Even though the internet is often considered the epitome of the so-called global village, language barriers are often in the way of getting in touch with foreigners. Despite English being the dominant language, companies and individuals often find themselves in a need to get an article or even a whole website translated. Unfortunately, working with a professional agency is not only time consuming, but very expensive as well.
This is why translation gigs are some of the most common projects for which companies and other organizations alike are in need of a freelancer. Despite being very popular, keep in mind that there are some unexpected pitfalls for both unsuspecting clients and newbie translators. So if you wish to know how to set up a successful translation business or how to ensure quality results, check out our recommendations.
Freelance Translation Work
Translation in general is a highly requested, yet challenging field of the freelance industry, and overall a good stepping stone to get introduced to home office work, Translation assignments range from simple half-page assignments to full website translations either from a foreign language to English or vice versa. Payment structures vary a lot, but usually the longer or more difficult gigs pay better. Most sites cater to the employees, meaning that they are the ones who can launch a translation project with a predetermined wage. In these scenarios there is little to no room for negotiation, unless the client contacts the creative personally.
Most freelancer tasks depend heavily on communication, and translation gigs are no different. A common mistake made by employers is that they outsource the document and stay away from any form of interaction with the translator until the deadline. Clients who are open for communication and inspire their workers receive better results, and translators who are willing to learn from objective criticism are destined to gain good reviews and establish long-term relationships. Although it’s not essential, we recommend opting for a freelance site that offers time and work tracker apps, since both sides benefit from it: clients are reassured that the creative is making progress, while freelancers can use it as proof in case of a dispute.
Best Freelance Websites of 2021
Kicking off as a Freelance Translator
As a newbie translator you must understand that there is little to no room for mistakes in this industry. A regular employer might forgive a few early missteps, but translating a piece and receiving bad ratings is a black mark that will remain on your portfolio forever, discouraging any potential clients from contacting you. That’s why you should only start a freelancing translation business if you are a qualified translator with actual experience and testimonials behind your back.
Speaking of experiences and testimonials, the best way to snatch your first gig as quick as possible is to showcase a professional looking profile page with your previous achievements. Even better, put a little sample of your work on display (with the permission of your previous client, of course), so others know what to expect from you.
When being contacted by an employer, make sure to properly discuss the details, including the deadline, the tone, the available source materials and, most importantly, the payment method. Translators are usually paid after the work is done, but having an escrow is always a good way to make sure that you won’t run into a nasty scam.
Hiring a Translator
Working on a translation is a piece of cake compared to the risks of actually outsourcing it. Clients, who need freelancer translators, are most likely unfamiliar with the foreign language they want the piece to be translated to, thus they cannot check whether or not the finished product is correct. Running Google Translate might be a good way to get a glimpse, but it won’t point out small grammar mistakes or typos, and it only works properly with Indo-European languages.
That’s why you must pay close attention to every candidate. Inspect their profile page, mostly focusing on the reviews/ratings submitted by other clients. In case the person offers translation services in several languages, make sure that they are the aces in the language you need. Don’t give in to temptation and hire someone who promises to work for a few bucks, since they’ll most likely bail out with an excuse right before the deadline or ask for more than you previously agreed upon. If you run into a disappointing, but overall acceptable result, make sure to leave a non-aggressive but objective review. In case of severe mistranslations you can either leave a negative rating or start a dispute to get your money back.
Recommended Freelance Sites for Translators
Let us introduce you to three, non-translation specific freelance websites that are perfect choices for both clients and translators.
Known as the marketplace for services, Fiverr is the site where young intellectuals offer all kinds of services to anyone. From digital marketing, graphical design, writing and translation to animation, gift crafting and prank videos, Fiverr will definitely provide a freelancer for any kind of gig. On this site the clients are the ones browsing the service offers from freelance workers, but it’s easy to tell the translation services apart. This is topped by a payment system where buyers can choose from different packages: this way the more they pay, the better package or, in other words, better/more translations they get.
Freelancer.com is the pinnacle of the digital freelancing world, boasting millions of users. The site not only caters to an international audience, but they don’t restrict creative minds from finding their own specialty either. Translation is among the available gigs, so you’ll definitely find freelancers for every language. Freelancer.com uses a skill system to easily distinguish job assignments, which are submitted by the client. The site also offers a downloadable program that keeps track of the translator’s work, while the employee’s payment is secured through an escrow.
PeoplePerHour is a project website, meaning that employers can create their very own assignments with requirements and important details, while freelancers can apply to the open positions. The site presents a wide selection of gigs, with an emphasis on translation and writing. Even though the service fees are surprisingly low, the site’s main selling point is their built-in Workstream interface that allows employers and employees to chat, share documents and manage their finances.