Millions of English speakers are bilingual but leveraging that trait as a translator requires another skill set entirely. If you know more than one language and have the drive to use that knowledge to facilitate understanding across cultures, then a career in freelance translation might be the perfect path for you. There is a constant demand for translators in the corporate world as well as in entertainment and many other industries. Below, eTEFL Online explains that once you understand some of the basic steps you should take, the process of becoming a successful freelance translator will seem much more attainable.
Know What Type of Translation Work Is Available
There are a surprising number of categories under the translation umbrella, some of which might require specialized knowledge in a separate field altogether. Before you can fully plan out your future as a translator, it may be necessary to decide on a specific type of translation work that you want to pursue. Some common types of translation jobs include:
• Medical translation
• Legal translation
• Literary translation
You might find much of your early work as a translator through online job boards. As you establish a portfolio of work and foster professional connections, you may build a network of consistent clients or even have high-paying jobs come directly to you.
Build Out Your Resume
As a freelancer, you will essentially run your own business as a self-employed individual. Even so, Indeed explains that writing a resume is still necessary for showcasing your skills and capability to potential clients. Consider tackling a few translation projects independently if you have no prior experience and feel the need to fill out your resume with an example of your work.
Use a free online resume builder to create a professional-looking resume when applying for a new position. Find a graphic design tool that offers a robust library of templates to choose from, and then customize your resume with colors, fonts, and relevant imagery.
Take Advantage of Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for anyone looking to enhance their online presence and strengthen their professional networks. LinkedIn profiles can serve as an online resume and should be curated carefully to ensure that they are up-to-date with accurate information and carefully written descriptions of your experience, skills, and responsibilities. Not only is it important to have the basics covered, such as your job titles and current employers, but also adding some personality can help you stand out from a crowd of similar candidates.
Ensuring your profile has good visuals, such as a headshot photo, can make it more appealing to potential employers. Endorsements from other LinkedIn users help set up credibility which adds another valuable layer to your profile. As with many facets of professional building and job searching, setting up an enticing LinkedIn profile takes time – but it’s always worth it!
Form a Business Plan and Maintain a Good Credit Score
One final consideration to make before launching your freelance career in earnest is business planning, which involves forming a detailed business plan. This serves to put into writing your business goals, marketing strategies, funding needs, and more. Having a specific outline that you can follow every step of the way can greatly improve your chances of success.
Your plan should also include preparations for launching your own freelancer website. Your online presence is vital as a hub for your marketing efforts, communicating with clients, and hosting a portfolio of your best work.
One thing to keep in mind is financing. Your budget will be a critical component in your business plan, and securing funding is part of that puzzle. Lenders will look closely at your personal financial situation, so be sure to keep your credit in check. This includes paying down debt and making regular payments on time. Keep tabs on your FICO score as time goes on by doing all you can to maintain the best score possible; a credit score of 740 and above is considered excellent credit.
Perform Regular Upkeep on Your Business
Working as a freelancer entails performing regular upkeep on your business administration practices. Specifically, you need to keep good accounting and invoicing habits to make sure you always get paid and are reporting the correct income on your taxes.
As a translator, keeping your language knowledge up-to-date should also be part of your routine. Wondrium notes that language is a constantly evolving thing, meaning that you might have to constantly learn new slang or terms specific to the industry in which you are working.
Starting a career as a freelance translator is something that bilingual professionals can attain by following the right steps. It starts with the basic fundamentals of drafting a business plan, building a solid resume, and maintaining good credit. From there, your success depends on your ability to hone your skills and find the kind of work that appeals most to you.
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