Translator is a person who translates written messages from one language to another or someone who mediates between speakers of different languages. While considering a career as a translator, there is a lot to look forward to. Translators are employed in every conceivable different field including business sector, banking, museums; health care, high tech etc. translators are well paid for their jobs. Most translators even if they work 40 hours a week or more can have freedom in their working hours and can tailor their work day around their families and hence time for hobbies , other small scale jobs or hobbies
To become a successful translator you need to have multi linguistic abilities. A natural ability in the selected language is a must. Classroom study doesn't produce excellent translators but it is important to have a through knowledge about the different languages you are planning to handle. Translators like other skills like excellent writing skills in their target language, in depth knowledge in one or more areas of specialization and business management skills. Their desired qualities are business management skills such as the ability to find and retain clients, work on tight deadlines with little supervision or management, handle increases and decreases in work-flow and cash flow and perform tasks such as book keeping, tax planning and computer upkeeps and maintenance. They must develop the skill to dissect language for the purpose of extracting meaning and representing that meaning into another language. Deep interest and dedication to the language they work with will enable the translator to enjoy their work in hand.
Translators can work either for translation agencies or direct clients. Translation agency is not an employment agency, and there is no fee involved for a translator to register with an agency. However an agency cannot guarantee a steady flow of work to anyone translator and will normally pay the translator a good deal less than the pre word rate that the agency is charging the client. So in it may be considered only a supplementary source for finding work. Most translators work for both agencies and private clients.
If you have excellent skills in at least two languages then the next most important step is to have an excellent resume highlighting specific skills. Offer services that other translators are not giving or are failing to do. Most experienced translators with a full house of regular clients don't have a financial need to work nights, weekends, rush jobs, etc. Make it clear to prospective clients that you can fill in a short notice and provide quality work. Be realistic. To work full-time or close to it as a translator, you need a size-able list of regular clients. So never quit marketing. Once you have steady work, it's tempting to think that agencies will keep contacting you, freeing you from the hassle of contacting new prospective clients and touching base with previous contacts. However, this is a bad assumption. Work flows go up and down, agencies go out of business, new people come in , the project manager who loves you quits and is replaced by someone who brings in his/her own person, etc .Always keep in touch with the local market. Ask for advice whenever necessary on any point. As you apply to agencies, keep a file of the person you talked to or e-mailed with, and what his or her response was to your inquiry. As you get more experience, periodically contact these people again to let them know a) you're still there and b) you have some new projects to tell them about..
While translation is definitely well-paying as compared with other careers that allow you to work from home in your pajamas on projects that are often very interesting, remember that 25-40% of your income as a freelancer will go to things that your employer normally pays for when you have a full time job. Most people count in the biggies- taxes, health insurance, retirement plan contributions and vacation/personal/sick time, but over the years other expenses like dictionaries, office equipment, continuing education and professional travel add up too.
Show an interest in the profession. Browse translation-related websites, magazines and newsletters out there. Always expand your knowledge .Contributing to magazines and newsletters allows you to both educate yourself and present yourself as someone who's really passionate about the industry, not just someone who likes to work in your pajamas
Never take on work that you can't handle to take on something that's too technical, too long, or too complex and ruining it will earn you a bad reputation. Clients will appreciate your honesty and use you for projects that you can handle. Sometimes this involves protecting clients from hiring you for work that they think that you can do, such as translating into your second language. Politely explain that this work is best handled by a native speaker of that language and offer a referral.
Finish every project on time and on budget, and never miss a deadline without notifying a client as soon as you realize that despite your good planning, the project won't be done on time. Respect your client's time. Return all phone calls and e-mails as soon as you can, always within one business day. When you're not available, help solve the client's problem by referring them to a colleague. Always leave a contact number when out of city or on holidays. In all of your dealings with your clients, remain professional. When you encounter a problem, it hurts to have your skills or qualifications questioned, but remember that the client is already in high-anxiety mode if they're not happy with your work, and you need to remain calm rather than making the client more upset. Keeping a good relationship with the client and doing outstanding work proves to them that often, you get the level of service you pay for
There are several ways for finding translation jobs.
1. You can apply to translation agencies. To apply to an agency, send a resume and/or brochure on your services. If you're asked to join, you'll probably need to do a trial translation and some basic paperwork.
2. Join online translator directories. At these databases, you can post a profile stating the type of translations you do your qualifications and experience and set your own rate. Some translator directories also have a section where clients can post translating jobs and a forum for networking and help with work. Most of these directories offer free basic membership and don't take finders fees.
3. Browse online freelance job boards. There are a number of general freelance job site that also include freelance translation jobs. At many of these sites, clients post job descriptions and take bids from translators. At others, clients post contact information along with the job description so translators can contact them with more detailed replies.
4. Network with other translators. Build good connections with other people who translate your language pairs. You can not only share job search tips, but also take each other's overflow work. Don't forget about freelance workers and businesses in complimentary industries, either.
5. Get in touch with your target market. Translation often requires a fair amount of client education, so try to meet potential clients in person by providing useful talks and workshops.
Freelance translation is an enjoyable thoroughly fulfilling job which provides you with flexible working hours and a good source of income. Like any other job translation also requires skill, knowledge and dedication, keeping up with marketing standards and providing satisfactory services can help you to become a successful translator