Ultimate guide for freelance translator(day 5)

How to earn more as a freelance translator

So now you have a work experience of translation and you’re comfortable with your skills, and enjoy the freedom that being a freelancer gives you.

If only you could earn more, you need to specialize in order to command much higher rates.

However, if you are a generalist, what can you do to earn more?

Besides improving your productivity, to earn more you need to do one or both of the following:

  • Get more work
  • Charge higher

Getting more work from agencies

The best method of getting more work from agencies that you currently work with is to consistently produce great work.

Most reputable translation agencies will have some sort of review process and scoring system for their freelance translators. They are always looking to improve their service to clients so always attempt to select the translators with the highest scores for their clients’ work. This is a policy translation agencies have to employ due to the huge numbers of translators available and the competition that exists between agencies.

Besides being good at what you do, you should aim to be a great resource for an agency. How?

  • By being easy to work with
  • By being reliable
  • By being available

With time and experience you will be able to improve your credibility, your skills and higher rates.

Get direct clients

It is a good time to look for direct clients. Keep in mind you can always work for both direct clients and agencies.

You will be able to charge higher rates with direct clients compared to agency work. The downside is that you might receive less work and, since you are now a business owner, you will need to factor in the higher cost of sales, as well as the time, resources and money spent on attracting direct clients.

Small businesses are an ideal target, as they are likely to require smaller volumes of translation work which you should be able to handle. More importantly, they are more likely to require fewer language pairs and specialisms. Often, when large organisations need text translated into many languages they will only work with professional translation agencies.

If specialising is desirable when working with agencies, it is essential when working with direct clients. A legal firm, for example, will be more likely to work with someone who has a lot of experience providing legal translations.

The reality is that there aren’t that many clients that require general translations in just one language pair.

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