How to Succeed as A Freelance Translator in 9 Simple Steps

Trying to succeed as a freelance translator can be tough. To some, it might appear to be as easy as just changing words from one language to another, but of course, it’s much more complex than that and it comes with its own set of challenges. That’s not to say that it isn’t a wonderful job with its operks, such as the freedom to work from home (staying in your pyjamas all day if you so choose!) and manage your time in a way that suits your lifestyle.

It’s also a job with a great deal of responsibility; whether they are translating medical records, business contracts, or marketing material, the pressure to convey the source text’s message accurately is significant. Balancing this pressure with the additional requirements of running your own business as a freelancer and keeping a healthy work-life balance can be challenging, so we’ve compiled a list of nine tips to help you thrive as a freelance translator.

How to succeed as a freelance translator (pyjamas optional)

Following these nine tips will help you to achieve success in the freelance translation business without letting your personal life suffer. Let’s take a look…

1. Be ready for the variety this business brings

They say that variety is the spice of life and if you are someone who can roll with the punches, a career in translation will suit you down to the ground. Even if you specialise in a very niche area, each translation project comes with its own set of challenges and puzzles for you to solve.

Translators often find themselves learning about all manner of topics through the research they do for their translations, add this to relationships with direct clients and there’s never a dull moment. In those moments when the stress is mounting up, remind yourself of the joys of this eternal learning process for curious minds like yourself.

2. Prepare yourself for working alone

As a freelancer working remotely, you usually work alone and this can get rather isolating. If you think this may be something you will struggle with, we recommend you put some systems in place to mitigate any feelings of loneliness. This could be as simple as changing where you work; instead of always working from home, you could spend some time working from a co-working space (which are great places to network) or even a café or library.

Why not reach out to your peers? Building relationships with other translators can give you a strong support system and could even lead to professional opportunities. Joining a professional association such as ITI (The Institute of Translation & Interpreting) is a great place to start making connections and they also run many events that can provide much-needed opportunities to socialise with fellow professionals. Read some more tips about how to deal with loneliness from a fellow freelancer before you embark on your career and you will find success as a freelance translator in no time.

3. Be aware of changing markets and upcoming business trends

Make sure you’re always informed of the latest changes in the marketplace. Using new technology to improve your productivity will not only benefit you but your clients too. With everything changing so regularly, make it your business to stay sharp and abreast advancements in the industry.

As well as reading relevant publications and following influential figures online, take part in conferences and industry events to make sure you’re not left behind. Don’t just focus on translation; keeping up-to-date on industry changes in your specialisation, whether that’s travel and tourism or aeronautical engineering, will give you a professional edge and ensure your translations maintain their quality.

4. Remember that “freelancer” also means “professional juggler”

It may surprise those starting out in the industry, but translation is only one of many responsibilities of the freelance translator. The list of your job roles will include, but not be limited to, accountant, researcher, project manager, customer service representative, brand ambassador, web designer, and personal barista.

It’s very easy for these tasks to take too much time away from the thing that actually makes you money: translation. To avoid this it’s crucial that you organise your day well, dedicating specific times for specific tasks. Decide how often you’re going to do jobs such as replying to emails, sending out invoices, or updating your social media, and stick to this schedule. It’s also worth considering what tasks can (and should) be outsourced. If setting up your own website is going to take you two weeks, keeping you from doing any translation in that time, it’s a smart financial decision to hire a professional. As with so many things, balance is key.

5. Master the skill of self-discipline

As we’ve already mentioned, the freelancer life is hectic and full of varied responsibilities that can be difficult to juggle. Add to this the fact that you’re working from home surrounded by distractions everywhere you turn, from the TV in the living room to the pile of dishes in the kitchen, and it takes a whole lot of self-discipline to get any work done.

Luckily many people do this every day, and there are lots of resources out there to help you find the best system for you, whether it’s adopting The Pomodoro Technique or installing programmes that block distracting websites, find what works for you and stick to it.

6. Keep your clients happy

Never forget that without clients your business doesn’t exist. Mastering the art of keeping your customers happy is vital to professional success and sometimes that means being flexible and going that extra mile.

For translators this means having clear communication with the client to find out what their requirements are, coming up with a realistic deadline, and sticking to it. Happy customers lead to repeat business, so don’t be afraid to ask clients for testimonials that can be used to attract new business.

7. Improve your money management skills

Keeping on top of your finances, from maintaining steady cash flow and doing your taxes to chasing up payments and outsourcing work, is a large part of any freelancer’s life. When it comes to income, it can be tempting to focus solely on large projects that bring in the big bucks, but remember that small, regular projects can be just as valuable in the long run, filling in the quiet spells between those big jobs.

Consider using accounting software systems to help you stay on top of your finances. Wave or Freshbooks are both good options and once they are set up they will give you more time to focus on other important areas of your business.

8. Separate your work and personal lives

As a freelancer or small business owner, it’s all too easy for work to take over your life. There will be moments, especially at the beginning of your career when you will need to work extremely long hours to meet tight deadlines, but the earlier you establish boundaries between your professional and personal lives, the better.

Set aside specific times where you are off the clock and give yourself some distance from the computer. Turn off your email notifications and step away from the office. Giving yourself proper breaks will make you happier and more productive in the long run.

9. Prepare to explain what you do

To someone outside of the translation industry, your job may be a real mystery, which can make it hard to convince them of the importance of hiring a professional translation service provider over an unqualified bilingual colleague. Take some time to come up with a clear, concise explanation of what you offer – an elevator pitch of sorts – and get comfortable defending your worth.

Now with all our worldly advice behind you, it’s time to get motivated, get out there, and get cracking! You are ready to succeed as a freelance translator!

If you are looking for a reliable translation service for any language from German to Portuguese, BeTranslated is here for you. With a vast network of translators specialised in areas such as website translation and business translation, we have the right linguist for you. For information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.

8 Top Spots for the Location-Independent Professional

Looking for the best country to live in as a location-independent professional or to work in as a freelance translator? There’s a big wide world out there, and more and more people are deciding to transition to working remotely in order to explore it without giving up on their professional careers.

Being free to work from anywhere is a dream many aspire to. But once you have taken the plunge, decided to leave your 9-5, and are free to live and work anywhere, how do you choose which are the best travel destinations to suit your digital nomad lifestyle? Being spoilt for choice is hardly the worst position to be in, but with so many different paradise locations to choose from it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve rounded up some of the most appealing spots to start your new life.

Checklist of requirements for the location-independent professional

Everybody’s dream of the location-independent lifestyle is different. Perhaps you imagine yourself exploring cobbled streets and eating freshly baked croissants in small French villages, or dream of rolling from your desk onto a tropical beach for surf and sun, or maybe you fantasise about exploring Norwegian fjords or the rainforests of South America. There are, however, some common criteria that many people look for in their travel locations. Let’s take a look at the most popular:

  • sunshine; ideally temperatures averaging above 23 degrees year round
  • sand, sea, and surf or luscious views and clean country air
  • a low cost of living, to be able to cover food, drink, board, and bills for under £1000 per month
  • a strong Wi-Fi connection
  • a telecommuter community, co-working spaces, or cafes where you will find other location-independent workers

Extra attractions that might entice you

As if you needed any more convincing to take the leap, these are some other factors that remote workers claim are some of the highlights of their job:

  • access to watersports and other outdoor activities
  • opportunities to learn new skills, like yoga or cooking in stunning locations
  • new cultures and delicious food to explore
  • mind-opening adventures with friendly locals and like-minded travellers
  • the chance to learn (and practise) a new language

Narrowing down your priorities will help you decide on the best location for you, but let us give you a bit more inspiration…

Our selection of the best spots for location-independent workers

We’ve selected eight stunning locations that will inspire anyone to take up the remote-working lifestyle, take a look:

1. Mexico – Puerto Escondido

If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, Puerto Escondido, which translates as ‘Hidden Port’, lives up to its name as it is largely undiscovered by outsiders. With a relaxed vibe, this stunning surf spot is well equipped to support the needs of location-independent workers who crave an active lifestyle and time on the beach.

2. Columbia – Medellín

Dubbed ‘The City of Eternal Spring’, Medellín boasts a very desirable climate. This vibrant city offers the best of both worlds; due to its popularity among digital nomads it’s equipped with all the facilities you will need, such as co-working spaces, but it also offers opportunities to explore its history, mingle with locals and expats alike, and sample the wonderful local culture.

3. Thailand – Chiang Mai

With its many islands and tempting beaches, it’s difficult to choose just one area of Thailand to recommend but there’s no doubt that Chiang Mai is a favourite amongst location-independent professionals the world over. With a cheap cost of living, delicious food, and fast internet speeds, you’ll want for nothing during your time there. The city is also surrounded by mountains and greenery with easy access to beaches; what more could you ask for?!

4. Philippines – Cebu

For English speakers, Cebu is a great option as English is one of the official languages. Surrounded by idyllic beaches, offering wonderful trekking opportunities and with great nightlife with the famously friendly locals, Cebu is the gift that keeps on giving.

5. Malaysia – Penang

Penang is the perfect spot for all the foodies out there. Offering a wide variety of cultural influences from surrounding countries, and a good selection of cafes with free Wi-Fi to work from, as well as well-equipped co-working spaces, Penang has become popular among the digital nomad set, and for good reason.

6. Indonesia – Bali – Ubud

Ubud’s affordability is certainly one of its main attractions, allowing many remote workers to live in the kind of places they could only dream of in their own country. But this town has so much more to give. With stunning scenery, fascinating local culture, and delicious dishes to try, it’s no wonder it’s a popular spot for relocation. Although internet connections are not always strong in public places, fibre optic is pretty common in homes and phone data plans are cheap enough to make tethering a realistic option for when you’re out and about.

7. Ecuador – Quito

With an idyllic year-round climate and incredible views within the city itself (not surprising considering that it’s the highest capital city in the world and its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!), Quito is certainly worthy of a place on this list. The city is one of the most affordable capitals in South America and has that all-important reliable internet connection.

8. The Dominican Republic – Cabarete

Known as the Adventure Sports Capital of the Caribbean, Cabarete is the ideal island if you have a love of surfing, kitesurfing, or scuba diving. With a variety of yoga classes and cafes to work from, all directly on the beautiful beach – which lights up at night for dinner and music – living and working in Cabarete really feels like a dream come true.

Take that leap, you won’t regret it

We hope that this shortlist had given you some inspiration for your new life. Have you got any hot tips about these destinations or suggestions for other locations we should check out? Let us know!

Are you looking for a high-quality, reliable translation service to translate your documents? Or perhaps you’re searching for the perfect translator to tackle your business website? Whatever your linguistic needs, BeTranslated has the right expert for you. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.