A bi-lingual or multi-lingual individual has a natural asset that could be used for freelance translation jobs. As with all freelance work, you are both boss and employee, so be ready to become a business person as well as freelance translator.
Finding Translation Jobs
The internet is teeming with freelance websites where you can create a professional profile and bid for jobs. Websites specific to freelance translation work are www.freelancersupport.com and www.proz.com. Although most of these websites will allow you to create a free profile and bid on certain jobs, eventually you will need to pay a subscription fee for access to forums as well as expanded job opportunities. Treat the profile like you would a resume, using it to display your command of the language and to describe your skills and experience.
Your income as a freelance translator depends on your language pair and your experience, as well as your ability to promote yourself. A 2007 survey by the American Translators Association states that the average gross income for full-time independent contractors was $60,000. This puts the typical pay rate at around $30 per hour depending on the demand of your language pair and the particular translation project. Keep in mind that this number is for freelance translators working full-time, something that will take some time to achieve.
The Typical Assignment
With business becoming more and more global, much of the freelance translation work involves, well, business. Typical translation assignments are translating software interfaces, web content and advertising, print marketing materials and documents for multi-national business meetings, to name just a few. Though translation is a human job, freelance translators also use translation memory software and translation dictionaries to aid with performing the job efficiently. Most translation jobs are sent via email, fax or through an online interface.
Pros and Cons of Freelance Translation Jobs
- The pros of being a freelance translator are that it can be a lucrative business. Unlike much freelance work out there, translation is a highly specialized skill and the demand for it continues to rise. In addition, freelance translation jobs are portable and can be completed anywhere you can bring your laptop and access the internet.
- The cons of freelance translation involve the difficulty of breaking into a highly competitive business without prior translation experience. Some common pitfalls when trying to gain experience are taking on work that you cannot handle or attempting to translate into a language other than your native language.
Freelance translation jobs are in high demand, especially in the international business sector. If you have the language skills to be a freelance translator and the business know-how to acquire and keep clients, freelance translation work is an excellent choice for a career, providing a flexible schedule and the opportunity to make a solid income working from home.