Freelance vs In-house Translators: What Is the Difference?

Freelance vs In-house Translators

If you want to build a career in translation, you need to decide whether you want to work as a freelance or in-house translator. What is the difference between these two positions and what are their pros and cons? Translators can either work for themselves as independent contractors, for a translation department of a company, or for a translation agency or organization. Those translators who work independently are called freelancers, and those who work for agencies and companies are in-house translators.

An in-house position is attractive because it provides a translator with regular office hours and a stable income. A translator works on texts that the company or agency needs translated, attends events and meetings where he/she discusses large-scale translation projects, and goes to training sessions to learn about new equipment or software tools. An in-house translator has paid vacation, insurance, and other benefits typical of this type of office job. On the other hand, working for a company or agency means adjusting your work style and methods to those of the company, and potentially you could get tired of translating the same type of text over and over.

Freelancers, on the other hand, set their own rates and can work whenever they want to, in any corner of the planet. They also must take care of their own marketing, invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, etc. Freelance translators can earn more per year that in-house translators, but their income is variable, and they have to take care of expenses such as taxes, insurance, and other business costs. On the other hand, marketing one’s self is a lot of work and freelancers must be very organized to keep track of all of their business dealings.

Ultimately it depends on what type of job is better for you: whether you want to take a risk and work for yourself or you prefer a more stable job position. There are no right or wrong choices. You can always try both and decide which one is for you. Good luck!

Here at LingoStar, we cooperate with professional freelance translators and language specialists all over the world. We can provide translation and localization services in over 100 languages. Call us today at 604-629-8420 or send us an email at for more information!