stubborn as I am), and I knew I was meant to plunge into the endeavor of living a self-employed, language-filled lifestyle. I spent my time translating in the day (improving my skills with revisers, working on my specialization, reaching out to clients only to often be rejected) while bartending at night. It took about a year before I could afford to quit my night job and enjoy the sweet fruits of being a professional translator.
I started working with agencies; they are easier to find and access, and as a beginner, they help you understand the translation process (sometimes!). Through years of work, recommendations and networking, I was eventually able to branch out and get some direct clients. Most of my clients are still agencies. You need to network, know people, and get recommendations to land direct clients. Networking and marketing are crucial, not only to get your name recognized but also to meet colleagues and be aware of what’s happening in your profession. Sometimes people ask me how to become a translator as a side job. My answer? No idea. This is a profession that requires constant training, outreach, and practice. In short, it’s always full-time.
What’s even more important than marketing and networking is providing premium quality. It’s important to start working on your quality from the beginning: always try to get revised by an experienced translator, ask for feedback from clients, and never stop reading in your subject matter. Get a mentor and connect with people in your specialization. It doesn’t matter whether you think they’ll eventually become a client. They are key resources for freelance translators that can help you understand your texts.
There are a lot of resources on the internet for creating a good translator CV. The repeating themes are showing language pairs and specializations first, somewhere the client can easily find. Include your professional experience before your education. If you have zero translation experience, start volunteering or make some translation samples, paying an experienced professional to revise them with detailed feedback. Include what CAT tools you work with, references, and any professional associations you may be a part of. If you aren’t part of one, consider joining one. I’m a member of three associations, all with different benefits.
It’s a great adventure – a challenging one, but worth every ounce if it’s what you want to do.