Translation German English Options: Agency Versus Freelance English German Translator
Agency or freelance English German translator? The Translation German English Guide discusses the pros and cons of different options for your translation. At the bottom of the page, you'll find information about typical translation rates, along with other helpful resources. (Looking for a free online German translation?)
German Translation Options
Should you send your German translation to an agency, or can you hire a freelance translator directly? Most agencies will tell you (no surprise) that you need an agency to get the translation done right. But the truth is either option can be a good one if you find the right agency or freelancer for the job. Which is the better choice for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities.
Here are some factors that come into play:
- Project size. The bigger the translation, the more stressful it can be to manage yourself. For big or critical projects, it might be worth using an agency if only to avoid the stress of managing the project deadline.
On the other hand, for short translations, it might make sense to go directly to a freelance English German translator and avoid the high minimum fees that many agencies charge for small jobs.
- Project budget. Working with freelance translators is often significantly less expensive than going through an agency. Many agencies charge their clients double what they pay their translators. By cutting out the middle man and going directly to the translators, you can dramatically reduce your costs.
At the same time, by managing the project yourself, you are taking on some additional risk. If something goes seriously wrong with the translation project, you may end up spending more money to fix it.
- Number of languages. If your translation is only from English to German, it might be almost as easy to go to a freelancer as to an agency. But a translation in multiple languages requires a lot more coordination work, and you might be better off hiring an agency to manage it for you.
Let's say you are translating a document to five languages. That is five translators you have to hire and manage. If you plan to have a native editor check each language (recommended for important translations), we are talking about a minimum of ten freelancers to supervise. Do you really want that headache?
Read about basic project management steps in the Translation German English Guide
- Frequency. If you often need German translations, it might be worth investing some time to recruit a good freelance English German translator to work with on a regular basis. Not only can this save you money; over time, this translator will get to know your business and your specific translation needs.
- DIY attitude.
"Personally, I think if you need consistency in your translations and want to make sure that they're done by the same person, then a freelance translator might be better. You also have direct contact with the translator that way -- you don't have to go through an agency; you can just pick up the phone, and you can discuss special issues with the translation, make special requests. With an agency, there's no guarantee that the same person will be working on your translations every time. You can use glossaries, of course, for consistent terminology, but it's different with style, I think. Every person has his or her own style."
- Katharina Wawrzon, English German Translator
Translation German English Guide Interview
Managing a translation project involves finding the right translators, coordinating and supervising their work, managing deadlines and quality control. Are you willing to put in the time and effort to do all this yourself? If the answer is "Yes," then hiring a freelance translator might be an excellent cost-effective solution. If the answer is "No," then you might be better off going to a translation agency and letting them manage the project for you.
Translation German English - More Resources
Compare English German translator prices
Get advice on hiring a translator
Get advice on hiring an agency
See all topics in the Translation German English Guide
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