A Word of Warning

Suggestions on How to Become Established as a Freelance Translator

A Word of Warning or: Stumbling Blocks for Translators

The information on these pages only gives a rough introduction to the challenges you are faced with when setting out as a freelance translator working from home. I have scratched the surface. I hope that you find the information provided useful and that it will help you focus your energy where it is needed. Between translation assignments, I am currently working on a more detailed guide which will address the pitfalls I mention below and a few others. If you would be interested in reading that, please let me know and I shall hurry up with it. Meanwhile, I wish you success translators, but, be warned, it requires a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed in this profession!

Common stumbling blocks for inexperienced translators include:

  • Accepting work without having had sight of it
  • Accepting work which is not within your area of specialisation
  • Agreeing to unrealistic deadlines
  • Quoting too low
  • Quoting too high
  • Delivering translation work of inferior quality
  • Not asking questions when there is an ambiguity in the text
  • Sounding insecure on the telephone
  • Not informing your customers of problems that may mean missing the deadline
  • Not responding to customer queries promptly
  • Not knowing which target readership the text in question is intended for
  • Not daring to turn down a job for fear that the client won't return
  • Neglecting your health
  • Neglecting your family

The list is not exhaustive and - be assured - even experienced translators sometimes trip up.