Before the holidays, the father of one of our key freelance translators took a turn to the worst when his grave illness spread and impacted his ability to perform his daily routines. Despite of having her own family, work and life to take care of, she could not bear the thought of leaving her father during his last moments on earth and not being with her mother in her hours of need. She arranged matters with her immediate family and moved in with her parents thousands of miles away, doing her best to comfort them.
Despite the frequent long trips to the hospital, the many trying days dealing with the symptoms and side-effects, despite the strong emotions and painful times, she never failed to respond to our requests, attend to them and deliver her work when promised and within the expected standards.
Freelance Translators’ Work Ethics
Freelance translators are exceptional professionals. Their trust in their knowledge and abilities heartens them to walk away from the security of a permanent job to lead more fulfilling lives. Once on their own, they quickly learn to become entrepreneurs acquiring business savvy and an appreciation of the impact of client satisfaction on their bottom line. Breaking through corporate pay ceilings, they turn into workaholics. They put in sixteen hour work-days and work on weekends and holidays to maximize their income. They quickly though learn that they cannot sustain these kinds of hours for the long term, so they find their balance. But when needed, they revert to the long hours to get projects completed on schedule and keep clients out of frantic situations.
Freelancers vs. Language Service Providers
Unlike language service providers, freelancers are often lone rangers. They work alone and with very little guidance. This removes any geographical shackles that tie them down. They choose to work in-country, closer to the client or travel extensively around the globe to keep track of changing cultures, languages, habits and locale preferences. They attend to family matters when needed even if they live in far places. With time, freelance translators can deepen their specialization in key subjects becoming subject matter experts, then gradually diversify them. Since it is impossible for one translator to handle all the subjects that a language service provider (LSP) is setup to process, they tend to have specialties. Having access to many specialized freelance translators permits LSPs to deliver the best quality possible, regardless of subject requirements.
Translation Agencies and Their use of Freelance Translators
While evaluating translation agencies, clients at times ask for the number of in-house translators vs. freelancers that LSPs employ, hoping to draw a conclusion about the quality and value of the LSP– a valid question to ask. But before making a decision on which LSP to hire, stop and consider which answer you ought to favor.
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