how to get good freelance translation jobs?
Thread poster: rupali_vinod

Local time: 14:55
German to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2010

i had completed my M3 level(german) from goethe institute before 8 months. since six months i m trying to work as freelancers. i had registred on diff sites:but i didnt get any job yet. i m loosing my confidence. anyone tell me am i certified translator with this certificate? what should i do to improve my skills? what should be rates for sending quotes? i need ur help.




Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
German to English
+ ...
Language proficiency versus (and?) translation skills Feb 19, 2010

I took the liberty of perusing your profile, but—to be honest—found it lacking.

What kind of jobs, i.e., in what language pairs, are you bidding on?

On your profile, you report being able to translate from English into German. And I am assuming that German is your source language, since you mentioned learning it at the Goethe Institute. This does not mean that one is automatically cut out to be a translator; language proficiency does not automatically lead to translation skills, though they are undoubtedly related. Besides, most will say that one should concentrate on translating into one's own mother tongue anyway.

If English is your native and target language (as you also report on your profile), then I can only assume that you are not getting the assignments, because the lack of proficiency in English is apparent in your original post (even taking into account the relaxed atmosphere of an Internet forum). My advice would be to read, read, and then read some more, only to be interrupted by writing in English as much as you can.

If Marathi is your native language (making German and English source languages for you), then you might consider developing your profile to reflect that.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-02-19 11:50 GMT]


yakky  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:25
English to Chinese
+ ...
Is certificate really important? Feb 19, 2010

It really gives you advantage, but no real guarantee.

"i had completed my M3 level(german) from goethe institute before 8 months. since six months i m trying to work as freelancers"
- when I see this, I would hesitate to offer a job if I am the client. So keep working hard. Good luck!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translate into your native language(s)! Feb 19, 2010

Personally unless I saw some certification in translation (not in languages) in your non-native language pairs (English to German / German to English), I would never hire you for that kind of work. It is not realistic to state that you can translate into German with a professional level of quality and throughput. No agency would hire you, instead of hiring a German native who masters English and can prove it.

I sincerely encourage you to correct your course and report translation into your native language(s) only. As you are posting English-German and German-English as your first language pairs, you are probably losing visibility in the language pairs in which you will probably end up working as a freelancer.

May I also encourage you to take courses about translation itself, first from English into your native language(s), at some training center or university near you? Knowing languages, even if you know them very well, is not sufficient for a translation career.

Good luck!


Monika Elisabeth Sieger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Derek and Yakki are absolutely correct with their statement Feb 19, 2010

Hi Rupali,
I am afraid that Derek and Yakki were absolutly right with their comment.
Working in a specialised translation agency myself and getting a lot of applications every week I have to admit that I wouldn't consider your application as your English seems to be not good enough for our purposes. Sorry!
1) Normally you only translate into your mother tongue. Secondly, you need to show a high level and standard of language knowledge in your application.
2) You should try and get a proper certificate or diploma in translation to have any chance at all. The market is very tough and only specialised translators or translators with a very high profile and expertise in languages have a certain chance to enter the market successfully.
3) I assume your message was written in the same hurry as is mine now. But you really should brush up your language, spelling and grammar in English. (English is not my mother tongue either but studying law in England, reading and drafting legal documents as a legal professional helped me to improve a lot, believe me! I was more or less a self-study person as my school English was pretty bad!)
4) Try and live in Germany and an English speaking country first of all and learn as much as possible.
5) Courses at the Goethe Institute are very good for a start but it doesn't really prepare you with the necessary knowledge of culture, history, philosophy, social aspects and behaviour (including the language). They teach wonderful things but it is somehow 'dead material' as it is only the theory. You need to have a practical test and this will give you a plus on your CV as well.

Derek's idea with English and German as a source language is great!
I know from Derek's commentary on another issue that he still dislikes to translate into German although he is living in Germany for a long time. He simply feels uncomfortable in doing so.
I agree with him. Although I live and work in England and think more or less in English I still prefer to translate into German, my native language. And I am forced to translate into English as this makes more than 80% of my workload!

Try to find a good agency in your area and get some advice from them!


Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
The question is... Feb 20, 2010

Hi Rupali,

The question is not
rupali_vinod wrote: am i certified translator with this certificate?
The question is whether you can be a translator at all.

Being a translator involves much more than speaking two languages, and no certification can make one a good translator. Sorry for being direct but with English as poor as in the posting translation career is out of the question.


Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Consider looking for interpreting jobs Feb 20, 2010

If you are ready to be an interpreter, you might try to start with it, as you won't have to spell what you say.
Read a lot every day.


Jessie Nelson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
French to English
Into your native language Feb 21, 2010


I will tell you briefly of my experience only to try to be helpful.
I am a French/English medical translator. However I experienced real difficulty trying to write "perfect French", when I began. I soon realized the wisdom of translating into your native tongue (English in my case), and have had good success working in this way.

Of course I continue to learn to write in the very beautiful French language. I have studied its' culture because I appreciate beauty in all forms, and have always admired many of its values. I have learned French history, so closely intertwined with my own countrys'. I can read it in all forms with no difficulty. But I think the time is fairly far off before I can write flawless French. Someone once told me it takes a lifetime to learn a language. I believe them.

Jessie Nelson RN
French/English medical translator.


jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Different sense of being certified. Feb 21, 2010

rupali_vinod wrote:

my M3 level(german) from goethe institute

It is definately a certificate, but yo uare certified in that context only. You are not automatically certified to translate


Joy Mo
Local time: 01:25
Chinese to English
+ ...
work with other freelancers Feb 21, 2010

[Edited at 2010-02-21 18:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-02-21 18:34 GMT]


Frauke Joris (X)
Local time: 10:25
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
Live experience Feb 23, 2010


agreeing with the others, I do not know how old you are, but reading you, I think you are lots younger than I am (51) .

One makes one professional choices, after experiencing lots of life and jobs.

Translators are problem solvers. You learn to resolve problems, first your own, then also the problems of your customers. A professional translator is a professional problem solver and can't be it without experience in many fields of life itself.

Ofcourse language experience is important for a translator. In your own native language, more than the others. Write a blog. Read about writing for the web: very interesting, the future si on the web!!!! It opens to ideas that can go beyond translating.

I've never written or spoken English in my life. But today I think I made a big mistake not doing it for the "shame" I felt. I have to learn it, as all my translator colleagues do and have done. Not to improve it for my "work"; I allready translate from English in Dutch, technical fields since years, but to comunicate with others there where I think it is or can be usefull for me and the others. So I have decided to take part of threads on Proz which I know since 2001.

Write and read, work and live, not focussing _only_ on translation, is what I would do if I were you, together with the other things my colleagues told you.

Sure you will find the right way for you!


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