Many beginner translators take on low-rate translation work, basically accepting whatever work they’re offered, because, let’s face it, translators like to eat and they have bills to pay too! But then they find they’re stuck in a rut, working long hours every day trying to earn a basic living. They can’t afford to be sick and they certainly can’t afford to take a day off. Being stuck on low rates means that there’s no money left over for professional development and better translating tools. Basically, they feel like they’re on a treadmill and there’s no way of getting off. So the question these translators are asking is this: ‘Is it possible to escape the low rate translation market?’
And the answer is yes! It’s absolutely possible. There are three things you need to change in order to escape, and these include –
- Your mindset;
- Your business skills; and
- Your translation skills.
Let’s Start with Changing Your Mindset!
In our opinion, the most important change you need to make is in your mind. You must have faith in yourself and your translation skills, so breaking out of the low rate translation mark is knowing that your time and your work are worth more, and also believing that there are good clients out there looking for someone just like you. Get out of your small mindset and start thinking big! Don’t ask yourself what you can do to achieve a 10% increase in income this year; instead, ask what it would take to work less than you do now but double your income! Remember that you’re a professional translator!
Prepare to Let Your Low-Rate Clients Go
A good way to start on the road to positive thinking is to make a list of clients you’ll be happy to let go when you find higher paying clients: your list should state that: ‘By (date) I won’t need to work for these low-paying clients.' So now you have X number of months to find yourself some better-paying clients, and that’s very doable. Imagine how proud of yourself you’ll be the first time you tell one of your lower paying clients that: ‘I’d love to continue translating for you, but I can’t offer you a discount because I’m working full-time at my regular rates’.
Also, acknowledge your role in the low-rate translation market. There will always be clients looking for translators in the bargain basement, and there will always be translators happy to service their needs. And that’s fine, because it’s okay for you to stay with these clients for the time being - you still need to work because you still need to eat and pay your bills while you’re looking for better paying clients. However, you’re not accepting any more work from low-paying clients because, starting right now, you’re going to find better clients!