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TransPerfect Freelance Translator Reviews

Updated March 31, 2019
33 reviews

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Freelance Translator

2.3
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Phil Shawe
1 Rating

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Pros
  • "great opportunity to learn a lot from your project" (in 21 reviews)

  • "You will meet some great people" (in 41 reviews)

Cons
  • "Work/Life balance is terrible compared to most good sales teams" (in 70 reviews)

  • "long hours, no security for 6 months, management is awful" (in 81 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (8)

    "Freelance translator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Freelance Translator
    Current Contractor - Freelance Translator
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPerfect as a contractor (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The company provides a seemingly endless volume of work for a freelance translator or reviewer. The variety of work is interesting. The PMs work very hard to manage the workflow and are very efficient. Reviews are usually fair. PMs are generally fair, flexible and friendly and professional in email exchanges. Amazing considering the pressure we deal with every single day (and nighr).

    Cons

    This company operates 24 hours a day in every time zone, 365 days a year. A freelancer may receive a huge volume of requests at any time from any office worldwide. It can be overwhelming sometimes and requires a lot of time and effort to manage. It can be stressful. Efforts are being made to improve. Rates may seem low and there's some pressure from PMs to lower them more, below a sustainable income in the U.S. I negotiate and I don't reduce my rates. Constant short deadlines must be managed. Even with the best software and the highest translation speed, it is difficult to meet deadlines. This site is the only way I know to communicate, emails are limited to assignments, I was immediately cut off by two PMs over the years when I only started to discuss issues not related to the specific job. I'm a subcontractor, not an employee.

    Advice to Management

    It would help to recruit more qualified translators and reviewers. Despite price pressures from clients, translators are leaving the industry when they find rates are not sustainable.


  2. "A good company for getting solid experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Translator in Panama City Beach, FL
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Translator in Panama City Beach, FL
    Recommends

    I worked at TransPerfect (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    If you just started your freelance business, you can learn a lot about how the industry works, how to meet your clients' requirements, and get training in using their CAT tool. Also, you can get a tremendous amount of work from them, which translates into solid experience and skills.

    Cons

    low rates, tight deadlines, lack of feedback

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Great PMs, worst at paying on time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPerfect (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Some of the PMs and internal linguists are really nice and friendly, working with them is a pleasure.

    Cons

    They are the absolute worst at paying on time and being transparent about payments, 45 days from invoice has not happened once, often receive an email confirming payment made a couple of days before but 'it may take up to ten days to arrive'. This ten-day rule is often broken as well and trying to get in touch with an actual human being is god awful, you can only open tickets and then they might take three days to reply.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your freelancers on time! Without them you wouldn't have a business, you expect a lot and freelancers are just expected to 'accept' your problems.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Decent Translation Agency"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPerfect (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    They have lots of work most of the time. The project managers are very friendly and rates can be negotiated.

    Cons

    The payment terms, 45 days net. Rates have declined in the past few years.

    Advice to Management

    Work on improving the payment terms and base rates.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "Translator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPerfect (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I’ve watched TPT grow from an innovative newbie into a global corporation, with a seemingly endless appetite for expansion. For some good five or so years, the company managed to find a fine balance between the usually demanding and competitive corporate culture and the increasingly elusive sentiment of “human factor.”

    Cons

    Recently, such an ambitious, and borderline frenetic, expansion has started taking toll on people working on all sides of the industry - especially freelancers and PMs. I’ve “passed” through numerous PMs, have built warm relations with many of them, all of whom shared their concerns about the overly demanding and underappreciated work atmosphere.

    Over the past year or so, the TPT rates have dropped to the point of appearing “insulting.” The deadlines have become even tighter, the number of PMs, requiring immediate updates and explanations, has increased. Such notions as “DPT/formatting fees,” “minimum rate,” “rush rate” have pretty much disappeared.

    Advice to Management

    With the high-tech disruption of pretty much every aspect of our lives, the frenzy of automation will continue destabilizing the industry even deeper, so I cannot really see any potential for the management to calm down and stop bullying everyone into surrender. It's hopeless rather.


  6. Helpful (18)

    "Four-dollar jobs competing with no-pay jobs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at TransPerfect part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working experience as a freelance translator/proofreader

    Cons

    Don't know where to begin. Staff turnover is worse than that in McDo, new PMs trying to push rates even lower (leading to 4-dollar jobs worth only 4-letter words), new freelancers ready to work for 0.002 $/word and producing the translation which is worse than that produced by the machines. As mentioned above, the atmosphere in the company is toxic, as in 1-dollar shop with untidy and bad humored underpaid staff, loads of goods which are not worth the place they are taking, and unsatisfied customers who cannot find one single thing worth buying.

    Advice to Management

    Close your 4-dollar shop, it is not interesting to anyone and not funny anymore.


  7. Helpful (9)

    "New flat rates suck"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    They are huge so there's lots of work.

    Cons

    They're like Uber, trying to get the bottom line. I'm a native speaker of English so am always asked to do "proofing" of translations into English done by non-natives, and they know my rates but I always have to fight for them. Now they are trying to get us to accept so-called flat rates, just to squeeze us even more. And they seem to be trying to replace their QM with freelancers. They are always asking me to accept that kind of work on a freelance basis. I always reject it - I know it won't be worth what they're will to pay for it.

    Advice to Management

    Just pay translators, who are the core of the product you offer, what they're worth.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Remote freelance translation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Freelance French Translator in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Freelance French Translator in Washington, DC

    Pros

    Remote freelancing makes the job flexible; the projects have a very fast turnaround. Payment goes out per project, not monthly, so you get paid relatively often. The invoice system is pretty simple. The translation projects themselves are exciting, often for marketing campaigns of major consumer brands. The project managers are very friendly.

    Cons

    The projects are not consistent. Sometimes the payment for the same word count can vary by hundreds of dollars. They often require same-day turnaround which can be difficult considering translators are on different time zones.

    Advice to Management

    Improve system so that translators can set preferences of volume of work per project and availability.


  9. Helpful (11)

    "Bottom feeders"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Possibly a good starter agency for a new translator, because they have lots of work.

    Cons

    Things went well to begin with, but starting in 2008 went downhill rapidly. Always lower and lower rates, and tighter and tighter deadlines. Each job has to be negotiated individually. At present, the two founders are fighting in court. I will certainly not accept work from them as long as this is going on.

    Advice to Management

    Try to recognize that quality depends on loyalty, which in turn depends on treating your freelancers - the people who actually do the work - with respect.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Translators' pay is too low to make the work effort worthwhile"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Current Freelancer - Freelance Translator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at TransPerfect (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Assuming you already know the linguistic side of translating well, you will still learn many things about the finer points of computerized text- and word-processing programs. A lot of the documents you'll be asked to translate require intensive formatting. I considered myself a Microsoft Word and PowerPoint power user before starting with Transperfect, but now I've been forced to master some of the most esoteric, recondite, and difficult tasks that those programs enable one to do.

    Cons

    I've translated for some years now, but this year was a wake-up call in terms of taxes (I pay taxes in the United States). Transperfect treats you (legitimately) as an independent contractor and contributes nothing toward your payroll taxes. So you have to pay both the employer's and the employee's share of payroll taxes, which IIRC are around 16% of your earnings for U.S. federal tax. Then you must pay federal and any state and/or local income tax. I figured out that I'm keeping less than half of the gross compensation I've earned from Transperfect. So if you accept jobs at Transperfect's bottom offer of 6¢ per word, you might be earning $10 an hour after taxes! I always asked for more, but I've determined that my take-home pay is about $15 to $20 an hour on average despite being paid considerably more than the minimum rate. That is still too little, alas.

    Advice to Management

    If you want translators to remain available and interested, pay higher rates to the more talented among them. Otherwise, I'm guessing you'll have high turnover, with all of the frustrations that entails.