The reasons linguist freelancers are leaving your company

It’s true that there are plenty of fish in the sea. But is this statement also true in the translation and localization industry, where you can’t afford to compromise with quality? There are many freelance translators around the world — those who are good at general translation, subtitling movies, transcreation, experts in medical, legal or engineering areas and so on. However, how many of them can deliver good quality, or even better, great quality? How many of them are reliable, how many excel at working with a variety of CAT tools? “Not many” is the likely answer.

You can see that human resources are one of the most important factors in driving your business to success. In order to satisfy customers’ demands around the world in this fast-paced industry, you need to not only have a robust team of in-house linguists but an agile pool of great quality freelance translators as well. In this article, we want to reflect on another side of resource retention — more specifically, what are some of the reasons that make freelancers stop working with your company.

Consistency of the work

The key to the life of a freelancer is that they value their freedom and their places of work. Despite that, they also need to have a consistent amount of work given to them. This is where resource management, project managers or linguist team leaders come into play. They should take care in delegating assignments to each freelancer consistently, throughout the years or whatever time frame has been agreed on with these freelancers. Sending a consistent amount of work to them shows commitment, which in turn makes them more likely to stick with you.

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The right job for the right person

Time is important for everyone — especially for freelance translators, as the more work they take on, the more they earn. Translation and localization companies need to know the strengths and weaknesses of all their resources, so they can be assigned translation tasks that they have proven to be good at. Giving a transcreation job to a linguist who’s mainly worked with medical translation won’t do you any good. As a result, a freelancer may find the task more time-consuming, thus reduce their productivity and earning potential while losing more time. If this happens consistently, it will easily make them unhappy with you.

For Editors, it’s the quality of the translated work

freelance translatorsIt’s understandable that the editor’s work is to polish the translated content and make it sound better, but there are many cases where the translation quality turns out to be so poor that the editor almost needs to re-translate the whole thing. Unfortunately, this case is pretty common, and if the company didn’t do anything to improve the quality at the first stage at some point, it’s likely that the editors will start rejecting assignments and eventually leave the company.

Communication and process

Freelancers expect to deal with a project manager who can communicate clearly, is process-oriented and well organized. Translation does involve time and meeting deadlines — time can’t be wasted due to unclear work processes or miscommunication. For example, when assigning a job to a freelancer, everything should be clearly stated — ie. the language pair, volume, task type, deadline, source, expected delivery date and other details. You should establish a clear and easy to understand the process in order to save time for everyone involved.

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Compensation and payment terms

It would be impossible not to address this issue. As a company, it’s your responsibility to offer fair and competitive pay to freelance translators. They’ll surely stop translating for you if they know that they’re being paid a lower than the market rate. Furthermore, the payment or credit terms must be according to a market standard and clearly stated in the contracts for both parties. Should there be changes along the way, the communication must be done in a professional manner, with no room left for mistakes.

Last but not least, treat all your freelance translators with respect. Although they are not your in-house teams, it doesn’t mean they should be treated differently. A company’s reputation takes a long time to build, but only seconds to tear down. We hope this article has been beneficial to you in some way!