Freelancers, take note!

After graduating from a linguistic department at a university and obtaining a translation degree, many students want to become a freelance translator as soon as possible. However, due to the competition in the translation services environment, achieving this goal can be very challenging. Translation agencies do not often turn to translators without experience, and it is not easy to find potential customers without skills in business relations. What is important to know and what can be done to establish yourself as a successful freelance translator?

Translation agency
Most translation agencies are reluctant to recruit new freelancers. Moreover, time must pass before it becomes clear whether the freelancer meets the company’s expectations: whether he / she meets deadlines, meets the quality requirements for translations, uses suitable sources of information, adh

eres to the required text style and terminology (economic, technical , medical, IT technologies, etc.). Many translation agencies set a probationary period during which the company looks at a new translator. In order to reduce the risk of fiasco (as well as avoid the associated costs), translation agencies usually accept resumes only from those freelancers who have gained two to three years of experience in the field of translation.

Customer search
In their quest to directly introduce themselves to businesses or freelance companies, it is often difficult for freelancers to find employees to whom they should introduce themselves, or, if known, to get an appointment with them. Usually, companies prefer not to hire freelancers, but to maintain contacts with partners who are able to offer complex solutions, i.e. bureaus that offer translation services from / into different languages, take on specialized texts, can ensure that deadlines are met and who can be contacted at any time. Considering the diversity of client tasks, the length of cooperation and the requirements for translators’ experience, it is not surprising that many companies choose translation agencies over individual freelancers. Bureau services can be more expensive, but additional offers and quality assurances justify the higher costs.

Tips for Achieving Freelance Success
What steps are important to take after graduation in order to achieve the level of a successful freelance translator?

After graduating from an educational institution, it is better not to declare yourself directly as a freelance translator, but to try to find a job related to translation in a certain company (for example, in the same translation agency), and work there for a couple of years, gaining invaluable experience. The salary of an employee with a fixed salary may be lower than that of an experienced freelancer, however, it should be remembered that without the necessary experience it will not be possible to succeed in freelancing. It may also happen that the new employee will be assigned to a senior translator who will review the newcomer’s translations, monitor his progress and point out his strengths and weaknesses. This helps in gaining experience in translating texts of various topics and styles, as well as other skills that are important for a good translator.
If you cannot find a paid position immediately, you should try to get an unpaid internship. A translation agency may not need or be able to hire new staff, but it can still provide an excellent internship. For a freelance translator, an internship is a good starting point.
After a few years of honing your translation skills in this way, it may become clear that the time has come to find your own clients. Ideally, you should start on a part-time basis so that there is time to complete the orders of individual clients, and that the salary is sufficient. At this stage, it is important to fully negotiate all the conditions with the boss so that there is no conflict of interest. An excellent option is to send your resume to translation bureaus, companies or enterprises that have a translation department, as well as to government agencies, if their field of activity correlates with the specifics of the experience acquired by the translator. In such a letter, it is important to emphasize consent to the test translation.
When the lead time for orders from various clients reaches 20 hours per week, you can already consider abandoning formal part-time work and devote this time to attracting new customers. In general, freelancers with good translation experience will need 20 hours to earn the same as full-time translators.
These are general guidelines. Everyone’s career develops in different ways and ways, depending on personal preferences, skills and conditions. However, whatever the circumstances, experience and a certain amount of business qualities are the basis of a successful career as a freelance translator.

You may also like