There exist quite a few resources on freelance translator tips out there. Even though some existing tips are applicable across the board, every author’s content and experience are unique and so is their readership or target audience. In the paragraphs below, I am sharing those tips and best practices that have worked for me as a French-English freelance translator. My assumption is that you already possess the necessary translator training, skills and techniques including:

  • Formal education or training in translation or linguistics
  • Native proficiency level in your target language (s) (excellent grammar, writing and vocabulary skills)
  • Reading and comprehension skills in your source language (s)
  • Cultural knowledge in both source and target languages
  • Good computer and word processing knowledge
  • Proven experience as a translator: on the job, volunteering, practice tests...

The following tips and tools have greatly contributed to my success as a freelance translator:

1) Having an office or a dedicated work-space

2) Investing in essential hardware

Click here for a list of recommended hardware

3) Having a business plan, budgeting and determining your ideal, break-even and median rates

4) Having a buffer income to serve as safety net while your business picks up or during slow periods

5) Finding a niche and specializing in at most 3 domains

6) Investing in continuous education: formal, training, workshops, conferences…

7) Getting certified especially if you don’t have a degree in translation

8) Using recommended software & tools

Click here for a list of recommended software and tools for a freelance translator

9) Making use of available resources

Click here for a list of some available resources for a freelance translator

10) Maintaining consistent good customer service and customer satisfaction:

Responsiveness

High quality

Reliability

Confidentiality

11) Implementing a consistent networking/marketing strategy:

Social media: strong online presence

  • Website or blog
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Joining Facebook and LinkedIn groups

Joining professional Associations

  • National Associations like the American Translators Association (ATA)
  • Local Translators or Interpreters associations

Joining professional directories

  • Proz.com
  • TranslatorsCafé

Using different methods and profiles for direct and indirect clients

  • Creating a good targeted CV

12) Practicing good time-management and self-discipline

13) Outsourcing the following tasks if possible:

Bookkeeping

Accounting

Webdesign

Housekeeping

14) Ensuring payment is received by:

  • Identifying and avoiding scams
  • Requesting a Purchase Order prior to accepting a job
  • Vetting new clients
  • Submitting an invoice with delivery

15) Offering different payment platforms to facilitate multi-currency payments from across the globe:

Check

Bank Transfer

ACH

TransferWise

Skrill

PayPal

Your thoughts?