Keeping Track of Your Freelance Translation Business

May 16th, 2016
Keeping Track of Your Freelance Translation Business | One Hour Translation

Every successful business keeps up-to-date accurate records, and your freelance translation business should be no different.

Every successful business keeps up-to-date accurate records, and your freelance translation business should be no different. Performance metrics and statistics are vitally important aspects of tracking the success of your business. We’ll assume at this point that you’re already tracking your income and expenses, but that’s not all there is to running a successful business.

Maintaining Accurate and Up-To-Date Records for Your Business

For example, do you keep a running total of your outstanding invoices? A simple OpenOffice spreadsheet is all that’s required to keep track of this data. Once you’ve issued a translation invoice, simply enter the invoice details into the spreadsheet, and have the spreadsheet ready to total up the invoice amounts. This means that at any time you can check the running total of your outstanding invoices. Perhaps you’re trying to decide whether to take some time off and you’re not sure how your figures look for the month – simply check your outstanding invoices spreadsheet. Now you know whether you can enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation, or whether you need to keep your nose to the grindstone and get that total up.

There are many different types of accounting software out there, and having access to checking your year-by-year income can be really great for your confidence. Perhaps you feel that your workload has slipped this year and that your figures must be quite poor, but then when you check your data you see that, although you’ve completed fewer translation projects, your income is actually up by 25% on last year. That’s a good thing because it means that you now have more higher-paying direct clients!

Below we’ve listed some other business statistics that you might like to keep track of, and of course, this information will differ for everyone –

  • The hourly rate charged for various translation jobs. Divide the amount you made by how long the translation job took – forget about the word count. This figure will tell you which projects are more lucrative than others.
  • Income amounts per client. This information can be used to determine what types of clients you should be directing your marketing to. It also clearly shows who your most valuable customers are and which customers you should take extra good care of!
  • The amount of time spent on non-translation tasks. This figure could help you determine whether outsourcing some of your tasks, such as accounting, might improve your bottom line.
  • Measuring your average translation speed under different circumstances. This is an interesting measurement to take: Do you work faster using speech recognition software, translation memory software, or sitting in your local coffee shop working on your laptop? When you’re working faster it means you’re making more money, so, using these techniques, calculate how many finished words per hour you produce. The answer to this question could well help you decide whether it’s worth investing in new hardware, software, or training and whether it might be worth dictating your translations, then hiring a transcriptionist to type them out for you.

Whatever statistics you maintain for your business, it all helps in the long run for the successful and effective running of your freelance translation business. Of course, we can always learn from each other, and if there are any ideas in this article that may assist you in keeping better track of your finances, your clients, and so on, then our job here is done because that’s what we’re aiming for!