Working with a Freelance Translator

Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!

As a business owner or a manager, it might be quite handy in times to have the option to work with a freelance translator. The popularity of freelancing is increasing drastically and why shouldn’t your company benefit from it? The reason might be the deficiency of office space in your work environment or the budget for an additional employee. It doesn’t matter. However, choosing the right freelance translator or working with him/her in the right way is not as easy as it seems. You need to be careful who you work with and how you handle the business.

Finding the Right Freelancer

Considering that you’ve already decided to work with a freelance translator, first question that pops into your mind is how to find a good one. You may, of course, use Google to find a freelancing platform and a translator. But is that the right way? Freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr are overcrowded and they take a big share of the payment. When you create a job offer, many people will likely apply for it and in the end, you may or may not find what you were looking for. If your company needs translation on a regular basis, it is better to look for a translator instead of posting a job and letting them apply. This will save you a lot of time and you will have more control over applicants. You can use social platforms, like LinkedIn, to find freelance translators directly. This way, you will be able to see their references, previous work and more information and contact them only if you want to.

Freelancer Contracts

When you decide which freelance translator to work with, there are some certain points that you must clear up before getting to work. When you ask for a quote and send your files, be sure to ask about time, budget, contract and his/her other clients.

If the translator does not offer you a contract, you can always create your own and ask if he/she would agree to work according to that contract. Freelance working might always go wrong, and nobody wants to waste their time on an endless road. Creating a contract will save you from lots of stress and waste of money as well as time.

A contract with a freelance translator must include some very important points. Of course, your legal department will give you the necessary information on the matter, but still, keep this information in mind.

First thing to clear up in the contract is the payment. How and when the payment will be made should be decided before beginning work. If the translation or localization volume is high, ask the freelance translator to cut the work into batches and arrange the payments to be done accordingly.

Will there be additional costs? Depending on the work, there might be extra conditions that require extra payment. Things that are not part of the usual translation work might be considered extra. So, it is always useful to state the additional costs in the contract.

Another point is, if the translator is willing to edit the translation after he/she delivers the job. This is not necessarily the case, but there might be some trouble with the translation, and you want to know if he/she will be reachable when you need those mistakes to be corrected.


Managing a Freelancer

When you work with a freelancer, you will see the difference. They are not like your office employees. An office employee will do what you want, when you want it and how you want it, as long as it is in the working agreement. When you work with a freelancer, these terms are decided mostly by the freelancer. And since you are probably not the only client of your freelance translator, it is possible that sometimes your needs might take second place. So, before you start working with a freelance translator, it is always good to know how many clients he/she has and how much of his/her time is consumed by other clients. If you are looking for a long-term freelance translator, it is always good to know their attitude towards this. If they prefer working with lots of clients at the same time, that can be a problem.

All things considered, there is also the other side of the story. When you work with a freelance translator, it is good to know about their working conditions and lifestyle. Unlike a regular job, freelancers don’t get paid monthly and everything a freelancer does costs money. Printing out a contract, using a software, drinking coffee, Wi-fi, heating, phone bills… Everything that you use free of charge in your company a freelancer has to pay for it. So, when you work with a freelance translator, try to make the payments on time and find ways to appreciate their work, like leaving a nice comment on their website, referring them to a friend or giving them more work, etc.

Aykut Kutucu

About Aykut Kutucu

I am a freelance English into Turkish translator with engineering and linguistics education. I help businesses reach the Turkish market by translating and localizing their marketing material, etc.

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