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Using employees as translators?

Did you know that 90% of companies use a external language services provider? But, companies will sometimes use internal employees as translators. While this approach might seem like the right thing to do, we encourage our clients to stay clear of this approach.


A translator is NOT someone who speaks two languages.

A translator has to be fluent in both languages and should only translate from second language, the source language, to mother tongue, the target language. It is of great advantage if the translator lives in the country your translation is intended for. The translator needs to be familiar with the topic that is translated and have excellent writing and editing capabilities in the target language.

Consider this: When you have your marketing material written, do you simply choose any person who speaks English? Or do you select someone with excellent writing skills and expertise in the field of Marketing – and still have the text proofread by a second pair of eyes? You should have the same demands for your potential translator.

If, however, you have such enormous requirements for translation into one single language that you can employ one translator full-time, this might be the most economical option. Just make sure that you have the necessary expertise to choose a competent translator. Remember: this will be the only person to perform all your professional translation services. If you are dissatisfied with the work this person is doing, it will not be easy to switch translators. Also, you will probably still want to have someone else proofread the translation, just as you probably had someone proofread your original texts.

Moreover, having your employees do your translation is costly when you take into account the time it will take your employee to translate, edit and proofread. A professional translator will translate at most about 2,000 to 3,000 words a day normally. Why? Because after that, the chances of making mistakes are much higher.

Overall, it is not recommended to use your employees as translators unless they’re professionally trained to be translators.

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