In-House Translations – Pros and Cons

When you begin working as a translator, a certain thought may cross your mind: should you go for in-house translations, the classical “work from the office” kind – or should you go for being a freelancer? Should you go “staff,” or is “solo” more your cup of tea?

There is no right or wrong answer to that. Depending on your habits and your preferences, some of these options should work better for you than others. But first, you will have to understand what it means to be an in-house translator.

Differences Between In-House and Freelancer

The word “in-house” sparks a lot of confusion among people, as they believe it means “working from the house.” It is, actually, quite the opposite. This term does not usually describe translators working from home, following a “from time to time” schedule.

Instead, these kinds of translators work for a company in particular, as an employee on a full-time schedule, generally at the office of the company. This will mean that they have to drive every day at work and will have all the software that they need directly at the job.

This stands in opposition to freelancers, that work as independent contractors. These people generally work from home – and in some cases, they have their own private office. They will also have a variety of clients with no actual binding agreement that they have to accept every task. 

What Are the Benefits of Working In-House?

We now know what it means to work in-house – but what are the benefits associated with this kind of work. Well, here is what you might expect.

  • Quick Turnaround

When you are working as an in-house translator, you generally have a quicker turnaround and a faster adaption to new requests and changes. You have all the necessary resources, which means it will be much easier for you to finish a request and to send it back to your client.

  • Better Organized

In-house translators generally work on a fixed schedule, which is why they are generally more knowledgeable on the needs of your organization. This will make project completion more successful – which will lead to a steady income flow.

  • Easy Internal Communication

When you are working as a freelancer, it might be difficult to get a second opinion or to ask for advice from your coworkers – simply because there rarely are any. If you do have coworkers, you will likely have to message them and wait until they hopefully reply.

As an in-house translator, on the other hand, has all their coworkers around them – and getting advice or opinion is as simple as shouting a “hey” to the coworker sitting next to you.

  • Salary Paid

When you are your own boss, it’s hard to say how much money you will have at the end of the month. You may have a set translation price per word – but if the client flow is weak that month, you may find yourself with a very small pay.

In-house translators, on the other hand, have a fixed salary per month. Even if the company that you are working for is having a weak client flow, the paycheck that you get at the end of the month will remain unchanged.

Disadvantages of Working In-House

When you are working as an in-house translator, there are several disadvantages that you might also want to expect.

  • High Initial Costs

When you are getting hired within a company, you do not need to worry about the tools – but if you yourself want to open up a translation office, you might want to expect some high payments in the beginning. Not only will you have to pay a fair amount on software tools, but you may also have to spend some significant time and money on the training.

  • Hard to Ensure Quality Translations

When you are working in-house, there are two problems that you might have. First, you are working with other colleagues – which as convenient as it might seem at times, it can also be distracting. Secondly, you are also likely working on tight deadlines and fast paces – which might reduce the quality of the text.

  • Limited Expertise

Many in-house translators usually specialize and will only have expertise in a limited language number. Freelancers, on the other hand, tend to have the “Jack of all trade” style.

Final Thoughts

Most of the times, freelance translation is a great option is a very good option for those who wish to be more organized and have a steady (yet smaller) workflow. On the other hand, if you require flexibility and wider expertise for more complicated situations, then working or outsourcing in the freelance domain might be a more suitable choice.


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