One of the main obstacles that any novice translator faces after completing his university studies or his post graduate diplomas or courses lies in the most professional way by which he can prove his competence and proficiency as a freelance translator. Whether approaching a translation agency or a direct client, the whole process could be really more intricate than it seems to be with view to the fact that both end users of his services are only after certified or sworn translators or experienced translators with proven records and references. So how can he manage to escape out of this endless cycle.
If you are approaching translation agencies you will have to abide by certain guidelines. You’ll have to go down with your rate to encourage these agencies to contract with you. You’ll have to deliver, as much as can be humanly possible, an error free professional translation that is a true rendering of idea, style, and original composition as well as a consistent quality in terms of terminology. You’ll have to support your work by resorting to relevant authoritative reference resources, dictionaries, and glossaries. You should enrich your knowledge and experience by extensive readings in various fields and domains to be prepared to deal effectively with such specialties in translation (commercial, technical, medical, financial, IT, etc.). You should observe the due dates predefined by the translation agency and respect confidentiality of all handled projects whether you were asked or not to sign their non disclosure agreement. Most translation agencies set a trial period to all new freelance translators in which they could closely examine and monitor their work. Nevertheless, if you respected all above mentioned guidelines, be sure that you will be the target of any translation agency.
On the other hand, if you are approaching a direct client, whether corporate clients or individuals, you’ll face a lot of trouble trying to gain access to these clients. In the first place corporate clients and companies prefer to outsource their translation needs to partners that are able to offer comprehensive solutions. They search for agencies that can satisfy their translation needs in a range of different languages, that are available 24/7 hours a day, that can accept handling translation of specialised domains, that have DTP and typesetting services, that maintain procedures guaranteeing all deadlines are met and that observe the confidential nature of all handled jobs. Taking into consideration their need for diversity, capacity, continuity, and confidentiality, it is scarcely surprising that many of such companies direct their choice to a one stop shop translation agency rather than individual freelancers. Although a translation agency may be more expensive than a freelancer, but the additional comprehensive service and quality gained justify the extra investment. As to individual clients, you cannot get access to this type of clients except if you have a wide scope of social acquaintances and relations or if you have a website to showcase and market your services optimized to be SEO friendly. At this stage all small businesses start making use of all free means available on the net to gain traffic to their websites through registering at free directories, creating free ads, or building links and reciprocal links to their websites. However, this does not usually work and soon you’ll find that you have to start your marketing campaign. Contacting a professional Web design company to handle your marketing campaign at low budget for small businesses is one of the easy and direct solutions to get access to your potential clients. Social marketing has also come to be an important tool which accounts now for a great share in the market with view to the fact that about 96% use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and You Tube.
To step with confidence as a freelance translator in the field of translation, you’ll have to undergo certain processes before engaging in all above mentioned procedures. After your graduation, you can work as an unpaid trainee in any translation agency for a couple of months till you can find another translation company that is able to pay you for your services. There you can work for a couple of years to add practical experience to your knowledge, acquire skill and gain speed and the knowhow techniques of the job. Once you have polished your skills and experience and feel you can start your own career, you should transfer to a part-time contract so that you can have the time to build your clientele database. When your freelance work provides you with a work flow that engages you 20 hours a week, you can now terminate your contract and start your own career.
While undertaking to go through all the above procedures, you have to be systematic, logic and patient. Never to embark on a step except after being sure that you’re going to stand on stable ground. As a freelance translator you have to be always updated with extensive reading and latest technologies.
ATC Blog tackles the concerns of Translators and the Translation Industry, besides addressing the interests of Translation Clients. It also offers handy tips for all; translation clients and translators.