Translator or Marketer?
I am not much of a marketing person; after all, I am a translator not a marketer. However, when I worked as a freelancer I frequently found myself having to market my services to new clients in order to maintain a decent level of work. Working for an agency solves that problem. They do all the marketing that would take up a large portion of my time, and I get a steady flow of work without the headaches. The agency handles everything, leaving me free to do what I love and what I am good at: translate.
A Friendly Reminder, Your Account Is Overdue...
Another problem I routinely ran into when working as a freelancer was billing. Many clients seemed to have the mindset that because they were working with a freelancer they were able to be more flexible on their payment scheduled than they would if they were paying an agency.
From the point of view of the freelancer, nothing could be further from the truth. As a freelancer, we depend on timely payments from clients in order to pay our bills. Freelancers don’t generally have the cash reserves available to wait for payment from our clients and having to do so can be very frustrating and detrimental to our finances. Working for an agency removes this concern. The agency handles all of the billing and collections issues separate from paying me for performing the translating work. I am paid when the work is completed, and they have to deal with collecting payment from the client.
Improved quality control is another benefit to working for an agency. When I worked as a freelancer, I did not have anyone that I could bounce ideas off when I had an especially challenging job or when something did not feel just right, nor did I have anyone I could rely upon to take a second look at my completed translations and ensure that there were no errors. By working for an agency, I have the benefit of multiple colleagues to collaborate with or ask questions of to find out what they would do with a project. I can also rest assured that my translation will be proofread and checked for accuracy prior to being turned over to the client. This results in a higher quality translations and happier clients, ensuring that ongoing work is available.
Although there are benefits and drawbacks to both situations - freelancing and working for an agency - I have found in my personal experience that for someone who just wants to translate, working for an agency like One Hour Translation is by and far the best choice to make.