Successful Freelance Translator: Dream or Reality?
Fluency in both languages is a must.
This might seem like an easy task at first, but in reality, you need to take some time and learn both languages not by head, but by heart. While you might feel confident about your skills, taking a few tests and mastering both languages is always a good idea. First, you need to master your mother tongue in every possible way so you can analyze and draw comparisons between two languages.
Second, you need to master both practical and theoretical sides of the foreign language in order to fully analyze the meaning and translation. Try speaking with native speakers to make it even better, and regularly taking tests and opportunities to improve your language proficiency.
And last, but not least, don’t be afraid to practice the translation process, even if it’s volunteering for a few hours. Sometimes it’s better to make contacts, which will surely draw more interesting projects to you.
Market yourself if you don’t want to be unemployed.
No one will know about your translation skills unless you’ll start marketing yourself. Start offering your services to various people, sign up for various projects you’re interested in, try to get more things done, and that’ll pay off in the end. However, success is half the skill, half the marketing and you need to make sure you’re good at both.
Offer competitive rates, small enough to be affordable, but good enough to pay your bills, and within the current market limitations, which should make your success a bit more likely. Start increasing as you get more experienced, but make sure you’re within the limitations imposed by the current economic situation in the country and overall market requirements.
You could also ask your friends and family to share some information about your services, so you get some more exposure.
Knowledge of the market is important.
Know what’s in demand and follow what brings the food on your table. Usually it takes only a few weeks to get the basic knowledge of a specific subject, so increasing your knowledge and amount of translation types that you can do is always a good idea.
There are special lessons available for specific translation types, so if you’re ready to spend some money, you’ll broaden your opportunities and it’ll pay off hundreds of times.
Learn how to manage your time.
Time is the only thing that is more special than anything else and can’t be bought with any kind of money. Learn how to manage it properly, and you’ll be able to do even the hardest and most time-consuming tasks in a matter of minutes. It’ll allow you to do more projects at the same time while having some additional time for fun and rest.
The best way to do it is by learning how to concentrate, removing any distraction while you’re working and trying to break a large task into several small ones and do your best to finish them quickly.
Another good idea is to set a specific deadline for yourself, so you have at least a few hours to take another look at the project and fix any mistakes you could’ve made.
Act professionally to impress your clients.
Do your tasks quickly and in time, be polite, and make sure your customer is satisfied with your work. Who knows, maybe your customer knows someone who also needs some translation services, and he’ll put a word for you, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up with a big list of potential customers who’re willing to reward you for your hard work.
Work hard, but don’t overexert yourself.
In order to survive in the modern world, you need to work hard on your assignments, but make sure that you’re not overexerting yourself. If you find yourself working fourteen hours a day without any rest, then you really need to evaluate your time management and scheduling.
Stick to what you know.
If you’ve encountered a project that doesn’t look attractive, there’s no harm in declining this offer. As long as you don’t take the project, it won’t harm your reputation, but taking a project like this and cancelling it halfway through is something that you need to avoid. There’s no shame in failing once, but make sure this won’t repeat again, otherwise you’ll have to work even harder to make up for these failures.
Also, if you’re specializing in one type of translations (e.g. legal translation), you should avoid taking anything unrelated to that (e.g. technical translation), unless you’re qualified. Every possible area of translation is filled with pitfalls that could bring more harm than it’s worth. In this case it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Love your work.
Doing something you don’t like to do won’t make you happy. You need to love your craft in order to enjoy it, and this way you’ll inspire others to come to you and learn from you. Creativity, thoroughness and positive approach will save you from stressful days and make every finished project feel as rewarding as you’ve never felt before. Have fun!
We hope these tips will provide you the necessary information about becoming a successful translator. Consider looking forward to our next articles and useful tips in the nearest future.
Article was produced by resources of 2Polyglot