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Thursday, September 18, 2008

101 Tips to Succeed as Freelance Translator


Photo Credit mikelens

101 Tips to Succeed as Freelance Translator


Translation
1. Make sure that you want to be a freelance translator
2. Don’t quit your day job in the beginning.
3. Restrict free (sample translation) to 300 words
4. Translate into your native language only.
5. Always keep a very close eye on quality.
6. Always meet deadlines.
7. You're really only as good as your last translation.
8. Conduct terminology research.
9. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
10. Do some volunteer translation work.
11. Consider 2000 target words to be a normal day and 3000 target words to be very good.
12. Have different rates for general, semi-specialized and specialised texts.
13. As a beginner, be careful in taking large volume jobs.
14. Do not accept any assignment if you are not confident that you can do it.
15. Do not accept anything in an area that you are not familiar with.
16. Do not work for a rock-bottom rate.
17. Do not accept any assignment for which you are not fully qualified
18. Read forum posts and translation blogs like Tips for translators (http://www.getdirectclient.blogspot.com)

Learning
19. Specialization - This is definitely advantageous for you
20. Learning translation properly once at a postgraduate programme.
21. Make yourself familiar with the entire CAT and similar programs out there.
22. A writing course and a course of stylistics always come in handy.
23. Learn how to improve your translation even after becoming a professional translator to find the best translation.
24. Improve writing.
25. Continue to invest in necessary training.
26. Learn to translate by reviewing other people's work.
27. Practice translating something that one hasn't read in the target language.
28. Ask professional translators to send you translations they just finished and read those translations carefully
29. Try Proficiency tests: Try IELTS (for English) or UN exams or TOEFL (for English)
30. Get certification by NAATI (Australia) or ATA (USA) or other associations.
31. Answer Kudoz and similar questions.
32. Become member of PROZ, Aquarius, and Translators base and other portals but search for life beyond them.
33. Participate in forum discussions.

Clients
34. If your clients are happy, you seem to be doing something right.
35. Do not depend only on one client.
36. Do not assume your current rate of incoming work will continue unabated.
37. Expand your client base.
38. Have portfolio of regular clients.
39. Create Credentials.
40. Ask for feedbacks.
41. Ask for testimonials.
42. Keep your clients happy- repeat jobs will come your way

Attributes

43. A bit of luck is always in the game, the rest is hard work.
44. Do what you really like. Then money will flow.
45. Have desire, passion, and dedication and do hard work.
46. Remember your job is not a hobby but a profession.
47. Remember your success is judged by the quality of the end result.
48. Remember your success is judged by having the money in the bank.
49. This profession requires ethics at every level.
50. Successful translator needs to have talent, drive, energy, commitment, confidence - and luck.
51. Study and research before you start.
52. Endeavor to translate with utmost accuracy and fidelity.
53. Convey to the readers of the translation the same meaning and spirit of the original.
54. Master the target language equivalent to that of an educated native speaker.
55. Have Up-to-date knowledge of the source language.
56. Have Up-to-date knowledge of the subject area.
57. Be truthful about your qualification.
58. Continuously self-improve.
59. Inspire hope.
60. Have common sense and apply it.
61. Know your own limitations.
62. Always follow you gut instincts.
63. Have Attitude!

Business
64. Consider freelance translation as a business.
65. Have a business plan how you’re going to get work
66. Consider translation as for-profit activity
67. Tell everyone you know that you’re available for Translation jobs
68. Keep sending your CV to agencies.
69. Market yourself everyday even when you have a job at hand.
70. Be truthful about your business.
71. Become member of translation portals.
72. Invest in paid memberships. And test it.
73. Advertise your services through all means and test it.
74. Have business acumen.
75. Become member of local chamber of commerce
76. Become member of translator's organizations.
77. Join network of translators.
78. Reply to emails within 3 hours, if possible.
79. Create a good CV
80. Follow successful translators
81. Create a website/Blog and promote and track posts.
82. Create or buy a database of agencies.

Health
83. Take regular breaks when working.
84. Take care of your health
85. Take care of your family
86. Take vacations.
87. Do Yoga exercises for hand, neck and back.
88. Have your eyes tested at least once a year.
89. Quit Smoking

Family

90. Make your family happy
91. Love your spouse
92. Play with your children
93. Take care of your parents


Tools
94. Use dictionaries, Google, Wikipedia, etc.
95. Use CAT tools and speech recognition if possible.
96. Invest in Hardwares, softwares, CAT tools, dictionaries

Home Office


97. Manage your home office.
98. Keep track of your finance
99. Send invoice along with the job
100. Create multiple options of payments for Client- cheque, paypal, moneybookers, bank transfer etc.
101. Keep all records for 2 years minimum.

5 comments:

Judy and Dagmar Jenner said...

Great post, and some excellent advice. My three favorites are #3, #12 and #16. Sample translations are actually a huge pet peeve for us; and we wrote about that on our own blog this week. If we ever do them (rarely), we definitely keep them to 200 words or so.

Ostom said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and making comments. I found your blog very interesting and I have bookmarked it.
=Ostom

Translator Jobs said...

tip no 1 is the best.. i just want to say that... if you love your job, it wont be hard to do, i mean it might not be a job but a hobby hahaha.. earn and enjoy! thats the way to do it..

Agnieszka said...

Excellent summary. I agree with Judy and Dagmar on sample translations, I rarely do them (and no more than 200 words), I usually offer samples of my work instead.
I would add that for specialist translations, it is beneficial to hold a specific degree/diploma, particularly when one considers translation in medical, scientific, law and business fields.

Ostom said...

Thank you!