If you’re a freelance translator, then you know how difficult it can be to find work. There are many ways to seek out freelance translation jobs, but not all of them are effective. In this article, we’ll show you the 10 best ways to find work as a freelance translator.
Why Become a Freelance Translator
Before getting started, it’s important to understand why you might want to become a freelance translator. There are many reasons why this could be a good career choice for you.
Some of the benefits of being a freelance translator include:
- you can work from anywhere in the world
- you can often set your own hours
- it can be a very rewarding career
If you’re interested in becoming a freelance translator, then read on to learn the best ways to find work in this field.
Finding Freelance Translation Jobs
There’s a quote I like that is attributed to Thomas Edison. When he was asked about all the time he spent trying to invent the light bulb and how he was able to finally do it, he said something to the effect of:
“Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”
He could have just as well been talking to freelance translators.
There is no single “trick” that works for those trying to find freelance translation jobs. A lot of factors can come into play that can give you a boost to succeed in your business. While you may not be able to control the external factors, there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of you becoming a successful freelance translator.
Below are 13 ways to find freelance translation jobs. Find what works best for you and then go for it.
#1 Social Media
Social media is a great way to connect with potential clients and show off your work. Make sure you have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, and consider creating a blog or website to showcase your skills.
Be active on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, and make sure to post links to your work when possible. This will help you build up a following and attract potential clients.
#2 Freelance Job Boards
Many websites act as job boards for freelancers. Some of the more popular ones include Upwork, Guru, and PeoplePerHour.
These job boards are a great place to start your search for translation jobs. You can browse through the available projects and submit proposals to the ones that interest you.
It’s important to note that you’ll likely have to compete with other freelancers for these jobs, so make sure your proposals are strong.
#3 Translation Agencies
Another option for finding work is to contact translation agencies. Many of these agencies have a network of clients that they work with, and they’re always on the lookout for new talent.
You can search for translation agencies online, or you can attend industry events and meet them in person. Once you’ve made a list of potential agencies, reach out and introduce yourself.
#4 Direct Clients
One of the best ways to find work is to go directly to the source. Ask around, do some research, and see if you can find companies or individuals who may need your services.
If you know someone who works for a company that could use your services, ask if they can put in a good word for you. It never hurts to ask. In addition, you can also search online job boards or classified ads to find potential clients.
#5 Translation Contests
There are often translation contests held by companies or organizations that need translations done. These contests are a great way to show off your skills and attract attention from potential clients.
You can search for translation contests online, or you can sign up for a contest platform like TranslationDirectory.com.
#6 Blog About Translation and Translation Projects
Another great way to attract attention from potential clients is to start a blog. This is a great way to show off your knowledge and expertise in the field of translation. Let’s say you want to become a Chinese translation profession. You could blog about your journey.
Not only will this help you attract potential clients, but it will also help you build up your portfolio. On your blog, you can showcase your skills by writing about topics related to translation.
In addition, you can also include links to your work on your blog. This will give potential clients a way to see your work and decide if they want to use your services.
#7 Network with Other Translators
One of the best ways to find work is to network with other translators. This can be done by attending industry events, joining online forums, or participating in online communities.
By networking with other translators, you’ll be able to gain insights into the industry and learn about potential job opportunities. You can also use this as an opportunity to showcase your skills and attract potential clients.
#8 Attend Industry Events
Another great way to connect with potential clients is to attend industry events. These events are often full of people who work in the translation industry, and they can be a great way to network and find work.
Some of the events you may want to consider include the annual American Translators Association conference or the International Federation of Translators conference.
Many smaller events are specific to certain languages or industries. Attend as many of these events as you can to get your name out there and make valuable connections.
#9 Join a Professional Association for Freelance Translators
There are many professional associations for translators that you can join. These associations can be a great resource for finding work and networking with other professionals in the field.
Some of the more popular associations include the American Translators Association, the International Federation of Translators, and the Translation industry Professionals Society.
These associations often have job boards where you can find work, and they also hold events that you can attend.
#10 Build a Strong Portfolio
One of the best ways to attract potential clients is to have a strong portfolio. Make sure your portfolio is up-to-date and includes your best work.
If you don’t have a lot of experience, consider doing some pro bono work or taking on small projects to build up your portfolio.
Make sure your portfolio is easily accessible, either on your website or through a job board (although make sure you know how to avoid translation scams).
#11 Get Certified
If you want to attract high-paying clients, consider getting certified by the American Translators Association or another professional organization.
This certification will show potential clients that you’re serious about your work and that you have the skills to back it up.
It’s important to note that certification is not necessary to find work, but it can be helpful in landing high-paying clients.
To become certified, you’ll need to pass an exam and have a certain amount of experience in the field.
#12 Marketing Yourself
One of the best ways to find work is to market yourself. Let people know you’re available for work, and make it easy for them to find you.
There are many ways to market yourself, including creating a website, writing blog posts, and using social media.
You can also create business cards and distribute them at industry events.
Whatever marketing methods you choose, make sure you’re consistent and that you’re reaching your target audience.
The best way to find work is to put yourself out there and make it easy for potential clients to find you. Use the tips above to market yourself and build a strong portfolio, and you’ll be sure to find the freelance translation work you’re looking for.
When it comes to finding freelance translation jobs, there are many different avenues you can explore.
#13 Look for Local Freelance Translator Jobs
One of the best ways to find freelance translation jobs is to look around in your community and see where you can fill the need for a translator. Local businesses are always concerned with how to attract their customers, no matter what language they speak.
Go to your local chamber of commerce and see if you can get a list of businesses in the community. You might find a bunch of businesses that could potentially need some of their materials translated and they might just be waiting because they don’t know where to go looking for a translator.
While targeting the business in your community, be sure to not forget an important sector of community businesses: non-profit or not-for-profit organizations.
Why are non-profit agencies important to your business? Non-profits, by their very nature, are usually designed to serve a very specific segment of the population and a lot of non-profit organizations direct their efforts towards helping out the Hispanic population within the community. This is where your expertise as a translator can come in handy.
While I was in college, I did some volunteer work at a non-profit community health center that served the low-income population in the community. Because there were a large number of migrant farm workers in the area, a high percentage of the clientele at the health center were Hispanics who only spoke Spanish. A lot of the materials used at the clinic needed to be translated into Spanish to better serve the patients and so translation was a high priority of the clinic; so much so that the budget included money for translation projects.
One of the benefits of doing work for non-profit organizations is that different non-profit groups in the community often work closely together in various aspects. If one organization has a good experience with a translator, other non-profits in the community will likely want to work with that translator when they have freelance translation jobs of their own that need to be done.
When I worked at the community health center, I did some work as a translator for them translating some medical forms. A little while later, various agencies in the state got together to revise the Medicaid forms and I was asked to be on the committee for translating the form into Spanish.
This gave me more contacts and probably, more importantly, spread the word to others in the community that I was a good translator who took my job seriously.
There are several ways to find freelance translation jobs. You can look online on job boards or contact companies directly, but one of the best ways to find work is to put yourself out there in the community and let potential clients know that you’re available for hire.
Don’t forget that there are many different types of businesses in the community that might need your services. Local businesses, non-profit organizations, and other agencies are all potential clients that can keep you busy with freelance translation jobs.
By being active in the community and making yourself known, you’ll be more likely to get steady work as a translator and you might even find that you enjoy the work more because you’re helping out in your community.
FAQ – Freelance Translation Jobs
How can I find the best freelance translator jobs?
Freelance translating can be a great way to earn money and work from home, but it can be hard to find good-paying jobs. The best way to find work is to let clients come to you.
What are the best languages for a professional translator?
Obviously, you need to know at least two languages to become a translator. Here are some of the best ones: Chinese, French, Portuguese, German, and English.
How much time is required to complete a freelance translation job?
It really varies, depending on the project. A small document might only take a few hours, while a larger one could take days or weeks, especially if it requires proofreading, help from designers, or other translation skills.
What other languages are good for translating on a freelance basis?
There are a lot of languages that are in high demand for translators, including Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic.
What is the difference between in-house translators and freelancers?
In-house professional translators are employed by a company on a full-time or part-time basis, while freelancers are self-employed and work on a project-by-project basis.
Do freelance translators need to know software?
No, but it can be helpful. Some clients may require that you use specific software or file formats, but most will simply want the end product in a format that is easy for them to use.