Five Approaches to Getting More – and Better – Freelance Translation Jobs


It’s no secret that freelance work is a common choice for professionals today. There are plenty of reasons for this, from an unstable international economy to the global pandemic of COVID-19 creating fewer in-house jobs for many industries. However, perhaps the most common reason people choose to work as freelancers is the opportunity to work on their own terms, making their own schedules and their own rules for when and how they operate.

Unfortunately, being your own boss often means less work. One of the big benefits of working for someone else is that the entity you work for typically provides you with steady employment and steady pay. This isn’t the case for most freelancers, as they are forced to find their own clients and opportunities for work. That can lead to sparsely-populated schedules and frustratingly low profits.

For freelance translators, this is especially maddening. Finding translation jobs isn’t something that happens easily for these professionals, especially when they’re new to the industry. Some languages make finding work more difficult than others. While finding jobs translating Spanish or Mandarin Chinese worldwide may be fairly simple, Vietnamese or Italian translators may have a harder time finding work

It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a handful of tips for finding the translation work you want and making more money while being your own boss:

Share Your Best Work

When people are considering your services, offering them a great first impression is key. If you are working entirely alone, ensuring that your website boasts your best work is critical to making that good first impression. Thinking of working with a freelance platform? Blow them away with your first submission and see clients come back for your services again and again.

Make Sure All Communication is Perfect

Most of us don’t take the time to spell check our emails and instant messages, at least not to the degree that we can call the text in them flawless. However, faultless writing is what is expected of a translation professional, even in those less formal communications. Show your clients you mean business with their text by ensuring that every message you send is without fault. It may take a little more time, but you’ll definitely see the reward!

Form Personal Relationships with Clients When Possible

In the world of freelance work, it isn’t always possible to truly know your clients. After all, much of the translation marketplace is an online exchange; you may never see or even speak directly to your clients.

However, the more personal you can make your exchanges, the better. Obviously don’t make things weird; you want to remain professional at all times when conducting business with clients. But do thank them for choosing your services, offer extras when possible, and send personal greetings and follow-up messages. That way, the next time they’re looking for English to Italian translators, they’ll think of you first!

Use Perceived Disadvantages to Your Advantage 

There are plenty of things that might keep a translator from landing a job, from unavailability to past mistakes in translation. However, these issues don’t have to keep you from working in the future. Learn how to spin them and you’ll find that they may actually work to your advantage.

When you’re going to be unavailable and you know in advance – even if that advance notice is just a few days – notify your clients. This means your current, past, and prospective clients. Why? Because it reminds them of the services you offer, puts your name in front of their eyes when they otherwise might not have been thinking of you, and gives the impression that you take your work very seriously. It can also create a perception of exclusivity in landing a spot on your schedule – something that is well-known to help bolster business.

What about past mistakes? They’re not a death sentence to future employment. When mistakes are found in the text you’ve translated, immediately address the problem with your client. Fix the mistake for free when possible and follow up with them afterward to ensure that the rest of your finished text is to their liking. This will improve your standing in their eyes and ensure that you continue to receive business. Even mistakes can help you land gigs when you know how to respond to them!

Work with a Freelancing Website

Perhaps the most obvious but most important tip on this list is to partner with a company that assists language skill freelancers in finding work. There are plenty of freelance gig listings online, but finding a specialized website that helps match qualified, professional translators to clients looking for their services is the best way to ensure that you get high-paying and frequent work.

Don’t keep settling for low-paying, sporadic translation jobs. Put your skills to work with a website that supports your efforts in finding translation clients and create the kind of busy schedule modern freelancers like you are capable of!


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