project to one language only). Of course, they are not multitasking meaning they cannot work on many projects at the same time i.e. they have to finish one project to start working on another. This makes their availability and productivity limited. In contrast, a language services company not only can handle many pairs of languages, but also have experience in most, if not, all areas and topics. It is even pain in the neck when you have to go through the hassle of dealing with many people from different time zones and locations!
(3) Freelancers can be anyone!
This might be the biggest nightmare that you do not wish to live since freelancers live online, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to verify their identity, let alone their credentials. Due to the growth of this industry, scammers decided to take a bite of the cake and land in our territory, and in response a special monitoring agency is dedicated to track and report such scammers, frauds, and impersonated translators’ profiles. Do not forget to consult their database before agreeing to deal with any freelance translator. We often tell our kids not to take candy from a stranger, so how about us giving money and entrusting total strangers with business?!
(4) Quality is just a fortune cookie
We all love having a fortune cookie after a nice tasty meal, but would we go for a restaurant to buy it? Of course not, because not only is it something that we do not take seriously, but also because its messages are generic and far from being unique. Likewise, our industry does not take most freelancers seriously because freelancing is not a start point, as most freelancers believe, but rather the outcome of many years of experience in a professional setting. Having a qualification is not enough because it does not guarantee fully understanding the second language, let alone the mother tongue. experience is what matters since it helpsthe most important thing the quality of translation should always be your first concern has to be that some freelance translators deliver do not offer more than what a fortune cookie can. Aside of the fact that most freelancers depend on machine translation, which makes the quality of most translators similar and generic, their quality cannot be guaranteed and many freelance translators do not seem to take criticism and objections with open heart! There are thousands of trolls online against clients who refused to pay them – although they did the job! Of course, they will not admit the reason the client refused to pay since it happens that freelance translators often find all his or her geese are swans!
Of course, such a hassle and terrible experience will never happen when dealing with a professional registered language services provider, because each project is managed by a team leader and linguists whose job is to assure the quality of outputs so emotional swings and moody moments will never affect the final output as it is always monitored and evaluated. Let alone, working in the capacity of a company makes it liable to its actions and manage any dispute in a professional manner.
(5) Cheaper Rates is Just Another Myth
It is one of the most favourite tactics that freelancers like to use to convince clients whereas the reality says otherwise. I am confident everyone heard of the famous line “You get what you paid for” and so very cheap rates should make you worried and run away. In fact, skilled senior translators will charge rates that are equal if not higher than comapnies. It is true that freelancer would charge less than language services providers (though it is not always the case) but the extra charge is justified because a company can manage multiple projects at a time unlike freelancers who can only take one project, and deliver large projects in a short time due to its team, besides extra services are provided including proofreading, cross-checking and etc.