How to Become a Successful Freelance Translator?
Are you bored of a 9 to 5 job and want to start something more liberating in terms of time and place? Do you want to become your own boss? Then a freelance translator can be a viable option for you. You might have heard about freelance from your colleagues or on social media. Freelancing is the method to work as an independent identity instead of becoming employed by any company. In short, freelancers are self-employed and they are also called independent contractors. Many companies hire freelancers for part-time jobs on short contracts. The important thing to note is that they don’t receive the same leverage as a permanent employee and their freedom of work is more important for them.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, when many people have lost their jobs and people are confined to their homes due to lockdowns. There have been a vast majority of people moving to freelance jobs. Therefore, at present, there are more freelancers than there were ever in the past.
What are the Other Terms Used for Freelancing?
Freelancers are basically self-employed. Freelancer is not the only word used for people who work on their terms. Some other words are used for freelancing are as follows.
Contract Work: It is a short-term or part-time contract. Moreover, it is also referred to as a contract job.
Independent Contractor: It is known as an internal revenue service and it is one of the classifications of a freelancer.
1099: This is a type of freelancing in which freelancers are paid using a tax form called 1099-MISC.
Contract Consultant: This word is used for consultants under a 1099 contract for a specific span.
Contract-to-Hire: Sometimes freelancers want full-time employment. Contract to Hire is a probationary period in which freelancers are tested whether they can be hired for full time or for a specific time.
How to Become a Successful Freelance Translator?
You don’t necessarily need to know a lot of languages to become a freelance translator. If you are fluent in two or more languages, you can still become a successful translator with little effort. The best benefit is that you have your own business and you are not answerable to anyone other than yourself. Let’s have a look at how you can become a successful freelance translator.
- Possess Excellent Writing Skills in your Native Language
To become a proficient freelance translator, you should be a very good writer. Moreover, you must possess excellent grammar and knowledge of different writing skills in your mother tongue. If you are bilingual then your translation will be read by native people who have a lot of experience in that field and language. If you are unable to provide writings at the level of readers’ requirements then you will cause trouble for both yourself and your readers. As a freelancer, you must have to make a good reputation with your writing skills so that people can approach you easily.
- Developing the Linguistic Skills
If you are living in a foreign country in which your native language is spoken then you need to spend time in that country so you can understand the intricacies and lexicon of the language that is spoken in the region. For this, you must buy the language reference books that provide you with different writing styles, guides and do update learning resources regularly. Also, read newspapers, journals, watch TV and listen to podcasts and radio in the target language. Endorse yourself in different linguistic and educational courses to improve your writing style and skills. Do take the assistance of proofreaders and check the changes that they made in your writing to learn more. To become a freelance translator, you must be skillful in the source and target language so you can understand the text accurately to provide seamless translations.
- Understanding the Cultural Intricacies
In every country, different languages with different dialects are spoken. A freelance translator must know the regional and cultural intricacies in the source and target language because if these nuances are not considered then the translation will fire back. Moreover, it will ruin your reputation as a professional translator and you won’t get work in the digital world. These translators also act as cultural ambassadors so no matter how good the translation is, if they are unable to consider cultural differences, the goal of good translation services will not be fulfilled. For this, a translator should spend time in both source and target cultures. Moreover, they can take intercultural communication classes and study distinct cultures.
- Become a Subject Matter Expert in a Few Subject Areas
Every field has its terminologies. You can produce good translation results if you are a subject matter expert in your field. For instance, if you are working for a company that is producing products and services then you must know about their products and services, it would allow you to provide them with error-free translations. You should discuss the translation material with the people that have written the content. Moreover, you can take assistance from your close family and friends that are subject matter experts in that field. Additionally, you can take courses in a specific field to develop your expertise in that material. To become a specialized person in any field can narrow your niche and people can approach you for specific translation. Working in a specialized field will also make you a professional translator.
- Work with Some Agency Before Going for Freelancing
A language translation service if not provided accurately to the clients will do havoc for your freelancing translation. So for getting a feel of the industry you must work with a professional translation platform. These agencies consider the business aspect of every translation like marketing, billing, and project management. Although working with these agencies will often pay you less, on the other hand, they will develop professional skills. Moreover, working with a professional agency will also help you in making social connections. With the help of these connections, and emerging translator platforms, freelance translators can get work easily in the future.
- Develop Your Rapport Early
Start taking freelance projects from the start and do not worry about finances, accounting, and taxes. If you streamline your work from the start of your freelance career then you can provide your clients with impeccable translation services in a fast turnaround time. As freelancing is a one-man show, therefore, to avoid hustle and bustle at the end, you must balance all your tasks, so you can meet the deadlines easily. It would be better if you start with a good system and manage all your translation files.
- Good Computer and Keyboarding Skills
To start with your financing work, you must develop your gig first. To provide state-of-the-art translation services on a fast turnaround time, a freelance translator should learn how to use computer-aided-translation tools and other translation software and systems so they can market themselves online. Your typing speed should be good. Moreover, you must know how to operate speech-to-text software because there are many times when you must edit the content to make it error-free. For good computer and keyboard skills, you must enroll yourself in IT courses. Additionally, you can hire computer support and IT for assistance. You should also learn how to provide good customer service to your clients. In this way, your customers would keep coming back to you again and again. Marketing is also one of the important skills that can make you a successful freelance translator.
- Self-Motivation and Management of the Work
You must work with sheer dedication to market your translation services. For this, you must organize and manage your work to provide customers with timely translation services. To improve these skills, you must read material on organizational skills and time management. Also, make sure that your workplace is organized. Follow your work routine consistently and tell your family and friends about the nature of your work so nobody would disturb you during your working hours.
- Take a Degree or Certification
You must be wondering if you need to take a degree in translation. Not necessarily. A university degree in linguistics and a master’s degree in any discipline will be an additional benefit. This qualification will make you a reliable translator for the client. It would help you get more orders on any translator platform. You can develop your competencies by getting specialization in the area of your interest. You can also take short or long courses online or offline. The other important thing that can make you a successful freelance translator is that you must upgrade your skills and strive to learn new things.
- Look for a Good Mentor
If you find a good mentor then it will be a great help for you to ace your freelancing career. Whenever you face a difficulty, your mentor will guide you according to the light of his experience. You can find mentors from global translation associations. Moreover, if you have networking in the translation industry then also you can find a good mentor. Some translators can be of great help to you because if they get translation work in language pairs in which they are not proficient then they can refer work to you.
If you have the right knowledge, attitude, and translation skills for linguistics, you can become a successful freelance translator. Starting your work and making a good reputation in the competitive digital market is not easy but if the above mentioned tips each freelancer translator should know will help them in boosting their career. Moreover, you can work with flexibility and full freedom.