Translation as a Career: How Old Is Too Old (or Young) to Start?

May 30th, 2016

How old is too old, or too young, to start a career as a freelance translator?

Translation as a Career: How Old Is Too Old (or Young) to Start? | One Hour Translation

Many people change their careers more than once during their lifetime, so the question some people may ask is this: ‘How old is too old, or too young, to start a career as a freelance translator?’ The answer is that your age is irrelevant – well, it certainly should be! What is relevant, though, are your skills and knowledge as a translator. People at both ends of the age spectrum are often concerned about their age, wondering whether clients will take them seriously. The answer is yes, they will take you seriously, bearing in mind the following factors –

  • The Majority of Translators Are Not Young People

Generally, freelance translators aren’t that young in any case. Many freelance translators are in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. The truth is that most clients have no idea how old their translator is because it has no bearing whatsoever on your abilities as a translator.

  • It’s Okay to Leave Your Photo and Degree Details off Your Resume

When it comes to your resume, it’s not really necessary to include the degree completion years. Provided you’re capable of doing your job, it’s not necessary for your clients to know how old you are. And this includes your photo – if you’re an older person, or very young person, and you’re concerned that your age may be of concern to your clients, you may choose to not add your photo to your marketing materials.

  • Forget Stereotypes!

Regardless of whether you’re on the old or young end of the age spectrum for freelance translators, forget the negative stereotypes of your age group. Perhaps even better would be to keep the stereotypes in mind and then defy them! We often hear that older workers resist new technologies and are too set in their ways; so prove them wrong! Point out that you regularly use Skype to communicate with your colleagues and clients, that you’ve recently participated in a webinar for freelance translators, and that you enjoy discussing your clients’ style guidelines and other preferences. 

If you’re on the young end of the age spectrum, make sure you’re responsible, reliable, and even more formal than you might otherwise be. Study formal speaking skills prior to attending any interview.

Whichever way you look at it, the freelance translation industry is one where ability and talent override everything else. Generally, most clients are only concerned that their translator has the skills and knowledge to do a good job of their translation project, and they’re not concerned about your age. That being said, though, you need to stay focused on always producing accurate and high-quality translations.

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