Freelancers & the Language Services Industry

Freelancers and Independent Contractors are integral to the Language Services Industry. Independent contractors are often the perfect answer to a pressing need for special skills and experience needed on short-term projects. The flexibility an independent contractor provides to a small, fledging operation as well as larger organizations creates numerous advantages for all parties involved:

  • The independent contractor has freedom to choose his or her work schedule
  • The small business owner maintains the flexibility to adjust work demands with current business activity
  • The client enjoys the benefit of a reasonably priced, quality product.

The nature of our industry, with its unpredictable and often-unscheduled demand for services, requires a varying number of qualified liguists on any given day or week. Plus, given the fact that most language service agencies are expected to provide services in upwards of 200 different languages, most smaller firms cannot afford to maintain translators and interpreters as full-time employees. Sometimes, depending on the language involved, credentialed interpreters and translators are needed only a few times throughout the year, but not enough to warrant full-time or even part-time employment. This lack of consistency makes it impractical for most small language service providers to maintain a full-time staff of liguists. Having to place two or three extra employees on the payroll would create a significant and unnecessary burden on most small companies.

In short, it benefits all parties, workers, employers, contractors and others, to ensure that our laws are as clear and straightforward as they can be, and that they are evenly and fairly enforced. Indeed, our member companies want to follow the law and want to do what is expected of them.

Why Language Service Agencies Utilize Freelancers

Freelancers and/or Independent Contractors are the backbone of the Language Services Industry. In our industry, a freelancer sells their services and expertise to a company as an independent expert, rendering their services temporarily either via hourly or on a project basis. From a purely business standpoint, there are several reasons why Language Service Agencies utilize freelancers.

  • The company can tailor their workforce according to the workload. During slow periods the company will not have the expense of employees being under utilized or idle.
  • The cost of training employees to do certain tasks can be drastically reduced by hiring specialized contractors to do the work.
  • The company is able to bring in expertise for a specific project or event.
  • There is no cost to the company for lost hours due to sick leave or annual leave.
  • In hiring a freelance contractor, the business does not have to incur the additional expense of paying for employment taxes.
  • There is no minimum wage or overtime payable as governed by law.
  • Terminating the contract of a freelancer is easier than laying off or firing a full-time employee, so greater flexibility is provided.

Benefits to the Freelancer

Individuals pursue freelancing for a variety of reasons. Some of the most popular reasons to begin a freelancing career include:

  • The desire to work from home
  • Greater flexibility in one’s schedule – including the ability to be a stay-at-home parent
  • The ability to supplement one’s retirement while pursuing their passion for  language
  • The potential to earn more money independently

The opportunities to choose one’s own work schedule and provide a valuable service on a project basis make freelancing a viable and lucrative career choice for both new entrepreneurs as well as seasoned employees looking for a job change or great work flexibility.