Should I hire a translator directly or through an agency?
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In the previous article, I provided you with links to the lists of certified interpreters in the State of Florida, yet I advised you to go through an agency instead of hiring one of them directly.
Though I did not go much into detail, I will do so now.
The first reason you should hire through an agency is the varying skill levels between certified interpreters.
Even though the certification exam is a difficult one and is a good start when selecting your interpreter, you must take into consideration that there are many interpreters on that list that may not be the best at certain types of jobs, be it legal, medical, or financial terminology. They may have very pronounced accents or may not be very professional in their demeanor or attire. This you will not know unless you have worked with them in the past or have conducted an in-depth interview, which is very unlikely.
Secondly. Many of the interpreters on the list are retired, are staff interpreters working full-time for the State, live out of the area, or only take certain types of assignments. As a result, your search may take much longer than expected. You may have to make many phone calls and leave many messages until you find a certified interpreter that is available for your scheduled court proceeding. An agency, however, will have a list of local interpreters that regularly cover such assignments and will also have a list of the non-certified interpreters if needed and no certified interpreter is available or if scheduling an interpreter for which no certification exists.
The third and final reason why you should not hire an interpreter directly is redundancy and last-minute cancellations. It is extremely common to have individual interpreters call law firms at the very last minute or the night before to inform them that they will not be able to appear for x or y reason. Consider yourself lucky if you are alerted of this. It is far more common for the interpreter to simply not show up. Individual interpreters, generally, do no confirm or reconfirm assignments with the law firms and may double book themselves without realizing it. An agency on the other hand will not only reconfirm with you, the law firm; But should reconfirm with the interpreter the day before and the day of. They will have a list of interpreters available last minute to replace your assigned interpreter in case of unforeseen circumstances.
So, should I hire a translator directly?
No. I believe the benefits of going through an agency will outweigh the increased cost on most occasions.
You must also consider hiring an agency that does all these things I mentioned above. Legal Translations, Inc. is such an agency.