Getting freelance/agency translation work with no professional experience
Thread poster: jesssoram

jesssoram
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 27

I have a degree in BA Translation (Spanish and French) and have lots of academic experience of translating between Spanish-English, however how do I go about getting work as a freelancer (or even for an agency) as somebody with a translation degree but no professional experience? I have not done any paid translations, only the translations that I did at university but I'd like to start working as a freelance or agency translator from home but struggling with what to do as everybody asks for expe... See more
I have a degree in BA Translation (Spanish and French) and have lots of academic experience of translating between Spanish-English, however how do I go about getting work as a freelancer (or even for an agency) as somebody with a translation degree but no professional experience? I have not done any paid translations, only the translations that I did at university but I'd like to start working as a freelance or agency translator from home but struggling with what to do as everybody asks for experience.Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's always going to be hard to get established -- it always has been Oct 27

jesssoram wrote:
everyone asks for experience.

Who is "everyone"? Please share what you've done to try to get work.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Jess Oct 27

jesssoram wrote:
How do I get work as a freelancer as somebody with a translation degree but no professional experience?


First, fill out your entire profile at ProZ.com so that you create a good impression.

Then, go to each company listed on the Blue Board and contact or register at the ones that you believe may offer work in your language combination. About 10% of those that you contact, will respond, and about 10% of those that respond will give you work.


Mark Harris
Omer Dasbilek
Jorge Payan
 

Mark Harris
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (Jul 2019)
French to English
+ ...
Exactly what I did Oct 28

Samuel Murray wrote:

jesssoram wrote:
How do I get work as a freelancer as somebody with a translation degree but no professional experience?


First, fill out your entire profile at ProZ.com so that you create a good impression.

Then, go to each company listed on the Blue Board and contact or register at the ones that you believe may offer work in your language combination. About 10% of those that you contact, will respond, and about 10% of those that respond will give you work.




During my degree I was fortunate enough to have done an internship with a translation agency in Barcelona who then went on to send me paid work from time to time, so this allowed me to get my foot in the door in terms of experience. Once I decided to attempt a full-time career in translation I worked on my profile on here, put together a decent CV and started contacting all the translation agencies on the Blue Board, as Samuel has suggested. As with cold calling, you will only receive a response from a few agencies, and while some of these will "add you to their database", you will often never hear from them again. However, after contacting perhaps 30 different agencies so far, I am now working fairly regularly with 4 different agencies.

Good luck!


Rachel Waddington
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Business goals and objectives to bring more customers bringing more money Oct 28

I think it's a pity so many promising linguists seem not to realize that translation is just one of the means of communication and secondary to the specialty, let alone the business skills:
Planning, profits-incomes-gains-earnings, hard numbers, nets, costs-expenses, decisions, profitability, customers, efficiency, growth, taxes, risk management and assessment, and other unnecessary abracadabra.

Unlike spongers, real end clients just want their job done (1) properly, (
... See more
I think it's a pity so many promising linguists seem not to realize that translation is just one of the means of communication and secondary to the specialty, let alone the business skills:
Planning, profits-incomes-gains-earnings, hard numbers, nets, costs-expenses, decisions, profitability, customers, efficiency, growth, taxes, risk management and assessment, and other unnecessary abracadabra.

Unlike spongers, real end clients just want their job done (1) properly, (2) timely, and (3) as agreed; how could you prove it?


 Why, the "freelancer" entry barrier is very very low, thus there're namely zillions of "pure" translators who neither know nor care about some 'business' or 'specialty', chasing "easy money" hypes and considering $0.01/word minus "discounts" after 45+ days as a godsend.

 There're decent specialists too--lawyers, doctors, engineers, programmers, and so on--who mostly* can nicely do without much business awareness or foreign language skills.

 Also I know rather many no-specialists without higher or related education and no translation skills who successfully run their* one-man or big businesses, legally making a top dollar.

What really makes the difference?
How come middlemen and hunters are allegedly ok to charge their clients $0.35-$0.50+/word in advance whereas freelance translators should be very happy with $0.03/word minus "discounts" after a couple of months, if ever?

If you can answer this riddle on your terms, then you surely can run your own biz
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