Psst. Looking for translation services? One option is to work with a Language Service Provider (LSP), commonly known as a translation agency. Another option is to work directly with a professional translator whom you have established a relationship with. But there is a third option, which is to post your translation job to a translation marketplace.
The scenario is simple: you go to the online marketplace and post the translation languages, the files and other requirements. The information is sent to a group of translators who fit your requirements. You then get bids from the translators. Once you have the offers in hand you can select the translator(s) of your choice.
The main advantage of going to a true marketplace is that it will usually get you the best value for your money. It’s all about supply and demand. The main disadvantage of using a marketplace is that you (usually) do not know the translators. True, you can perform due diligence, read reviews and the translator’s CV. But still, people can get burned when buying from online marketplaces. The translator gets sick, disappears, turns in poor quality, the list goes on and on. One of the issues is that people that go to a online marketplace are usually not seasoned buyers so they can make mistakes. When you order from a translation company, you pay more but usually get reliable service. But you should bear in mind that many translation company project managers use the same very translation marketplaces, albeit they are probably more experienced buyers than you may be.
Translation marketplaces do not typically charge buyers for posting translation jobs. So how do they make money? Some of these sites charge translators membership fees to join. They also sell advertising, promotions like group buys for CAT tools, invoicing and other value-added services.
Translation Services Marketplaces
Here is a list of marketplaces that are dedicated to translation services only. These marketplaces should be preferred, as they specialize in translation services and attract high quality translators.
Proz is the biggest translation marketplace. It is also a network for translators to post linguistic and technical questions. Translators are graded by customers, colleagues and peers (using a reward system called Kudos). So you can get check out translators before hiring them.
This is another marketplace for posting translation jobs. One of the drawbacks of using this marketplace is that it seems to be teeming with Indian LSPs who eagerly pounce on every job. Not that there is anything wrong with Indian LSPs, just that they are not typically synonymous with linguistic quality unless you are translating into Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi and the other Indian languages.
This is a veteran translator portal which allows you to post translation jobs. TranslationDirectory also has a wealth of resources like dictionaries and articles for translators.
Hyperlingo is a UK-based online freelancer marketplace that connects translators to buyers. Hyperlingo is a relative newcomer to the industry.
Lyngual is a German-based translator marketplace. It is a relatively new startup company in the industry.
This is a Russian language marketplace, which means that is probably a good market for Russian and Eastern-European languages. It does not appear to have an English language interface, so you will need to use a machine translation app if you do not know Russian.
This marketplace has an option for ordering a free test translation before placing an order.
Other Marketplaces that Support Translation Services
Here are some other marketplaces which are not exclusively dedicated to translation jobs. Using a catchall marketplace to order translation services is less recommended than the previously mentioned websites that are exclusively dedicated to translation services.
This marketplace also allows posting jobs for copywriting assignments and for hiring language tutors.
This is a general middle-eastern marketplace for freelancers, including translation and writing job postings.
You can find translators in these marketplaces, although they typically attract non-professional translators or inexperienced ones that are just getting started in their career. These are the Ubers of translation services-just like anyone with a car can become an Uber driver, anyone that knows languages can become a translator. The problem is that it takes more expertise to translate than it does to drive.