Should translation be done internally at a company or should it be outsourced? Which solution is better?

At times of online communication being so popular as well as international business contacts and dynamic growth of various promotion channels, the global development of particular brands will no longer be a surprise to anyone, and even in some cases, it has become a must.

If you wish to communicate your brand in different languages, you will face a dilemma whether to employ specialists, who will be responsible for translation internally at the company, or to outsource such services. Let us compare the pros and cons of such solutions.

Internal translator – familiar with company’s know-how

In this case, you can employ a translator (or translators) whose duties will include translation of business mail, legal documents or promotional materials. Another solution would be to hire a specialist with fluent knowledge of a foreign language. Their duties will include translating, among other things (e.g. an employee of the marketing department, who will create content in several languages).\

Pros

  • An internal database of translations is created – glossaries with industry-specific terms and translation memories which will enable subsequent projects to be completed faster and more effectively;
  • The process of ordering a translation, time required for introducing changes in the document or the possibility of consulting the translator can be completed immediately, and often in the case of smaller companies, the above actions are performed directly which saves time;
  • Confidential information that needs to be translated is not disclosed to external entities which increases the safety of information storage.

Cons

When employing even several specialists, you will not be able to ensure that translations are completed in all languages and all specialisations;

The costs of employing internal translators are usually higher than outsourcing translation services;

Limited working capacity if urgent needs arise;

An in-house translator will not prepare sworn translations.

A translation company – your business partner

An optimum situation is considered here, i.e. using services of one translation office. If you are planning a dynamic expansion onto foreign markets, it is possible that you will cooperate with several smaller offices or you will decide upon comprehensive services provided by one large translation agency.

Pros

  • The more often you order translation services and the more pages, the bigger the chance of negotiating better cooperation terms;
  • Translation agencies offer comprehensive services – there is a big choice of foreign languages, specialisations and translation formats;
  • Many translation agencies offer an insight into the order history, the possibility of monitoring translation time and a project manager assigned to you so that you can be notified on an on-going basis about order status;
  • No costs relating to hiring an employee;
  • Availability of sworn translators.

Cons

  • Confidential materials leaving the company – the risk may be limited when concluding a confidentiality agreement with the translation agency, covering the documents provided for translation;
  • Order processing time may depend on the agency’s workload;
  • Not all translation offices specialise in translating documents that are specific for your industry.

Full-time translator or a translation company?

Before you decide upon one of the above options, take the following into account:

  • Company size and its areas of specialisation;
  • Monthly demand for translation in terms of a particular area of expertise, number of pages, etc.
  • Number of languages that you need to translate your documents to;
  • Funds that you can allocate for translation services within a specific period (month, quarter, year, etc.).

The only criterion that can be effectively adjusted, are costs – in the case of employing your own specialist, you will most likely have to consider a fixed monthly salary. When it comes to a translation company, the fees will change as the number and type of orders changes. With regard to other factors, it is worth completing an in-depth analysis to choose a solution meeting the needs of your business.