This post was last updated on July 20th, 2021 at 07:03 pm
A collaborative post
Become a freelance translator and a blogger is something that I truly love. I graduated in English literature so improving my English skill is very important to me.
Back in 2014, become a freelance translator was a big challenge because I don’t have experience so it’s not easy in the early years. I joined a lot of online translation websites, and same like bloggers, I pitch to many campaigns.
I got my first offer from my senior to translate a sportsbook and got my first official payment! In 2017, I was contacted by a translation agency in China. I worked with them on several translation requests. We still keep in touch and continue our partnership to this day.
Those were really some good moments! Indeed.
As a freelance translator and a content writer, I have to deal with English-related stuff every day in my life, and write content in English will surely help me to advance my typing (writing) skills, isn’t it?
If you want to start your career as a freelance translator, here some tips from me that you need to excel right away. Let’s dive in!
Pros and Cons of Being a Freelance Translator
First thing first. I started my career as a freelance translator in 2014, exactly in the 3rd year of college – so it’s been 7 years!
One thing that I love about become a freelance translator is it can easily be done online, from anywhere in the world, and doesn’t necessarily need much investment.
That’s why I want to give you some insider information about this job, what are the pros and cons and steps you need to do to become a freelance translator.
In general, being a freelancer has many advantages. Here some that were most important to me:
- You are your own boss. You’re the one who decided your workhours and everything in between.
- You don’t have to go to an office because you can do your jobs easily online.
- Different from blogger’s investment, being a translator doesn’t require too much upfront investment – except education or certification.
- There is a high demand for translators of all kinds of languages, which not going to slow down any time soon.
Being a freelance translator has its downsides as well. Here are some of what I’ve been through:
- Obviously, the less jobs, the less income you make.
- Some clients may have super tight deadlines, high standards, and spontaneous workload.
- Dealing with clients who you never going to see in person can result in a higher risk of uncertain paychecks.
- The competition is massive, which makes it harder to land a job and can result in lower rates.
Steps To Become a Freelance Translator?
Now that you know the pros and cons to become a freelance translator, it’s time for you to have a look at how you can become a freelance translator. The interesting thing is, it is not that complicated. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy!
Pick Your Niche
It’s the same way when blogger chooses their specific niche. It’s absolutely fine to be a general translator – but you probably won’t get rich. If you specialize in a certain field like healthcare or legal, your chances to find jobs that pay a decent income will increase a lot.
So, master the terminology and learn a lot in your area. For both blogger and translator, when you are an expert in your niche, your task will be easier and you will get better-paid opportunities.
It’s obvious, isn’t it? You need to be fluent or near-native in a second language to be able to become a freelance translator. That’s awesome if you are bilingual! If not, learn a new language now and improve your language skills to the best level possible.
You’re not going to get clients all of a sudden, are you? The next thing you have to do is to promote yourself. Get yourself out there, on social media, let your family or colleagues know that you’re offering translation service.
You could also start a blog to show your portfolio. I used to translate a book or just several chapters then publish them on my blog to show my capability.
As a beginner, don’t expect to get the best-paid jobs straight away. You need to get as many experiences as you can. Start with smaller jobs, join small international events or even internships. I was once a staff for an event Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in 2016 and that was a great experience to showcase my English skill during the event.
At the beginning of 2019, I saw an advertisement from a translation agency that needs a book translator. I was given a test and I got in after waiting for the result for 2 weeks!
Join a translation agency would be a great help to your translation career as well. A translation agency such as DayTranslations that specializes in over 1,000 languages, has been work with businesses from every niche/field. Not only offer translation services, but they are also trusted by valuable companies for their certified translation, transcription, interpreting, and more professional translation services.
A good review from your past company or client is worth more than you can imagine!
To be a professional translator, have a certificate will help you find jobs. Some clients or agencies will surely want to see if you are qualified enough to do the job. The tests are not easy, so, prepare yourself for the test, plan your budget, and get yourself trained. Good luck!
Improve Your Language Skills
Even though I graduated from English literature, I keep learning English every day! There is always room for more. So stay updated about your nice, renew your certifications, or do more tests. Never stop learning and improving your skills.
Those are some steps that I tried to become a freelance translator. It will take time but the effort you spent to become a translator will definitely worth it for your career in the future.
Do you work as a translator? Are there any tips or stories you want to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
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