Starting Work As A Freelance Translator

When you start working as a freelance translator, you have to take a number of things into account. One of the most important things is to find out what you know about the world, which has nothing to do with the language degree you just got from college.

What were you good at in school before learning one or more languages? Are you good at math, physics, biology? Or maybe you’re better at amateur drama or editing a school or college magazine. Are you interested in religion or history?

Art books often need to be translated, and art knowledge is something that can be developed and improved throughout your life.

Besides languages, what are your current interests?

It makes no sense to advertise yourself as a freelance translator unless you tell the translation agency what your expertise is.

If you have a simple writing style, you may be the commercial and advertising translator that agencies need. If you are interested in ecology and the environment, you should study these topics in your spare time to keep abreast of the latest changes.

The same goes for technical translations, where changes are taking place at an ever-increasing pace. Technical translators usually work for several years in a specific industry, some of which have studied a foreign language abroad. They had been trained as engineers, but after ten or twenty years they decided to become freelance translators (they no longer had a boss to tell them what to do), and their previous experience and training opened the door for technical translators. Their previous work experience has taught them the correct industrial vocabulary for both languages.

Other technical translators have basic training in languages, but are also interested in technical subjects – perhaps a hobby – that can be developed.

There are other translators who specialize in medical, legal or financial translations. Again, they usually work in related industries, often abroad, but after half their lives decide to break free from the shackles of the organization. These people are especially valuable to the translation industry because they have professional qualifications such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.

On the one hand, freelance translators offer a lot of freedom – you can choose what time of the day you work – and you sometimes have to work until 2 am and on weekends, but the best part is that you can decide for yourself what you want. want to do and when to do it.

If you are starting out as a freelancer and an end customer or translation agency sends you a translation that is beyond your capabilities (don’t worry, this also happens with translators who have been in the business for 20 years or more), you should politely inform the client that you can’t and why. You can email a client next week to showcase your expertise.

This brings us to advertising. Virtually all freelance translators have to advertise in some way. Sometimes registering with a large translation agency is enough to take enough work with you, but this is mainly for people who have been in the translation industry for years. For those just starting out as a freelancer, it’s usually best to sign up for a translation and/or interpreter directory, where clients can find you, and you can get a list of translation agencies from which to email agencies that speak your language. show, Your expertise and the clients you have worked with.

As a manager of a translation agency, I usually get one to ten emails a day from freelancers that I answer and often ask for more details. If you are emailing your resume, please include your mailing address, phone number, email address and the price of each source word in one of the world’s currencies (EUR, GBP, USD) in the resume. Of course, don’t forget to include a list of client names on your resume for your expertise and any important translations you’ve done recently.

Translation agencies interested in your application may ask you to translate a short sample text, approximately 200 to 300 words per page.

Some new freelancers call translation agencies looking for work, but email is usually best. Agencies prefer black and white matters – they find it easier to put your data in their database.

I don’t know how many or hundreds of thousands of freelance translators there are in the world today, but there is always room for another. So go ahead – send your email!


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