If you needed to have your appendix removed, would you ask the EMT that lives next door to take it out? Since she is your neighbor and already knows how to save lives, certainly she could handle the job. You could lay down on the kitchen table and let her take it out with a steak knife. It would certainly be cheaper than seeing a doctor and going to a hospital.
Would it be worth the money you save? No.
As a company in need of translating company communications into another language, why would you consider letting Rodolfo from the IT department translate your new Spanish brochure simply because he was born in Costa Rica?
Will in-house translation save you money? Sure.
Will it be worth it? No!
Someone who is multilingual and a professional translator are two entirely different animals. Translating is more than simply trading one word for another word in a different language. Translation involves the communication of equivalent meanings, contexts and intents from one language or culture to another.
Translating also involves communicating these meanings in a clear and concise manner. Rodolfo may be a native Spanish speaker but can he write well whether its in Spanish or English? A fifth grader may speak English well but would you hire one to write your next marketing brochure? Writing well is a learned and practiced skill.
Good professional translators have years of education in linguistics followed by years of experience translating. Translating source text about a subject with which you are unfamiliar is difficult at best and typically translators have advanced degrees in the field with which they work (healthcare, law, technology, etc.)
Even within a particular field, verbiage can vary widely and be highly unique. Building a relationship with a translation agency means they understand your business. Using up to date software they build glossaries around your business terminology so current and future materials for your business are consistent and correct. Over time these glossaries save you money on future translations.
Can Rodolfo guarantee you the same efficiency and quality? How about confidentiality?
Professional translators are worth the money. They save you time, frustration and communication blunders in the long run. Professional translators are highly qualified and trained to provide you with ethical, accurate and confidential translated materials your business requires.