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10 Qualities of a Freelance Translator

Our article on the advantages of freelance translation must have steered you towards becoming a freelance translator. Nevertheless, as mentioned in the previous article, everyone cannot be a freelance translator. There exists essential qualities, traits or attitudes to becoming a good freelance translator. The main qualities are as follows:

1. Discipline

If you are not disciplined, you cannot be a good freelance translator. Always bear in mind that you are responsible for any problem that might arise. Therefore, strive for self-discipline by respecting working hours, deadlines, etc.

2. Organisation

As a freelance translator, you must be organised. Otherwise, you risk jumbling up working hours with leisure time and so on. You should organise your day and/or week ahead of time. This will ease your work.

3. Communication

You should have good communication skills. You should communicate with your clients and other translators. This will help you clear up any hurdles you may face and take better decisions regarding projects and payment. You should also communicate with your family, colleagues and strangers to secure new contracts. As a freelance translator, it is therefore essential to be creative, sociable, and build a solid social network in order to promote yourself and your services.

You should also communicate with your family, colleagues and strangers to secure new contracts. As a freelance translator, it is therefore essential to be creative, sociable, and build a solid social network in order to promote yourself and your services.

4. Respecting Deadlines

Deadlines are crucial for a translator. Freelance translators negotiate their deadlines. If your client consents to a deadline, endeavour to respect it. You should only request an extension if this is not possible, and do so in advance.

5. Respect Your Workspace

Once you step into your workspace, make sure you use it for work. Avoid using leisure devices or tools in your workspace. If necessary, post strict rules on the door for the other occupants of the house.

6. Consistency

As a freelance translator, you need to be consistent. You will face difficult times, especially at the start of a career, given that the market is becoming more and more demanding with the increase in human resources and technological progress. Despite this, you should continually press on and work hard to be the best among all others.

7. Saying “ No

You should know when to say no. If you are too busy, do not accept new contracts. Politely decline them. Accept your loss and concentrate.

8. Teamwork

Actually, “freelancing” is about working alone, but it is important to have some team members. For example, a translator and a reviser. You may need more help if the workload is overwhelming and the salary substantial enough to let it go. You will need a reviser, as no one is perfect and someone to correct the hidden mistakes.

9. Updating Your Curriculum Vitae

You should update your CV regularly. Make sure you include periods, entries and exits.

10. Professional Handling of Emails

Be professional in the way you handle your emails. Be respectful and courteous. On the other hand, do not be informal. Keep it formal.

You can also draft prospecting emails in which you introduce yourself, mention what you can do and include your references. You can enclose your curriculum vitae and a universal cover letter. Don’t forget to precise your language combination at the beginning.

In addition to being effective and efficient as a freelance translator, you could also work in other fields such as editing, proofreading, content writing and ghostwriting. One never knows, these other areas might be more fruitful and beneficial than translation itself. Endeavour to have a professional translator profile on platforms like ProZ.com and TranslatorsCafé, to increase your chances of getting more translation projects.

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