Need help getting started
Thread poster: PT Translations
I've had a profile on ProZ for sometime now but am finally exploring job possibilities. Being new I'm unsure as to how I make myself "qualified" to quote jobs as every job appears to exclude me because of restrictions placed by the vendor. I understand that I don't have the experience required by some but there must be work out there that I can do to gain that valuable experience. Any helpful reply is welcome!
| Make Proz profile great !! || Jun 18, 2009 |
first thing i would suggest that first you have to make your proz profile great. Please complete all the detais required by them, this will surely help you, after there are number of activities provided by proz itself kudoz,powwow and others try to be a part of them.. include your all experience field in which you comfartable with..client you had work with and others details you feel can help, just add into your proz profile. This will surely give you client.
| | Benoit HUPIN
Local time: 09:35
English to French
| Find a mentor || Jun 18, 2009 |
When I began as a freelance translator, I found a fellow translator who acted as a mentor. Thus, I could translate the projects she was too busy to translate and this is how I got my first experiences.
And once she considered I was ready, she introduced me to her project managers.
I think this is a good way to obtain the fluency and efficiency when starting. And I am sure there are colleagues that would be happy to "train" you if you have the potential to become a good translator.
I wish you all the best
| Fill in the profile details and contact potential clients. || Jun 18, 2009 |
Hi PT Cruiser,
As Modh Shadab suggests a first step is definitely to work on your profile. A strong profile helps the clients find you - and if you quote for a job and the client can't find any further information about you and your qualifications and/or experience they will most likely choose another translator. Even if you don't have any real experience yet, you must be able to fill some information in and write something about yourself. You can browse other profiles to see how people present themselves.
You can also start contacting potential clients yourself. You shouldn't just limit yourself to the jobs being posted here.
A mentor, like Benoit mentions, is also a great idea, if you can find one. I am sure that must be a very good way to get started, although it might be a bit difficult to get a mentorship arranged. Proz actually provides a platform you can use to search for a mentor (http://www.proz.com/?sp=exchange&exchange_area=mentoring), but I don't know how successful the people posting there have been in actually finding a mentor.
I got my very first client (which is still one of my best clients) by answering a general request for freelancers in my language combination and completing a free test for them. Many agencies request references, and I was also worried about that in the beginning, since it is impossible to provide references if you are just starting out, but I found that in most cases they didn't mind about not being able to provide references, when I instead offered to complete a short test translation for free to prove my skills. If you do a really good job, they will give you a chance. Now, when I actually do have a couple of years of experience and have worked for many clients already, I still don't provide references as a general rule, since most agencies have asked me to sign confidentiality agreements anyway. And even if I know that some of my clients would be happy to act as reference if I asked them, I do not want to bother them by having other potential clients contacting them all the time. So even if many translation agencies ask for references, my experience is that most of them are also perfectly aware of the fact that you either cannot provide them or is not willing to provide them for personal reasons.
So don't worry too much. Just try to get hands on some work to start gaining some experience. And then you will see that it little by little becomes a lot easier.
Oh, another thing I did when I started out was to do some pro-bono work for a NGO. This serves a good purpose, helps you to gain experience and is also something that you can state on your profile/CV. Apart from that, I also read a lot in these forums which are full of advice and useful tips.
Good luck with getting started!
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I suggest that you contact non-profit organizations and volunteer to translate for them at no cost. While this does not generate any income, it is a great experience, both personally and professionally. It allows you to practice in a "live" environment, having the same responsibilities and deadlines as you would have with a paid project. You learn how to communicate, get organized, establish your own procedures for the translation process, and do good at the same time.
You learn about your strengths and weaknesses, explore how you can improve, and can gain invaluable experiences, not to mention references for the future.
I have been freelancing for over a year now, with mixed results. I presume that in part this is because of the financial crunch, and in part because of my lack of experience, particularly in comparison to my fellow colleagues who may have dozens of years under their belts.
I still work as a volunteer for a few organizations and translate substantial volumes for them. Sometimes I translate for practice, for my own sake. It's not official experience, but experience nevertheless.
Hope this helps!
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