Freelance translator jobs are fast becoming a growing niche. Many companies and firms look for translators to assist them in dealing with various international clients.
There are many lucrative benefits to becoming a freelance translator. First, you get to set your own hours which will determine how much work you’re willing and capable of assuming. Secondly, you’re your own boss. You decide how to work, when to work and where to work. Lastly, the potential for growth in this domain is boundless. You simply have to get started!
Wondering whether you’ve got what it takes to work as a translator? Having the following skills will definitely make you more marketable:
Superior Language Skills
This is obvious but you need to have a mastery over the target or source language. It helps if you’re a native speaker of this source language. You also need to be an excellent writer in this native language. Although it takes an exceptionally talented person who can translate a language that is not their innate tongue, many translation firms won’t consider hiring you if you’re not a native speaker.
If you’re an extraordinarily talented speaker of a language that is not your native tongue, it is recommended you spend some time in the country of your source language. Apart from sharpening your language skills, it will help you gain a meaningful understanding about the certain nuances and cultural differences of the source language.
Stellar Reading and Comprehension Skills
Fluency in not just speaking but also in reading, writing and comprehension in the source language is the hallmark of a successful translator. This skill will help you gain a complete understanding of the source text and enable you to generate a near-perfect translation. To augment this skill, listen, watch and read materials published in that source language. Taking language courses would be beneficial as well.
Awareness of your Strengths
Knowing your strengths as a translator will help you select freelance translator jobs that are specialized according to your abilities. It will also help you market your services in a more professional and efficient way.
Mastery of Keyboarding and Computer Skills
In the field of translation, it is not expected for you to be a computer whiz but you should be able to navigate and use various computer programs. Some of these include Microsoft Office Suite and CAT. Knowledge of editing and image manipulation programs are a great bonus too like desktop publishing and Photoshop. Some skill in HTML is a definite plus point. Having these computer skills adds to your marketability and yields a greater chance of you getting employed. You can also negotiate a higher salary or rate for these special skills.
Self Employment Skills
To be a successful freelancer, you must have experience in sales, marketing and or customer service. You need to have tenacity and determination to find suitable translator job contracts. In addition, you must be able to negotiate and have superb time management and organization skills.
No sales experience? No problem! It might help to take a few courses on business processes, marketing and customer service.
Education, Certification and Qualification
Having a Ph.D. or MBA is not a prerequisite for most translator jobs, but having some form of post-secondary education will definitely add to your employability. You also need to have a qualification or certification in translation. There are many certification courses offered by local colleges in your area. These can be taken online, during the day or in night school. Having this specialization will definitely improve your translation skills.
To apply for freelance translator jobs, you must possess the six skills mentioned in this blog. In addition, your success will also depend on self-discipline, continuing education and keen business sense.