How to succeed as a freelance translator in 9 simple steps

success freelance translator

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 perks, 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 9 tips to help you thrive as a freelance translator.

How to succeed as a freelance translator (pyjamas optional)

Following these 9 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 freelance translator before you embark on your career.

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!

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.

Tips and tricks to get started as a remote freelancer

remote apps for translators

Many of us dream of being able to work as a remote freelancer and tailor our jobs to fit our lives. Freelance work, whether it’s translation, photography, or accounting, can provide this kind of lifestyle whilst also offering opportunities to make a substantial income. Finding a way to make a living through remote freelance work takes more time and more creativity than a traditional 9 to 5 job, so we’ve come up with some tips to get you started.

Getting started as a remote freelancer

Getting started always takes some perseverance. Finding clients without any previous experience tends to mean offering a really competitive rate. Some of the apps below work on a points and recommendation basis, so feedback from previous clients is vital. You have to prove that you’re the best person for the job and can be relied upon to deliver what’s required within the deadlines set.

Starting off with a low rate to increase your chances of getting jobs is advisable; it allows you to build up a portfolio of previous work with positive feedback which enables you to command more, as your work level and experience grows and speaks for itself. Then you will attract higher-paying clients. But be careful not to charge too little, as you risk not being seen as a professional. Research your industry to strike a realistic balance.

Submitting a proposal to a potential client

When you submit a bid to a potential client, you want to impress and stand out from the many other candidates bidding for the same job. A strong cover letter that you can adapt to each individual proposal is vital. Try to present yourself in a way that highlights your key attributes and stands out from the crown. Don’t be afraid to emphasise your previous work experience and explain how your skills are transferable.

Know your worth

Research your competition and know the rates paid for the skills you are offering. Get yourself some strong remote freelancer role models. Follow people in your industry on social media to get inspired, and gain helpful tips. These individuals and companies are sure to give you ideas and ways to improve your offer to your clients. Consider reaching out to someone you admire in your industry to see if they would mind if you picked their brain; you’d be surprised how many people are open to the idea of mentoring those just starting out.

The best platforms to use

The following platforms, websites, and apps can help you to get off to a great start in your new remote freelancer career. Most will take a percentage of your earnings as payment for using their platform. This is usually a valid expense as they connect you directly to a large selection of employers and clients covering all different sectors and will save you a lot of time and money in the startup process. It’s a great starting point to get those all-important recommendations and build up a reputation by gaining some invaluable experience:

  1. Freelancer.com – offers a variety of work, based on a bidding process.
  2. Upwork – offers a variety of work, based on a bidding process.
  3. People per hour – originally UK based, now worldwide.
  4. Guru – offers a variety of work.
  5. Fiverr – work related to Logo Design, Translation Services, Voice-Overs, Video Animation, Intros, Caricatures.
  6. Working nomads – work related to a large range of telecommuting roles.
  7. Babbletype.com – work related to transcription, proofreading, and translation.
  8. ratracerebellion.com – has a big listing of work from home jobs.
  9. ifreelance – lets you keep all your earnings, no commission.
  10. remoteok.io – works as a search engine for remote jobs.

Once you’ve scored that job

Now that you’ve bagged the job, go at it with all the passion you have. Be aware of the advantage of going the extra mile; putting in more than the client expects (within reason) will always impress and winning points will keep you at the forefront for future work. This extra attention could be what secures an ongoing working relationship with the employer. Don’t forget to ask happy clients for testimonials you can use to secure further work.

Productivity and time management

Productivity and time management are two further factors that can be hard to master but that will ensure you’re successful in your new freelancing career. Spend some time before you get inundated with work coming up with some sensible tools and strategies that work for you. There are a variety of apps out there that will help you with this, look out for our future blogs to learn more about them.

When your freelance business is up and running, you may need help translating for your international clients, and BeTranslated is here for you. Our professional translators are experienced in all kinds of translation, from legal documents to marketing campaigns. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, contact us today.

5 inspiring freelance jobs that allow you to work remotely

inspiring freelance jobs

Ever felt like jacking it all in, leaving your 9-5 office job where you’re a slave to someone else? How about booking a one-way ticket out of here, to somewhere hot with great cocktails, sun, and sea!? The big question is how could you make that work financially? Check out this list of inspiring freelance jobs to give you some ideas.

1. Become a freelance translator

Do you speak a second language? You will find yourself in demand as a translator, especially if English is your first language and you are fluent in a second. In order to become a freelance translator, you will need to get qualifications, such as a degree, but once you have that you can develop a thriving career that you can do from anywhere in the world.

2. Try your hand at stock photography

Have a natural eye and flair for taking beautiful pictures? Use your travel and adventures to capture those special shots which can be listed on stock photography websites and sold for a small price. Build your portfolio and you can start to have a regular income from something you really love to do.

As inspiring freelance jobs go, being a photographer might seem unrealistic, but once you gain some experience you could specialise as a wedding/baby/party photographer in the area you’re living in if you stay there long term. It takes more time to build up a reputation and become known but the paycheque can be bigger.

3. Develop a teaching talent 

Native English speakers can use their skills to teach English online or abroad. Get a TEFL qualification that can be done quickly and reasonably, and have fun helping others to learn your language. This can be a very enjoyable and rewarding job and, due to the high demand for English teachers, there are vacancies literally all over the world. It’s the perfect job for sociable people who love to travel and learn about new cultures.

4. Virtual Assistants will always be needed 

Are you good at administration? Organised? Computer literate? This one’s for you; be an online PA. Perhaps you’ll never even meet the person you work for, but you will assist them with any number of varied tasks they need completing and build a relationship on a professional level all whilst being in completely different locations many miles away.

5. For the expressive writer types

Blog! As a writer you could build your own blog or write content for someone else. How about becoming a ghostwriter or publishing your own eBook? If you love expressing yourself on paper this an option you will really enjoy. With a strong online presence being of utmost importance for any business today, this is a great way to offer your skills to help keep any company on the front line.

Don’t have an office? Who needs one? Work from the beach, coffee shop, pool, or a coworking space. The world is your oyster. All of these ideas can give you the freedom to work anywhere in the world at any time. You can hold down your job and still have time to soak up the sun and dip in the pool, all whilst exploring life overseas! What are you waiting for?

As you prepare for life in a foreign country, you may find yourself in need of professional translation services. BeTranslated is here for you. Whether you need documents translated into Japanese or a website translated into Dutch, we have the right translator for you. Get in touch today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.