Breaking into the translation industry and establishing yourself as a professional translator can be difficult. So, how do you make yourself stand out in an increasingly competitive industry?
Here are our top five tips to kick-start your freelancing career.
- GAINING EXPERIENCE
Many companies are looking for translators with both qualifications and translation experience. You can often find yourself in a catch-22 situation, where you cannot gain experience because you don’t have experience!
A good way of gaining experience is by carrying out voluntary translations. Translators without Borders is a non-profit organisation which relies on voluntary translations for countries struggling with humanitarian crises, such as war, natural disasters and disease outbreaks.
You can register to provide translations and proofreading services for free and it will look great on your CV. You can also translate Wikipedia articles for free online, which also contributes to a non-profit organisation.
It is often the case that you send your details to hundreds of companies and receive one or two replies. Once registered, you still need to make yourself stand out to guarantee regular work. Being flexible with your rate can definitely be an advantage. If you have a particular rate that you have set, be open to reducing this when receiving work in bulk or a series of consecutive jobs.
Consistent availability will also highlight your services. This doesn’t meant you need to accept every single job, especially if it is in a field you are not confident in. However, accepting the majority of jobs offered to you once you first start will show the company that you are worth future collaboration, even if it involves negotiating the deadline.
Depending on your language combination, it is highly likely that thousands of experienced and qualified translators will be working in the same languages. You therefore need skills that will set you apart from the crowd. The best way to do this is to pick a specialism, whether it is medical, legal, literary or commercial translations, selling yourself as a professional in a specific field will narrow the number of competitors out there.
It is usually recommended that you choose a specialism that you truly enjoy. If it is a field you will be working with for the rest of your professional life, you need to select a field that you have a true passion for and love learning about. In your spare time, you can collate glossaries of specialist terms in your field to help you strengthen your knowledge.
Translation Empire currently provides translation services in a variety of different fields, which include but not limited to, medical, legal and public sector translations.
When you first start off translating, the most significant way to ensure you receive regular work is by making sure your translations do not contain any errors. This may sound obvious but many translators overlook this and do not fully proofread their translations. If there is something you are unsure about, translate what you can and inform the Project Manager of the part which is causing confusion. They may be able to help you themselves or liaise with the client. This is far better than translating something incorrectly. By consistently providing accurate translations, this will prove your reliability and professionalism and ultimately result in regular projects.
- ONLINE PRESENCE AND NETWORKING
The phrase “it’s not what you know but who you know” definitely applies here. Registering on online translation directories such as Proz and TranslatorsCafe will give you a platform to promote your services. Translation companies often use these websites to recruit translators and translation jobs are posted on a daily basis. It’s also worth creating a LinkedIn profile which will allow you to build up a network of translation professionals.