In-house translator or outsource translator?

March 8th, 2010
Professional translation is increasingly becoming a concern for businesses that want to go global, particularly with the rise of e-commerce.  Many companies and entrepreneurs do not want to limit their clientele to people who only speak, say, English.  Using human translation is imperative.  Even sophisticated non-human translators can make very simple mistakes.  This is to say nothing of idiomatic expressions, or slogans whose sense of meaning and catchy sound would be difficult to render in another language.  You must use some type of human translation.  However, the question then becomes what type of translation service you want to use.  Do you want to hire an in-house translator, or would you prefer to outsource the service? Hiring an in-house translator does have its good points.  You will talk to the translator face-to-face.  The translator can learn very well how your business is run, and might even be able to suggest ways to improve the “original” English versions of your content.  (Of course, an outsourced partner whom you repeatedly work with might be able to do something similar.) Then again, in-office professional translation can place a greater burden on the employer.  Firstly, you may have to help maintain the translator’s equipment. An outsourced professional translator, on the other hand, is not “your” employee.  If he/she experiences technical difficulties, he/she will take responsibility for them—and for delivering their work on time, despite the problem. You will also be able to pay an outsourced translator according to the amount of work you need done.  An in-office translator, on the other hand, is likely to want a regular wage or salary.  Otherwise, why come to the office regularly at all?  Even if you have come to a satisfying, work-based agreement as to fee, you will still have to go to the cost and effort of actually making space for the person in your office.  This will be a major concern for businesses that only want a few things translated, or have very small premises. Last but not least, there is also the issue of time.  There are some things, like the translation of correspondence with major foreign partners or customers, which need to be translated right away.  It is true that an in-house translator can be made to take care of the work quickly, since he/she is standing by throughout the day.  However, something similar can also be said for an outsourced translation service.  Certain websites exist that can put you in contact with people who can translate your text an hour after receiving it. Ultimately, outsourced translation offers many of the same benefits as in-office service, with much more convenience.  Give it a try as you make your business go global.

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