How to be a full-time translator
Thread poster: Erina Oistad

Erina Oistad
Local time: 06:49
English to Japanese
+ ...
Aug 28, 2010

My fellow translators,

I have been a translator and interpreter for 6 years, but I do not get enough projects to work as a full-time freelance translator. What do I need to improve? If I can share your sage advice, that would be wonderful.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 18:49
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Stop and think! Aug 28, 2010

Erina wrote:

I have been a translator and interpreter for 6 years, but I do not get enough projects to work as a full-time freelance translator. What do I need to improve? If I can share your sage advice, that would be wonderful.

I tell you about my experience. In year 1980s-2000s I worked as a translator (mostly never as interpretator) almost monopolically in my country. Now progress in Internet and more competitors [translators] and my jobs become more specific e.g. the ones other translators are not found easily. I understand that you should not be too quick to be a full-time translator, both financially and technically. You should attend courses on marketing, translation techniques and others to stabilize your professional status by now.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Halil Ibrahim Tutuncuoglu "Бёcäטsع Լîfe's cômplicåtعd eñøugh"
Turkey
Local time: 14:49
Turkish to English
+ ...
Rome wasn't built in a day. :) Aug 28, 2010

Erina wrote:

My fellow translators,

I have been a translator and interpreter for 6 years, but I do not get enough projects to work as a full-time freelance translator. What do I need to improve? If I can share your sage advice, that would be wonderful.



I think you have to be patient as the saying goes :"everything comes to him who waits"


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Marketing yourself Aug 28, 2010

İbrahim Tutuncuoglu quotes the saying :"everything comes to him who waits". When it comes to getting work, that could hardly be less true. Nothing comes while waiting. You have to be active, and persuade customers to give you work. To do that, you need to market yourself, and that in my opinion is your weakness.

One important but often not understood aspect of ProZ is that most work comes not from responding to jobs but from customers trawling through ProZ looking for suitable translators. So what happens when they look at your details? They are disappointed.

Your ProZ profile is very short. You also claim a very large number of specialisations -- medical, auto, business, finance, legal, IT, etc -- far too many to be believable. You cannot possibly have a high level of knowledge in so many different areas. Worse, you do not provide any evidence that you have actually translated texts in any of these fields.

You advise people to look at your resume. This seems geared to looking for full-time or part-time work, not for freelance translation. You start off by saying you are highly motivated etc. That is of no interest to a translation company. What they want to know is which specific areas you have real translation expertise and experience. If I were a translation company, I would stop reading your resume after the first paragraph and discard it.

They also want to know about your language skills. All you saying your credentials is "English to Japanese (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas)". That is puzzling, to put it mildly. I would expect a Japanese establishment to confirm your language skills.

I have been a bit harsh, because life is harsh. My advice would be to improve your ProZ profile, make your resume more oriented to freelance translation, and provide actual evidence of work you have done.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 18:49
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Exposure Aug 28, 2010

I love the word "exposure" to speak about marketing for translation jobs. I read on Internet 11 years ago that one novice translator did extensive exposure to sell himself. He distributed brochures about his service in airports, railway stations, coffee shops, conference halls, motor shows etc.. I admired these attempts, and the clients do too!!!

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:49
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Peter. Aug 28, 2010

Also: You might want to proofread your profile page. Five typos in one sentence is a bit of an overdose to put it mildly, especially when you claim native speaker status of English.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Looking from the other end: specialize! Aug 28, 2010

Colleagues here said you have listed too many specialties, most likely as many as Proz let you check. This doesn't work. If you had a sore throat, would you rather go to a healer that says s/he can cure anything, or to a throat specialist physician?

After 37 years translating professionally, I've developed about half a dozen true specialties where I excel, can translate most other subjects to high quality standards, and have listed four subject areas as off-limits for my translation work (I have a list of specialized colleagues in my pair for these areas, I know them all personally, and will refer any client with such requests directly to them).

Try to define your scope, hone your skills for that, and then grow from this "core". Of course, your scope may be "general", but then you'll have to stick to simpler translation work.


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Halil Ibrahim Tutuncuoglu "Бёcäטsع Լîfe's cômplicåtعd eñøugh"
Turkey
Local time: 14:49
Turkish to English
+ ...
everything comes to him who waits Aug 28, 2010

Peter Linton wrote:

İbrahim Tutuncuoglu quotes the saying :"everything comes to him who waits". When it comes to getting work, that could hardly be less true. Nothing comes while waiting. You have to be active, and persuade customers to give you work. To do that, you need to market yourself, and that in my opinion is your weakness.



"everything comes to him who waits" is a saying which is used to suggest people that those who are patient and who work patiently eventually receive all things.

"Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one." Benjamin Franklin


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:49
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with Peter Aug 28, 2010

Look for a marketing course in your area and learn marketing techniques. They will be very useful in changing your situation.

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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:49
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nicole is right Aug 29, 2010

I would never hire you after seeing your profile page. Your About me section is infested with stupid and sloppy spelling errors... if you can't even get that part right, how are you supposed to deliver a high-quality translation?

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Erina Oistad
Local time: 06:49
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much! Aug 29, 2010

My fellow translators,

Thank you so much for your sage advice. You said all I needed to hear and I will first focus on improving my profile. I also need to narrow down my specialties too. I have been translating so many different fields and I am not still sure what I am good at.
And, yes, marketing is important. Now I know where to start to make things better. Thank you so much!


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