Starting Work as a Freelance Translator

Starting Work As A Freelance Translator

When you start working as a freelance translator, there are several things you need to think about. One of the most important things is to find out what you know about the world and this has nothing to do with the language degree you have just earned at university.

Before studying a language or languages, what were you good at in school? Were you good at Maths, Physics, Biology? Or were you better at amateur dramatics or at editing the school or university magazine. Are you interested in religion or in history?

Art books often need to be translated and a knowledge of art is something that can be developed and enhanced over an entire life-time.

What are your interests now, apart from languages?

It will be no good your advertising yourself as a freelance translator unless you tell the translation agencies what are your specialities.

If you have an easy writing style, you could be what agencies need for commercial and advertising translation. If you are interested in ecology and the environment, you need to study those subjects in your spare time, to keep up with the latest changes.

The same applies to technical translation, where change occurs at an ever-increasing rate. Technical translators have often been working in a particular industry for several years and have spent some of those years in a foreign country, where they learned a foreign language. They were trained as engineers but after ten or twenty years they have decided to work as freelance translators (no more boss to tell them what to do) and their previous experience and training opens the door to technical translation. Their previous working experience has taught them the correct industrial vocabulary in both languages.

Other technical translators are people whose main education was in languages but who are also interested in technical subjects - maybe as a hobby - and this can be developed.

There are other translators who specialize in...