GTE Localize

Freelance Translator or Translation Agency: Who Should You Hire for Your Indonesian Translation Projects?

Posted by Anne Q. on November 10, 2021.

At some point in your business development, maybe a few weeks or a couple of months from now, you will realize that it’s time you went global. Then localizing your content accordingly is a must, especially when you want to enter countries with rich languages and cultures like Indonesia. The real question here is how can you find translators for your Indonesian translation project? You will find the answer in this post.

But before we go there, let’s take a look at your options for translation partners first.

Two Options for Your Indonesian Translation Projects

There are two main choices out there when it comes to Indonesian translation services: you can either work with Indonesian freelance translators or professional language providers (also known as translation agencies) which provide language pairs relating to the Indonesian language.

Freelance Translator or Translation Agency: Who Should You Hire for Your Indonesian Translation Projects?

The great news is just by searching Google, you can find a lot of potential candidates for your Indonesian translation projects. The not-too-good news is that there are just so many choices that you will have a hard time picking the most suitable one. We do not use the word “best” because working with the best translators or translation agencies does not necessarily mean you will get the best Indonesian translations. What you need is one who fits your projects well in terms of language pairs, content, experience, etc.

Now, let’s dig deep into the pros and cons of each option for your Indonesian translation projects.


Indonesian Freelance Translators

Indonesian freelance translators are native Indonesian linguists who work as independent contractors to provide clients with translation services. They usually work remotely from different parts of the world. Freelance translators perform all the tasks themselves, from finding clients to negotiating and supporting them during and after the translation process.

The benefits of working with freelance translators

You can communicate directly to your translators. When working with freelance translators, you can contact them at any time without going through an intermediary (which is a salesperson or project manager from translation agencies). If there are any changes to the projects, both parties can quickly discuss and find a solution. This procedure saves you a significant amount of time.

Working with Freelancers Process

You can enjoy lower translation rates. There is no agency fee or any fee for an intermediary. You only pay for what you receive from freelance translators. Thus, in general, the costs for your Indonesian translation projects are significantly reduced.

The drawbacks of cooperating with freelance translators

One translator can’t provide all language services. A translator typically focuses on one step in the whole translation process. It’s either translating, editing, proofreading, or DTP, not all. That means you will have to hire many linguists. Because each linguist is responsible for a specific step in the process. There will be some challenges with managing and coordinating all those people.

It requires a lot more coordination efforts. To guarantee the quality of Indonesian translations, a professional Indonesian translator can only translate content into their native languages. That’s why most of them can handle only one or two language pairs. If you need to translate three or more languages into Indonesian, you will need to find freelance translators for each language pair. And you will be the one who handles all the coordination with these translators. Trust us, it’s no easy task.


Your choice of CAT tools is limited. When it comes to ensuring the consistency of a translation, CAT tools are an inevitable powerful assistant for translators. A freelance translator, however, is usually only fluent in a limited number of CAT Tools. There’s a chance that the CAT Tool you want to use for your Indonesian translation projects is not supported by that translator.

You may experience inconsistent communication and support. A freelance translator’s communication skills and responsiveness can range from poor to excellent depending on their personalities and work styles. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across those who are a joy to work with. On the other end of the spectrum, your freelance translator may disappear when you need them or be rude/unprofessional in their cooperation.

Where to find Indonesian freelance translators?

Here are some platforms that you can use to find freelance translators who specialize in the Indonesian language:

    • Translator Directory
    • Translators Café
    • Upwork
    • Fiverr


Indonesian Translation Agencies

Indonesian translation agencies, also known as language service providers (LSPS), are businesses that usually provide various types of language services, including translation, interpretation, localization, or consulting for the Indonesian language. They have an in-house translation team and a large network of freelance translators. When working with an Indonesian translation agency, you will not work directly with translators. Salespeople/account managers/program managers from the agency will be the ones who assist your Indonesian translation projects. Project managers (PMs) also play an important role in supporting the operation of each project and ensuring that the process runs smoothly.

The good things about Indonesian translation agencies

They offer comprehensive services. Aside from translation, editing, and proofreading, the translation process entails numerous other steps such as Desktop Publishing (DTP), Linguistic Quality Assessment (LQA), Linguistic sign-off (LSO), etc. While freelance translators typically focus on one of these steps, translation agencies can cover almost (if not all) services. Even if you only order one or two steps in the process, reputable translation agencies will add value to your projects by conducting internal Language Quality Assurance (LQA) after each step (without charging you extra fees).

Vietnamese translation services in Singapore

The Standard Translation Process

They can handle many types of content. Thanks to having a network of in-house Indonesian linguists and/or freelance translators specializing in a wide range of fields, translation agencies can all your demands for content from different industries. They can work with documents in the medical, engineering, information technology, software, travel, and more.

Numerous language pairs are supported. Translation agencies have a specialized team known as Vendor Managers whose jobs are to find and build a large network of Indonesian freelancers to meet as many language requests as possible.

Their capacity is higher. Translation agencies can handle a lot of projects at the same time thanks to their deep network of Indonesian translators. If necessary, a large project can be assigned to a few linguists in the network with the aim of meeting a tight deadline.

Fewer coordination efforts from your side. Instead of dealing with freelancers on your own, you can rely on the PM team from translation agencies. They will bridge you with the Indonesian linguists in charge and perform other tasks to ensure your projects run smoothly.

Working with Translation Agencies Process

They can support numerous CAT Tools. CAT tools are used by all translation agencies, regardless of the size of the project. With the help of an engineering team, translation agencies can use a wide range of CAT tools to meet all of their clients’ needs.

You can enjoy good customer service. Translation agencies have a team of well-trained salespeople and project managers with excellent communication skills and a service mindset. In general, they can provide you with more professional assistance than freelance translators.

Be aware of the drawbacks

The rates they offer are more expensive than those from freelancers. In general, Indonesian translation agencies charge a higher fee than Indonesian freelance translators. The reason is understandable though. Aside from paying linguists, translation agencies must pay management costs, which includes staff salaries, administrative costs, etc.

You cannot communicate directly with translators. The linguists are in charge of your Indonesian translation projects and you are not in contact directly. Instead, a project management team acts as a go-between. The assigned PM gives translators the projects’ details and your specific requirements. When a problem arises, translators will talk to the PM who will later inform you of the situation. In general, having one intermediary man will lengthen the communication process.

Where to find Indonesian translation agencies?

To find the name of some high-quality Indonesian translation agencies, you should check out the following pages:

    • Review pages for Indonesian translation services: and
    • Company reviews from ProZ Business

ProZ Reviews

Company Reviews from ProZ


Who should you hire – Freelancers or Translation Agencies?

Now that you see the pros and cons of each choice, it’s time to choose one that is more suitable for your Indonesian translation projects. If you are still unsure, check out our summarized table below:

Freelancers or Translation Agencies


Wrap Up

Deciding which translation partner you should work with for your Indonesian translation projects can be a real headache. We hope our comparison above have helped you make the decisions easier to some extent. Now that you have chosen the type of translation partner to go with, you should start thinking about how to test their abilities. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to test your translation partners. Good luck with your upcoming projects!

While you are here, check out GTE Localize’s translation services for the Indonesian language. Having an office in Jakarta, Indonesia, GTE Localize has a deep network of experienced and native Indonesian linguists who can handle a wide range of content, from life science to marketing, business, IT and manufacturing.

Why should you let GTE Localize’s team help you with your Indonesian translation projects?

    • We have an office in Jakarta, Indonesia where we can connect with the best resources in town and get a deep understanding of the Indonesian language, culture, and business styles.
    • Our native Indonesian translators have over 5 years of work experience as professional translators;
    • We apply the latest technologies applied for all projects (CAT Tools, QA Tools, Localization Management Platforms, Self-built ERP, etc.);
    • Our sales and PM teams are responsive and dedicated ;
    • Our rates are budget-saving, starting from $0.06/word.

Indonesian translation services - Indonesian translation projects

Talk to our Indonesian localization experts and kick off your projects today!