Working as a freelance translator can be the perfect job for those who speak more than one language and wish to work under their own terms. Bilingual people usually have this easy and they are able to land jobs a lot easier but this is a sector that is open to anyone who wishes to pursue a professional career.
Just like with any other profession, starting out can be rather difficult, especially if you are not sure about what you need to be careful of in order to be successful. Here are some of the most important tips that will help you succeed in this new journey.
1. Sign up for a freelance website
The very first thing you need to do in order to get started is to sign up for one of the various freelance websites available online that can help you kick-start your career as a new freelance translator. Some of the websites you will come across will be free to use while others will require a small monthly fee but in any case, it would be wise to sign up for more than one platform at the beginning and see which ones better fit your needs.
There are plenty of different websites you can choose from and seeing how each individual platform works will help you gain enough experience until you open your own website or online translating business. Some of the websites you can choose from is goLance.
2. Define your rates
In order to be able to work with any client through any online platform you choose, you will need to know what you will be charging for your services. This is something that many new freelance translators don’t know what to do about, as it can be difficult asking for a certain amount of money from someone you haven’t met or worked for before.
An easy way to define how much you wish your own rates to be is to take a look at what other freelancers are charging for the same services. Depending on that fact and also what you wish to make in a month and how many hours per week you are willing to work, you will be able to define a rate that will be suitable for the services you will be offering to your clients.
3. Create a stable working routine
Working during the same hours every day and not skipping your schedule for any reason will help you create a working routine that will not only be sustainable but also productive. Working from home can be difficult for many people as they are not able to organize their time and obligations correctly, so this is exactly why having a working routine will work to your advantage.
There is no issue with when or how you wish to work as long as it works for you and allows you to complete your projects on time. Making adjustments to your routine and changing things is part of your adaptation in the new remote working environment and the sooner you start working on this new schedule, the more productive you will become without having to struggle too much.
4. Pick the right niche
Another thing that many freelance translators neglect to think about before they get started working on projects is the type of niche they wish to be working for. Depending on factors such as your studies or knowledge in certain fields, you should be able to have a general idea of the types of translations you will be able to complete without an issue.
The one thing you need to keep in mind is that certain niches, such as the medical and legal ones can be rather challenging if you are not knowledgeable enough or if you do not have enough experience. Therefore, starting with doing general translations and the progressing to certain niches might be a better option if you are not very experienced.
5. Market your services online
Apart from working for certain platforms, you should make sure that you market yourself and your services online so that you start building a following and a clientele. By having social media accounts or even a professional website dedicated to the services that you offer, you will be able to reach out to more clients and also increase your credibility, as your potential clients will feel more certain about the quality of the translation services you will be providing.
This is probably not something you can dive into right as you begin your new career but you can definitely start building it up along the way, one step at a time. The more experience you gain, the more you can try connecting with companies and potential clients online and building your network easily and effectively.
6. Always provide clients with quality work
This probably goes without saying, but you need to make sure that you never let a client dissatisfied with the translation services you have provided them with. When you land your first few jobs, you are more than likely going to make mistakes as you will still be learning the job. This is normal but you should make sure that you always communicate the fact that you are inexperienced to your clients.
Quality work comes with experience but that doesn’t mean that you are not capable of producing work that is of good quality when you are just starting out. You need to focus on being careful about the context of the sentences you are translating, about what needs to be localized and about using the right proofreading and editing tools in order to avoid any possible grammar and spelling mistakes in your translated text.
7. Work hard but be patient
Last but not least, another thing you need to remember is that success is something you need to work hard for and not expect it to magically appear. It might take you anywhere from a few months to a whole year to become well-known on the platforms you work through and the more patience you show, the easier it will be for you to keep your work at a good level of quality.
Rushing your work and taking up many projects at once can cause you to be less careful with the work you produce and this will immediately affect your relationship with your clients and your popularity. Therefore, it is much smarter to stay humble, work hard and methodically instead of expecting to see your clientele building up immediately after you begin this new career path.
Build your career one step at a time
Starting this new career might seem difficult, but you need to keep in mind that every new beginning will be challenging and will require time in order for you to become accustomed to the new circumstances. Expecting success overnight is something that will only let you down so the best thing you can do is work hard and always ask for the payment your work deserves.