When you need to have important strategic content translated, it can be all too tempting to opt for one of the many freelance translators out there offering rates so low you’ll barely notice the expense. In comparison, the costs quoted by a professional translation agency for the same job may seem inflated, but don’t be fooled; the text you send them might be the same, but the quality of the text you get back almost definitely won’t be! Also, if you go for a smaller agency, with lower overheads, the difference in price might not be even be that much, while the difference in quality will speak for itself.A professional translation agency should offer you a complete TEP service (translation, editing, proofing). This means that the final product you get back is just that; a fully proofed, edited, checked and corrected copy, ready for publication. Most freelancers, particularly the cheaper ones who can only afford to give your content cursory attention, can’t offer the same.Any professional translation agency worthy of the name will ensure that your content is seen by more than one pair of eyes before delivery; each text going through a translation stage plus a proofing/editing stage as a minimum. This reduces the risk of subjectivity and ensures that any errors, ambiguities, or misunderstandings on the part of the translator are resolved, all of which results in a higher quality final product being delivered to you.When you’re dealing with large volumes, using a translation service rather than a single translator also means that you can simply hand over your content and let them do the rest. Professional translation companies will handle all project management for you, liaising with translators and editors in any number of languages, so you don’t need to deal with 10 people per text, just one.At a more basic level, an agency will be able to handle much larger volumes than a freelance translator, and offer quicker turnarounds for larger projects, as work can be managed and divided across a number of resources.A professional translation company will also be able to offer a broader range of language combinations (most freelancers will only specialise in one or two). This is especially useful for multilingual texts or projects. They can manage a project so that all languages are translated concurrently and delivered together. This approach also ensures that a consistent tone or voice is conveyed across all languages and that all translations are of equally high quality, regardless of language combination. (No matter what a freelance translator may claim, most are significantly stronger in one of their specialist languages.)Similarly, a professional translation agency will offer a wider range of subject matter expertise, meaning you can use the same trusted contacts over and over no matter what kind of content is involved, saving you time on research and sourcing of the right resources.In terms of efficiency, the majority of translation companies will have wide-ranging expertise in a number of CAT tools (translation software). This can be especially important for IT translation, where particular tools may be required. The headaches involved in dealing with translators who just aren’t technologically savvy or, alternatively, converting everything on your own end, can cost you a fortune in time, energy and frustration.So if quality, continuity and expertise matter to you, or if you simply want to make your own life as easy as possible, resist the temptation of those deceptively great rates and make sure you go for a professional translation agency. We’re confident that it’s not a decision you’ll regret.