Become a Professional Translator

Transitioning to A Full Time Translator

By this point you know that any success towards becoming a full time translator career will depend on a number of things, including your dedication when marketing and looking for jobs, and the amount of time that you have to apply to translating. Before accepting a job, you will want to make sure that you will be able to complete and return the translation in the time agreed upon. Whether you decided to be a full time translator or part time one will affect the amount of time that you can apply to your freelance business. It is not likely that you will be able to jump right into freelance translation as a full-time job – unless you are fortunate enough to have a lot of opportunities when starting out. Keep in mind, that it may even be years before you are able to support yourself as a freelancer. Figure out the amount that you can translate a week comfortably around full or part time jobs. As you start to get translation work and establish yourself with agencies, you will be able to eventually transition your career into a full time translator.

Freelance Translating Around a Full-time Job

While aspiring to be a full time translator, you can work as a freelance translator around a full-time job, but you may not have a lot of time to dedicate to freelancing when you are already working 40 hours a week.  If you are able to get a position as an in-house, part or full time translator, you will receive valuable experience that will help you to obtain clients. Even if you are not able to have a job in which you use your translation skills, your time spent working in other fields can also be considered relevant to your fields of specialization, and be appealing to potential clients. In your spare time, you should also begin to look for freelance opportunities and join agency databases, which will provide you with repeat work. You may be limited to one or two page translations to fit your work schedule, but those little jobs will start to generate income and get your freelance career off of the ground. Eventually, you will find that you are able to acquire freelance translation jobs often enough that it is possible to move from maintaining a full-time job in another field, to working part time and freelance translating part time.

Freelance Translating Around a Part Time Job

Little by little the freelance translator transitions their career. As you begin to generate an actual income through translation, you develop the background and relationships that will support you as you move into full-time. Working around a part time job is much easier than working around a full-time job because it opens up more opportunities since you are able to take on larger projects and have more time in which to translate and to market. You may even enjoy working this way and not expand your career to a full time translator. Many professional freelance translators maintain part time jobs as it offers some stable income, and still dedicate a significant amount of time to translating – often specializing in the fields in which they work part time. Regardless of how much time you are able to dedicate to translating, it is important to make sure that you allow yourself the time that you need to return quality, professional work, which will ensure that you are offered additional opportunities in the future.

Freelance As A Full Time Translator

Your full-time career begins once you have established a steady flow of translation jobs and can generate your desired income solely through translating. A freelance full time translator can expect to work anywhere from 30-70 hours a week, or even more depending on available opportunities and time spent marketing. Because freelance translators are independent contractors, you will also be responsible for any expenses that arise for your business such as business cards, computers, software, dictionaries, Internet fees, lunches with clients, etc. It is also your responsibility to keep track of such expenditures, and for recording your own hours and income while translating and reporting necessary information for tax purposes.

A freelance career offers you the flexibility of setting your own hours, being self-employed, and working from just about anywhere. Essentially, if you have access to Internet, you can find work as a translator. Ultimately, when becoming a freelance translator, one must ask themselves how much they want to work. Finding jobs, maintaining clients, marketing, plus translating add up to what can be a more than 40-hour work week at times. However, one you get more established in the field, you may find that you are able to charge more, and work less.

– written by Ryan Becker






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