Looking for some tips on how to establish myself as a freelance translator
Thread poster: keesbakhuijzen

keesbakhuijzen  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Apr 26, 2011

Hello all.

I have my translation certificate in both Dutch to English and English to Dutch through NAATI in Australia - the national organisation responsible for examining translators and providing translation accreditations - since over a year. I have translated small personal documents like driver licences and marriage certificates, as well as legal documents and one university report in the social studies area (pedagogy), all to full satisfaction of my clients.

In November I've done a one day Wordfast seminar. However, so far I haven't really used it. I am not the world's biggest genius when it comes down to computer applications, but once I know how things work it's fine so I should be able to do the simple tasks in Wordfast.

I have sent emails to several translation agencies but I never received any reply. My fellow students at the Wordfast seminar told me to just keep sending emails to agencies, but like I said, so far this didn't get me anywhere. I have also discovered it's not much use to apply for jobs on Proz as I lack the required experience. It's a classic example of needing experience to get a job, but also needing jobs to get experience, so I get the idea I'm caught in a vicious circle.

I can imagine there must be more translators like me who really didn't have a clue how to start but who in the end managed somehow and would be able to provide some simple advice. All feedback would be greatly appreciated.


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:01
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
A couple of pointers Apr 26, 2011

Work on developing your ProZ profile as this is not a one-shot operation. There is always a part that you can improve.

Never give up as far as getting a job is concerned. Everyone starts where you are right now, and somehow they manage to find a job. Also, you can emphasize different parts of your CV/resume now, such as your education, part-time jobs, etc.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Member (2007)
+ ...
I agree with Atil Apr 26, 2011

Here are a couple of other thoughts:

keesbakhuijzen wrote:
I should be able to do the simple tasks in Wordfast.

I'm sure you will be able to pick it up, but it isn't a good idea to start when you have an important first job with a short deadline. Why not start using it today? Copy/paste text into Word then translate it using Wordfast.

I have sent emails to several translation agencies but I never received any reply.

Your friends are right: you will get a very low response rate from agencies. Are you really targeting the agencies that interest you and writing personally to them, or are you just mass-mailing them? Remember that they are very busy, so only a short CV and email will do - just the need-to-know essentials.

Don't forget direct clients, either.

One other point is that you say in your profile that you are fluent in French and German. Maybe these languages into your native Dutch would yield more jobs? The problem, I imagine, with translating into Dutch is that almost all Dutch people seem to be polyglots.icon_smile.gif Do you have a high-enough level in one of your other languages to use it as a source language? Becoming a larger fish in a smaller pond may bring benefits. It would certainly help you find whatever jobs are going here on ProZ (do a simulation of your directory ranking for Portuguese to Dutch, for example).


Alistair Ian Spearing Ortiz  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Constant improvement Apr 26, 2011

I'll also give you a pointer.

If you want to excel in translation, it's extremely important that you continue to work to improve every single day, even if it's only a tiny improvement. Every night, when you go to bed, you should be able to think of at least one reason why you're a better translator than 24 hours before. For example, you...

* Have learned some vocabulary in a new field
* Have found a new customer
* Have learned to use a new translation-related computer program
* Have acquired a new language certificate
* Have polished your CV and made it even more attractive for potential customers
* Have networked with other translators working in your fields or language combinations
* Have attended a webinar on ProZ or some other website, etc.

You can also add your own small improvements. The main idea is not to let one single day go to waste.

[Edited at 2011-04-26 08:13 GMT]


Lucia Leszinsky
ProZ.com tutorials Apr 26, 2011

Hello keesbakhuijzen,

I suggest you take a few minutes and watch the following short videos on getting started in translation and on completing your ProZ.com profile effectively:

"Getting started in translation": http://www.proz.com/videos/translation%20business%20development/692

"Getting the most out of your ProZ.com profile": http://www.proz.com/videos/tutorials%20on%20proz.com/224

"Profile completion 2.0": http://www.proz.com/videos/tutorials%20on%20proz.com/388

"ProZ.com winning strategies": http://www.proz.com/videos/tutorials%20on%20proz.com/607

Other ProZ.com video tutorials are available here: http://www.proz.com/videos/tutorials%20on%20proz.com

Hope this helps!

Please let me know if you have any doubts or if you need further assistance.

Kind regards,



To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Looking for some tips on how to establish myself as a freelance translator

Advanced search

SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search