Is Subcontractor a virtue, or a vice? Translation Article Knowledgebase

Articles about translation and interpreting
Article Categories
Search Articles

Advanced Search
About the Articles Knowledgebase has created this section with the goals of:

Further enabling knowledge sharing among professionals
Providing resources for the education of clients and translators
Offering an additional channel for promotion of members (as authors)

We invite your participation and feedback concerning this new resource.

More info and discussion >

Article Options
Your Favorite Articles
Recommended Articles
  1. overview and action plan (#1 of 8): Sourcing (ie. jobs / directory)
  2. Getting the most out of A guide for translators and interpreters
  3. Does Juliet's Rose, by Any Other Name, Smell as Sweet?
  4. The difference between editing and proofreading
  5. El significado de los dichos populares
No recommended articles found.
Popular Authors
  1. Audrey Pate
  2. Ina Chitenco
  3. Muhammad Atallah
  4. Behrouz Ebrahimi
  5. pkchan
No popular authors found.

 »  Articles Overview  »  Business of Translation and Interpreting  »  Business Issues  »  Is Subcontractor a virtue, or a vice?

Is Subcontractor a virtue, or a vice?

By Svetlana Potton | Published  05/3/2004 | Business Issues | Recommendation:
Contact the author
Svetlana Potton
Միացյալ Նահանգներ
ռուսերենից անգլերեն translator

See this author's profile
Is Subcontractor a virtue, or a vice?
Once in a while as a freelancer or an owner of your small translating business you might encounter an event of overlapping projects, when two (or more) clients want your services at the same time, and you can’t work for both of them. What do you do? You can either deny one of them, and perchance loose that client forever, or you can keep a good face, and send a subcontractor to one of your customers.

Here is the definition of word subcontractor: “Any person, firm or corporation, contracting with the contractor, to perform part of the work and includes partners and associates in a joint venture so contracting with the contractor.”
Subcontracting is a way to keep your company in business with your regular patrons in the events of your physical inability to do the job personally, and at the same time you do not have to deal with the employment laws and requirements. Subcontractor will work for you. Your client will pay you. You will pay to subcontractor. Then everybody will be paying their own taxes.

It all sounds simple enough, however, there are a couple of risks that you will be encountering by subcontracting someone else for your job:

First, you want to be absolutely sure in qualifications of a person that you are hiring. You want them to do translating/interpreting job just as good as you usually do it, otherwise it is your name, and your business’ reputation at stakes.

Second, you may loose your client to a subcontractor if he/she will be performing very well at the job, and then will offer to your client his/her own services next time for perhaps less competitive fee.

Unfortunately, there is no 100% warranty to avoid neither of these risks. However, there is a way to provide some assurance.

Best of all if you had chance to observe your potential subcontractor in action while they were interpreting elsewhere. This way you can see their professional capabilities. Resume and references are good classic ways to obtain information about their qualifications. Next, you need to prepare a contract where you specify your terms and conditions of the subcontracting, including financial and ethical matters. Perhaps it will not totally stop your subcontractor from “stealing” your client, but at least it may slow him/her down.

After all preparations, you may start with small projects, and then if you feel comfortable with the person of your choice, move on to the bigger projects. And one last thing, keep your relationship with your subcontractor on a professional level.

Comments on this article

Knowledgebase Contributions Related to this Article
  • No contributions found.
Want to contribute to the article knowledgebase? Join

Articles are copyright ©, 1999-2021, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.
Content may not be republished without the consent of

Your current localization setting


Select a language

All of
  • All of
  • Բառերի որոնում
  • Պատվերներ
  • Ֆորումներ
  • Multiple search