These days, it’s easier than ever to find an interpreter or translator. A simple search for “interpreter” yields more than 43 million results.
The vast majority of interpreters and translators — 93 percent, according to the Contract Interpreter Information Center — are in business for themselves as freelancers or independent contractors.
Many of them do a fantastic job, but until you actually start working with them, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a high-quality interpreter and someone who’s barely getting by.
A good language services provider does the legwork of vetting, hiring, training, and scheduling quality interpreters and translators for you, which can save you a lot of time, frustration, and money. More importantly, it ensures that your customer’s experience will be a positive one.
Here are five advantages to working with a language services provider over a freelancer.
Consistent Quality Standards
While freelancers have only their own reputation to protect, a trustworthy language services agency must hold every interpreter and translator to a high standard of quality. That involves an extensive background check, as well as requiring far-reaching experience and specialized credentials. A top language services provider will screen interpreter and translator candidates with proficiency tests and interpreter skills assessments.
Freelancers typically set their own schedules, often weeks in advance.
If you needed an on-site interpreter today to resolve a pressing concern, it would be difficult to find someone who could drop everything to meet your needs. The best language services providers have a network of interpreters that’s large and diverse enough to meet a wide variety of language needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also have the ability to meet these needs through numerous solutions, including face-to-face, over-the-phone, and video interpreting, much of which can be accessed on demand.
Some organizations cobble together a hodgepodge of solutions to meet their language needs. They’ll use bilingual staff members when they’re available and hire freelance on-site interpreters when their internal staff lacks the bandwidth or language expertise. They may use numerous freelancers or translation services across their organization, each with a different billing system. Not only is it frustrating to manage payments for so many vendors, it can become confusing for your staff and create a perception of disorganization. The use of a single language services provider leads to a consistent customer experience, as well as streamlined recordkeeping on the back end.
Using freelancers may seem less expensive up front, but the costs quickly add up, especially when you need to hire a small army of them to meet your needs. When you have an ongoing partnership with a provider, you can take advantage of economies of scale and only pay for services when you need them.
The language services industry is constantly changing as regulations change and new technology is introduced. The availability of the internet and mobile devices continues to raise the bar for on-demand interpretation over the phone and via video. Any provider that wants to stay relevant will be committed to using the latest technology and enabling their clients to use it. They will take the time to understand a client’s unique needs and recommend the best solutions.
To learn more about what to look for to ensure you choose the best language partner, we invite you to check out this guide to selecting a language services provider.