Being A Self-Employed Translator - Part 1
When you’re self-employed, the entire success of your business depends on how well you do your job.
When you’re self-employed, the entire success of your business depends on how well or how badly you do your job, and we’re talking about every single aspect of your job; whereas when you work for someone else, there’s inevitably those few people within the business who work really hard while the rest sit around waiting for retirement.
An average employee in the corporate world will probably not be promoted, but they won’t be fired either; whereas a freelance translator putting in the same amount of effort will probably fail in their freelance business. Obviously, employees can’t be fired from their full-time position simply because they’re not brilliant at what they do. Also, people working for large corporations generally contribute skills beyond those that apply to their jobs; however, the expectations of freelance translators are more quantifiable and more targeted.
Employees in the Business World Often Wear Many Hats
Let’s look at the job of a teacher, for example. Any teacher will tell you that they do a lot more than simply teach their students certain subjects at school, so they’re not being judged solely on their teaching skills – they’ll also be judged on their communication skills with students, staff and parents, volunteer work, and their general ability to perform at many levels.
A Translator’s Job Description Is Limited
When you become a freelance translator, your job description will be much more limited. You’ll be required to take a source document in a foreign language and translate it into English, or perhaps proofread a document that another translator has already put into English. Obviously, translation clients enjoy working with translators who are generous with their time, friendly, flexible, and get along with other translators as well as their project managers, but if a translator is just ordinary when it comes to the process of translating, they’re much less likely to escape the consequences than an employee working in the same situation in the corporate world.
Your Clients Are Looking for the Best!
There are many really good freelance translators out there, and when clients have a choice they’re obviously going to choose the best translator they can afford. So what does it take to become a top-quality freelance translator –
You must have excellent writing skills in your target language. This is probably the most important issue when it comes to freelance translation because it’s definitely a serious handicap if you’re not a really good writer in your dominant language.
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