“Secrets of Success as a Freelance Translator” is a bird’s eye view of the translation business from a practical and profitable angle.
Over the next few months I shall be writing posts on this topic. You are welcome to make your comments and ask questions.
The information is practical because it will address the specific realities of business procedures and profitable because we are talking about a profession, not a past time.
Because translation is a service, it differs from industry or commerce; translators do not keep an inventory like industries keep raw materials or commercial establishments keep finished goods. As an intangible, services cannot be stacked on a shelf.
However there are three criteria that are used to compare for products or services; quality, fulfillment time and price. If Product Number One is desirable but not affordable, Product Number Two is good and reasonably priced, but unavailable to you conveniently and you need it now, you look for the best alternative Product Number Three which best meets the criteria.
So what does that have to do with secrets of success as a freelance translator?
When a client calls a translator, they know that they cannot use the same criteria as when they are buying a product; there are no inventories, there is no “Product Number Two or Three,” because their translation is not waiting to be found.
This creates a dilemma for many clients who may not be comfortable in performing the task of finding the best translation service. Since this is an intangible, the client will use the only factor they can identify and use: the fastest turnaround.
Keep two words in the front of your mind; time and skill. That in essence is what your business as a freelance translator will revolve around and this is what the client needs to be assured that you can provide. The clock never stops ticking; as a freelance translator your grasp of this fact will enable you to identify and manage the tension and pressure behind every client’s call. Remember that the translator is usually brought into the picture as the step before the final production.
For every minute that a client with a job that needs to be done NOW uses to find a translator, time slips away that could be applied to the translation work, reducing your turnaround time potential. Using this logic with a client who is calling every agency in town because they need a 100 page document translation completed within a week, will help them stop “shopping” and get the translation started. In a business that is based on communication, the freelance translator must be the one in the exchange that keeps a cool head with both feet firmly on the ground of reality, in order to accomplish the turnaround time that is required to have the translation done properly.
In the pages that follow, you will gain insight and skills to handling this scenario in its many different variations. These methods have been proven by some of the most successful freelance translators. What makes them “secrets” is that they have been collected from all types of experiences from translators around the world.
Starting with the discussion of the “business” of translation and freelance opportunities straight through to how to equip yourself properly with the fortitude, skills, equipment and ability to attract and retain clients and finishing with some reference points for you to spread your wings and fly successfully in the rare air of linguistic communications. The information is presented to give you the ability to make the most of your particular situation, desired goal and motivation and be a great freelance translator. Good Luck!