Do you have a knack for writing in more than one language? In that case, a career as a freelance translator could be perfect for you. 

Translators connect the world through languages, and this could be your chance to contribute. But being a freelancer is a significant undertaking, and there are crucial things to consider to become successful. 

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! 

This guide will share tips on how to succeed as a freelance translator, including:

  • Perfect your writing skills
  • Prepare yourself for working solo
  • Learn to market yourself effectively
  • Keep up with market changes
  • Stay on top of your financial management

See also: How to start freelancing.

Freelancing isn’t for everyone

Before you consider how to succeed as a freelance translator, think about whether a freelancing career is right for you. If you’ve been struggling to find paying jobs, it could be because your heart isn’t in it.

There is no quick recipe for success –– it takes time and hard work. Even if you have previous experience as a translator, you’ll deal with:

  • Periods of little or no work
  • Running a sole trader business
  • Sales and marketing
  • Financial management
  • A lot of trial and error

You might decide that it’s not worth the hassle, and that’s ok. That said, if you’re positive that this is the right career for you, keep reading. 

How to succeed as a freelance translator

Now that you know freelancing is a good option for you, follow the steps below to become a freelance translator today. 

Perfect your writing skills

This job is about more than just translating. Succeeding as a freelance translator requires you to have great writing skills. You’ll need excellent grammar skills and knowledge of writing styles in the different languages. 

When you speak multiple languages, you’ll do your best work translating into your native language. You’ll need the ability to write at the same level your audience reads, or you could cause issues for yourself and your clients. 

The best way to improve your writing skills in your chosen languages is to:

  • Speak and listen to them as much as you can
  • Learn everything you can about different style guides
  • Read newspapers, magazines, books, etc. to keep the language fresh in your mind
  • Take courses to boost your language and writing skills
  • Collaborate with proofreaders to help you point out any mistakes you’ve made

Make solo working more bearable

As a freelancer, you probably work remotely by yourself most of the time, which can feel isolating at times. If loneliness is something you struggle with, it can harm your success as a translator. 

So when learning how to succeed as a freelance translator, it’s good to put some systems in place that allow you to mitigate the challenges of remote working. 

For example:

  • Work out of your house at least once per week
  • Set up a home office that helps fuel your motivation
  • Consider using a co-working space
  • Create a social life outside of work to compensate for the solo career

For more tips on making remorse working work better for you, check out:

Learn to market yourself effectively

If you’re struggling to find jobs, perhaps you need to polish up your marketing skills. A key part of figuring out how to succeed as a freelance translator is learning to sell yourself to prospects effectively.

Here are some tips to level up your marketing.

Build a professional brand

Your brand refers to how you present yourself to the public, and your marketing relies on it. 

Branding refers to using colour, fonts, language and core values to build an identity for yourself. When done well, your brand helps you attract and win over more clients. 

To learn more, check out: how to build a brand for your business

Polish up your website

Your website is your digital headquarters for your business and should hold all essential information about you, including your: 

  • Translator story and qualifications
  • Services and prices 
  • Portfolio or collection of your best work
  • Contact information 
  • Positive client testimonials 

If you don’t have a website, it’s time to create one. You can use tools like Squarespace or WordPress to build a website from scratch and design it to match your brand. 

If you have a website, take a look to see where you can make improvements to make it more appealing. 

Not sure where to start? Check out: How to make your own website.

List your services on freelance sites 

When listing yourself on a freelancing website, you can access an established audience and reach people already searching for a translator. This way, freelancing sites are a great way to earn clients. 

Here are some platforms to consider: 

Become an excellent networker

Succeeding as a freelance translator relies partly on your ability to build rapport and create new relationships with people in your field. So when thinking about how to succeed as a freelance translator, look at expanding your network. 

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Attend local events 
  • Sign up for webinars that relate to translation
  • Reach out to your existing contacts
  • Join a professional association

These methods can put you in contact with people in need of your services as well as other professional translators. 

See also: How to expand my network.

Finally, stay on top of your financial management

As you bring in more clients, it’s essential to organise your income and expenses to keep your business running smoothly. Luckily, there’s an app that can make financial management much easier for freelancers. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin and helps you stay on top of your self-employed finances with:

  • Automatic expense categorisation and receipt capture 
  • Year-round tax estimates
  • Unlimited invoicing on the go 
  • Ongoing cash flow insights 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today