Many people who decide to become freelance translators are already holding down a day job.
Many people who decide to become freelance translators are already holding down a day job, and even though becoming a freelance translator is what they aspire to, there can be so much uncertainty when moving from one job to another. Perhaps the first thing to remember is that you’re not alone: so many people have taken the same step that you’re considering – moving from being fully employed to becoming an independent translator. No-one said it’s not scary because the fear of the unknown always is. Just keep in mind that many others have done this before you and have created financially successful careers for themselves. You do have the ability and the stamina to be successful in this quite demanding and competitive area!
The purpose of this article is to help you transition from being someone else’s employee to becoming self-employed, and we hope that the following advice will help you take the bold step to reach for your dreams.
Becoming self-employed takes time; time to start marketing yourself, time to find your first clients, and time to gain a reputation in the freelance translation industry. For these reasons we strongly suggest you don’t give up on your current position for the time being, because it’s going to be a while before any money starts coming in. Perhaps you already have clients waiting for you to get started, and even if you don’t you could well win some large projects straight away, but this would be quite unusual. It’s very common for freelance translators to give up and go back to their old position because they became disillusioned; which simply means they expected too much too soon. Your aim should be to accept translation projects that allow you to keep your current day job. Yes, it does mean you’ll be working harder than the average employee, but in the back of your mind, you’ll have a huge sense of satisfaction knowing that you’re already building an income stream that will one day become your sole source of finance.
Don’t Go for Volume – Go for Quality
When you’re starting out as a new freelancer there’s a huge temptation to grab whatever projects you can as quickly as possible. To a certain degree this will work to help build your reputation as a translator, but in the long run, it can be very detrimental to both your mental and physical well-being. Most freelance translators will tell you that clients can often be unfair and very demanding, always trying to spend minimum money for maximum value. Your aim should be to deal with as few clients as possible because each client has their own demands and idiosyncrasies.