There is a world of difference between the two, but people will still choose one over the other. Some people like the benefits of being a staff translator while others enjoy the freedom associated with being a freelance translator.

Differences Between the Two Working Conditions for a Staff Translator

As a staff translator, you could be working in a government office, translation agency, multilingual company or various non-governmental organizations. When you’re an in-house staff translator you have superiors that you have to answer to, these superiors will usually give you tasks with deadlines. It’s in an office type atmosphere amongst other employees.

You typically will have a fixed income and will have to travel to work every day. You will be instructed to work the hours that are established by the company that you work for sometimes working late if an urgent document happens to come in.

Working as a Team

Although your tasks will have you working alone, you will have access to your colleagues if you need help as well as an IT team. You also get sick leave, state pension, medical benefits and many other perks.

When it comes to your work, the company is held responsible for anything that you do while employed by them. Unless you were doing something malicious, you aren’t held accountable for your translations.

Working Conditions for Freelance Translators

As a freelance translator, you are considered to be self-employed. You don’t work for one particular agency but many at one time. You deal directly with your customers; there is no middle man. You have complete control over the jobs you choose to take. You can always pick the most interesting jobs you want, although sometimes the boring ones need to be done in order to pay your bills. You are in control of negotiating your rates and the deadlines involved.

Work from Home

One of the best things about being a freelance translator is that you have the freedom to work from home, or anywhere in the world for that matter. You could translate from a café in Paris if you so chose. As a freelancer, your monthly income could fluctuate due to the projects coming in, and it would be your sole responsibility to make the customers pay for the work completed.

It’s possible that you will also work weekends and odd hours, but that choice is still yours to make. You also get to choose to charge more if you are working nights or weekends. There is no sick leave when you are self-employed, provisions for income will be needed when you are sick.

Benefits to Being a Freelance Translator

As a freelance translator, you get to claim business expenses on your taxes. You can even claim the cost of running your home office. You are in charge of your own hours and can work whenever you feel like it. You can live wherever you choose to and never have to worry about driving through rush hour to work.

The Best of Both Worlds

There are some companies that hire staff but prefer that they work from home, so essentially you could have the best of both worlds. You get the perks of being a freelancer at home while getting health coverage benefits because you work for a company. If you can find a position such as that, then you would be in a great position.


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