What are the best platforms to find freelance translators?

More and more people are turning to freelance work as a source of income. As a result, the employment of remote workers is a major opportunity for businesses looking to improve their ROI. This is particularly true in the translation sector, where the number of freelance translators is exploding.

However, that doesn’t mean that finding a great translator is simple. There are a variety of different platforms where you can find freelancers, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Not every option will suit your business and there’s not necessarily a catch-all solution to the problem of finding the right person.

It’s worth taking the time to assess your options, so we’ve listed the pros and cons of the major platforms for freelance work below. By understanding how each type of service fits with your needs, you’ll maximize your chances of finding the perfect translator for your project.

Freelance Translator Platforms


Pros:

  • Specialized: Although anyone can sign up, many freelance platforms are only for those actively seeking to do translation work. They have a mix of both amateur and professional translators, often with profiles where you can read reviews by their previous clients. This makes them a good place to begin your search for a freelance translator.
  • Easy to find translators: Since these sites only contain translators, it makes them good places to draw up a list of potential candidates for your job. This reduces the amount of time spent combing the Internet for people who might be able to help.

Cons:

  • No external support: Working directly with your translator does have some benefits, but these are often outweighed by the need to manage your freelancers directly. The amount of contact you need to have with your translator during the project can be surprising, including everything from preparing and sending the documents to regularly checking in with the translator for progress reports. All of this is time-consuming and can be a significant drain on your resources, especially if you have a high volume of work or multiple freelancers to deal with.
  • Payment friction: Since there isn’t any guidance from the site about payment, it has to be set up on a case-by-case basis with each translator you hire. This involves several potential hurdles, such as timing and method of payment. Also, when it comes to negotiating the translator has an advantage, since they know the correct price for your job. Without doing due diligence, you could end up paying over the odds for your translation.
  • No protection: These problems can be further exacerbated if there are any disagreements during the project. Since freelance translator platforms don’t provide support, you’ll be left alone to deal with any issues that arise. In the worst case scenario, it’s possible for a translator to simply drop your translation, which is a potential nightmare for anyone with urgent deadlines. Other services outlined below are able to incentivize translators to work diligently and complete in a timely manner regardless of the relationship between the two parties, which affords you more protection.
  • Hard to scale: Even if your translator is the best in the world, there’s a limit on the amount of work they can do in a day. If you have more work than one person can feasibly do, having a great relationship with one translator is not enough. You’ll have to invest even more time in finding great translators, which could be better spent on actually getting your work done.

General Crowdsourcing Sites

Pros:

  • Choice: These sites are open to anyone looking to supplement their income with a range of freelance work, making them a huge resource with thousands of potential options.
  • Payment: Since many of these sites handle payment, one of the big causes of friction between translator and employer is removed. This also provides an authority to refer to if issues arise around pricing.
  • Competitive rates: Competition for jobs can be extremely fierce, meaning that you’ll likely receive cheap quotes and have the work completed for a low price.

Cons:

  • Lack of specialism: Since it’s possible to post a wide variety of tasks on general crowdsourcing sites, it’s far harder to find a specialist translator on these platforms. Most freelancers trawling these sites are happy to perform any task, regardless of whether they’ve been trained to do so. By employing someone who isn’t specialized, you sacrifice the chance to receive a quality translation from a career translator.
  • No quality assurance: Further to the above, the extreme competition for jobs can drive people to prioritize a large number of payouts rather than building a great portfolio. There have been cases where unscrupulous freelancers will provide low quality or machine-translated work that doesn’t meet professional quality standards. There’s no guarantee that you will receive a translation that you can use and many sites offer no form of quality control, meaning that you will have to check the received translation yourself.
  • Competitive rates: Low rates come at a cost. Since hiring fees are often at rock bottom on these sites, translators who are able to provide you with the quality that you need might actually be driven away. While it may be possible to find a great translator on these sites, you’re far more likely to find quality in a place where it is appreciated.
  • Management: Despite the help these sites provide with payment issues, the day-to-day management of translator and project remains your responsibility. If you have a large project, you’re still going to waste a lot of time guiding it to completion when you could be doing other important work.

Translation Crowdsourcing Sites


Pros:

  • Reduced friction: By employing specialist project managers to distribute, track and check the quality of your translation, sites like Gengo significantly reduce your workload. They also help you to avoid other causes of friction, such as quality and price disputes, since these are handled in-house. No matter how many translators you’re employing, your single point of contact will be able to handle everything and leave you free to concentrate on your business.
  • Job completion speed: Since they have access to a large pool of specialist translators, these sites can ensure that your project is in the hands of a selection of specialists. By ensuring that your project doesn’t go straight to the bottom of an in-tray, translation crowdsourcing can significantly reduce your timeline as well as improve your quality.

Cons:

  • Specialist content: While these sites are an excellent choice for the vast majority of content, certain things may require a specialist translator with specific background knowledge. For example, if you need someone to translate a volume of ancient Chinese poetry, or even just someone who is able to work on site in your office, it may be more efficient to deal with an individual who can guarantee the fulfillment of your special conditions.

Why Gengo?

It’s our commitment to quality that separates us from the crowd. While other services leave you to push your translator for their best work, we’re constantly refining our platform to ensure a consistent high standard regardless of language pair, content type or volume. Whether you need 100 words or a million, you can be sure that everyone who touches your translation is giving their all.

Our obsession with tech doesn’t stop there. Thanks to our use of systems such as translation memory, we can guarantee that you won’t paying any more than you need to. In fact, our flexible pricing system means that you’ll always know exactly how much you’re paying, while also providing you with absolute clarity on what you’re paying for.

Want to know more? Contact sales for more on how our translation makes the difference.


Daniel Smith

The author

Daniel Smith

Daniel writes a variety of content for Gengo’s website as part of the marketing team. Born and raised in the UK, he first came to Japan by chance in 2013 and is continually surprised that no one has thrown him out yet. Outside of Gengo, he loves to travel, take photos and listen to music that his neighbors really, really hate.


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