Business tips for translators
Plan and organize
As a freelancer, you need to manage your time properly. The ideal thing would be to plan for the upcoming week during the week – what projects you have to finish, or start. Then at night write down the most important tasks you need to do for the next day and how much time you will require to achieve them. There are several tools available that will help you with this, like Evernote, Google Calendar, Trello and so on.
The biggest pitfall facing any freelancer is lack of motivation, followed by fear and laziness. It’s very tempting to think of your job as depressing, boring and so on. There are likely to be others who envy your job! Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re lucky to be blessed with a job where you can pick and choose, and get to learn new stuff. Push yourself to do better and you’ll be amazed at the growth you achieve.
Yes, it is likely that you will face failure – everyone does at some point in their careers. It’s important to not let a temporary setback get you down. You will likely get into a downward spiral from which you can’t recover. So shake off that feeling of despair the moment it sets in. Believe in yourself that you have what it takes to be successful.
Get inspired by your peers
Read blogs by successful freelancers and translators; learn from their mistakes and success stories. Following those who have already achieved their goals is a great way to become successful. Tell yourself that one day you will be the one who’s writing blogs and helping others to achieve their goals.
Strategize and define your goals
It’s important to create a roadmap; define your goals and the path to get there. Without this map, it’s easy to get lost. You need to decide on these things: You niche (the type of content/subject matter you’re comfortable with – health, legal, literary, etc.), what kind of customers you’re comfortable working for, the languages you’re willing to translate from and to, and how to market yourself. Eq1uip yourself with the skills required to make it in the industry.
Know your ideal customer and what they need
Just like any business, as a freelance professional, you also need to know your ideal customer; never make the mistake of trying to serve everyone. You will end up providing mediocre services to a large number of people; it’s infinitely preferable to provide exemplary services to a smaller number of people. Ask yourself who needs your translation services and what exactly they need, then think about how you can help. Focus on their need, their pain points and how you can resolve their pain.
Learn, learn, and learn some more
It is important that the translator is extremely fluent in the target language, especially when you translate legal documents or other business related documents. Continuous education is an absolute must for success and this is especially true for professional translators. With advancements being made in every field, new terms and phrases are also being invented every day. It is important for you to stay abreast of these developments. Keep in touch with happenings in your niche, and note down the latest terms and the appropriate terms in the languages you translate into. Keep an eye out for new file formats, idioms, cultural developments, linguistic nuances, formatting styles and so on. Always strive to adapt to the challenging requirements of your profession. Doing so will help you be impeccable at your job.
Market and establish yourself
There are many ways to market yourself. One of the simplest ways to do it is, start a social media profile – solely for your profession. Post and tweet regularly, and remain in the public memory. Having a LinkedIn account is a great way to reach more customers as it is a network of professionals. Post valuable information that will add value to your potential customers; you can also start a blog and write helpful articles – they will appreciate you for it. It will help you reach a wide audience, and get more customers.
Do something different
If you feel the competition is very intense in a particular niche, search for businesses that offer products and services that are complex and expensive and/or businesses looking to expand into a target market for one of the languages you’re proficient in. Ideally, this will be a company that has tons of written material – manuals, guides, and so on. If you can be the translator with the right background – intricate knowledge of the linguistic and cultural nuances, possess native fluency, and are good with deadlines – then you will be their go-to person when they want anything translated.