Working as a freelance translator is a great way to be in control of your own business. You have control over who you work with, when you work and many other great perks.
As a business owner, freelance or other, there are always challenges that must be worked through in order to be successful.
We have identified 3 of the top problems that freelance translators face and have provided solutions used throughout the industry to help you.
Balancing Time Zones
One perk of being a freelance translator means you can work wherever you’d like. This can be in your hometown, while you are travelling, or really anywhere in the world. This also means that you can work with anyone in the world because you work online. The possibilities are endless.
The problem lies with balancing time zones. Time zones create challenges when it comes to communicating with current or potential clients. This is not only when you are at home working but can also come into play as you travel or your client travels.
The best way to work with other time zones is to understand what your boundaries are. For example, are you going to accommodate your clients time zone or is the request that they accommodate yours? You may also be able to meet the client in the middle, but you must understand what your boundaries are so that the client is always clear.
One great tool to use online is timeanddate.com particularly the time zone converter to help you manage times with your clients.
One con being a freelance translator is that you likely work alone, unlike working for a company where you are in an office with other colleagues. Having a community to get support and engage with is super important to success.
A community gives you the space to connect with others in the same field as you. You can network, pass jobs to others, sign jobs, collaborate and of course keep up to date on new things happening in the industry.
Community will also help you navigate these types of challenges when you are first starting out or later on during your career.
You can find a community by joining a third-party company or looking online for other freelancers like you. Two places you can do this is through us at Language Marketplace or an association like proz.com
If either of these are out of your reach connect with others through social media. Look for Facebook groups of translators or others that offer services like you on other platforms.
Before you become a freelance translator there is different education that you need to complete before hand depending on where you are located. For example, a degree in translation or linguistics. Once you graduated, it’s very important to continue your education and keep your skills up to date.
It can be hard to know what skill to upgrade next, what is coming up in the industry, or where to even take the courses. This is where that community pieces comes back into play. When you are connected with others in the industry you can connect to gain this information.
Another way is to reach out to your local universities, colleges and other educational institutions to find out what they have to offer when it comes to translation skills.
Regardless of which approach you take, ensure that you are consistently upgrading skills and learning to make sure you match the industry standard.
Always Be Open to Learning
No matter where you are in your business as a freelance translator, it’s extremely important to always be learning or at least be open to learning. You will always come across new challenges and need to approach them with an open mind in order to solve them.
Balancing your time zone, joining communities and staying on top of your skills are 3 problems you can solve right away. The best part is solving these will help you solve many more as you grow your freelance translation business.