Freelance translator or translation agency?


In a recent article on our blog we discussed what factors you should consider when choosing a translation agency, but there is also the option of working directly with a freelance translator/freelancer. Both have advantages and disadvantages, which we explain further below.


When it comes to price, the freelancer can usually offer cheaper rates simply because they have less expenses than a business. In some cases, however, freelance translators will give you higher quotes, for example if you are asking for experienced translators who have made a name for themselves in the industry.


A freelance translator usually works alone and has limited capacity. If the freelancer of your choice is on vacation or busy with other projects, you’ll have to find another translator for better or worse. Translation agencies employ many translators, so there is always enough capacity.

Quality of the translation

Freelance translators usually work alone on the translations and do all the editing and proofreading themselves, making quality control more difficult.

In translation agencies, translations are checked and edited by several linguists. Freelancers can deliver high-quality translations, but they may need additional proofreading and verification.

We have at least two linguists working on a project, one as a translator and one as a proofreader, to ensure the constant quality of our translations.


When you hire a freelancer, you can communicate with them directly. Direct communication leads to fewer misunderstandings and you know exactly who is working on your project. In an agency, your contact person is usually the project manager and you do not have the option of contacting the translator directly.

At OST, your inquiries will be processed by our marketing team, but direct communication with our translators is also possible if you wish. If you have specific requests or would like to provide feedback, you can contact our translators by phone, email, or visit us at our Tokyo office. It is also possible to request the same translator for your next assignment.

Coverage of different subject areas

A freelance translator typically specializes in a few subject areas and may not be able to handle all of your requests. If you only need translations in a certain area, a freelancer who specializes in that area is a good choice, otherwise you will have to work with different freelancers, which makes communication more time-consuming. Agencies employ different translators with different specializations, so they can handle many types of translations.

At One Step translation (OST) we employ over 40 in-house translators, so we can cover most relevant subject areas or patent, legal, passport translation and technical translations.

Selection of translator

When looking for a freelancer, you have to go through several CVs and sample translations to find the person who is best suited for your translation. This is time-consuming and it is not easy for inexperienced people to assess test translations.

If you hire an agency, they will make the selection for you. A good agency has a network of qualified translators and knows their skills and experience inside out. You can easily find the professional who is best suited for your project.

As we mainly work with in-house translators and also work very closely with our external translators, we have a good understanding of their skills and can easily select the perfect translator for your needs.

As you can see, translation companies or freelancers have advantages and disadvantages depending on your budget and needs. At OST we try to give you the benefits of working with an agency, while still maintaining a close relationship between client and translator.


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