Today, people communicate with people around the world, so language skills are highly useful. Translators can offer their services to businesses and individuals who want to interact with those who use different languages. 

This guide will cover how to succeed as a freelance translator, including:

  • What you’ll need as a freelance translator
  • How to market your translation skills and find clients
  • How to organise your freelance services 

What you’ll need as a freelance translator 

When considering how to succeed as a freelance translator, you first need to think about how to set yourself up for the job. You’ll also need to make sure you have the skill and understanding of the translating business. 

Setting up as a freelance translator

As you begin your career as a freelance or self-employed translator, you’ll first want to register yourself as a sole trader. You’ll also want to make sure you understand how your taxes will work as a freelancer. You can learn more about setting up as a sole trader here.

Depending on what you plan to offer for translation services, you’ll also want to have tools to do your job well. Writing tools, design tools, or video editing software, such as Adobe, Vimeo, Canva, or  Scrivener, may help you succeed. 

Having the right skills

You’ll need the right skills to translate for your clients. Make sure your language skills are at the level of written and spoken fluency. You’ll also need strong grammar and vocabulary skills. 

The broader your language skills, the more you can offer your clients as a translator. For example, if you speak five languages, your potential client pool will be five times as large. To make yourself more credible as a translator, you could get a Diploma in Translation and become an accredited translator. 

Aside from language skills, you’ll need strong attention to detail, time management, and a good laptop to communicate with clients and do your translations. 

How to market yourself and find clients 

When wondering how to succeed as a freelance translator, you’ll need to think about how to market your translation services to the right clients. To do this, you’ll need to determine your focus, your audience, and where to find clients. 

Knowing your audience

A big part of succeeding as a freelance translator is knowing what clients are right for you. A great way to start is by deciding what translation services you will offer. This depends on your translation skills and interests. 

If you decide to focus on written translation, you will seek a different audience than if you offer travelling translation. You might offer translation voice-over, caption-writing services, or book translation. You can choose to offer several translation services, but start by deciding which areas you would like to focus on.  

For example, if you want to focus on book translation, you may want to reach the writing community. If you want to translate from English to Spanish, you may want to interact with Spanish-speaking audiences in English-speaking countries. 

Marketing yourself 

Once you determine your target audience, you can use this information to market your freelance translation services. First, do this by creating a website and social media accounts to promote yourself and reach potential clients. 

By developing a LinkedIn profile, you can advertise your credentials and join language and translation groups to grow your network. You can also use Facebook to join relevant groups and promote your service. Twitter can be a good place to share your insights, using hashtags and engaging with other translator pages and profiles. 

Post content relevant to your skills and services. Try posting in different languages or translating content to show potential clients what you can do. Also, try setting regular goals for interacting with social media. Respond to any mentions or direct messages in a timely manner to appear professional and approachable. 

You could also develop a Youtube channel to market your translation services. If you upload regular videos with language and translation tips, you can appear knowledgeable to interested audiences. 

Finding clients

As a freelance translator, you’ll have to seek out clients for your translation services. Start by using social media profiles and your growing network. You can interact with the translator community to learn more about job opportunities.  

You can also create profiles on freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Proz. Develop your freelance profiles with a professional photo alongside a description of your services and fees. You can then search these platforms for translation work and find the right jobs for you. 

Try to target your client search. For example, if you’re focusing on document translation, you may want to engage with immigration law firms to offer your translation services. You can also leave advertisements on community boards or in magazines relevant to travel, writing, and translation. 

How to organise your translation services 

Knowing how to succeed as a freelance translator is more than just setting up your business, finding your audience, and developing a client base. For continued success, you’ll want to keep your business organised. 

You can organise your clients, communications, and translation work with platforms like Google Workspace or Microsoft Teams. Keeping everything in order will help you appear professional to your clients. 

You’ll also want to set fees and determine payment methods for your services so you can succeed financially. 

Save time managing your finances with Countingup 

When you’re starting your own business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from day one – to save yourself from time-consuming admin headaches further down the line. 

That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.