How to Start a Business as a Translator

DSC01517[1]We live in a world where the furthest place is reachable in a day of nonstop flying. Cultures previously unreachable are now accessible for us to interact with and learn from. For this very reason, it’s the most perfect time to be a translator or interpreter. Cultures want to bridge gaps, not extend them even more. As a translator or interpreter it’s your job to bridge these gaps and bring cultures together.

Here is a list of how to make it as a translator or interpreter.

1. Get to Know Your Clients

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your clients, or at least their work. Word of mouth is huge for freelancers, so getting to know your clients is important, as those professional relationships will inevitably lead to you to more work.

2. Understand the Industry

No one should know your industry better than you because you’re marketing yourself as a professional. You should know the ins and outs of not only the work that you’re producing, but also what others are doing across the industry.

3. Know Your Limits

Not everyone is cut out for every type of translation or interpretation job. Instead of saying yes to every job, you have the luxury to pick and choose the ones that you’re most comfortable and proficient with. If you choose a job in a subject that you don’t like, or simply aren’t proficient in, your client will be able to tell, which may result in the loss of that client, or even lead to fewer clients in the future.

4. Every Word Matters

What does this mean? You should take care in making sure each word has an appropriate place within the translation; don’t pass over any words when translating or interpreting without thinking about why the author used it, or its potential importance in building cohesive context. It’s your job present the client’s information to a new audience in the best way possible, as long as you are still conveying the original intent of the message. If there’s something in the original text that doesn’t make sense, or could be interpreted in more than one way, work with your client to determine the best verbiage for your translation, otherwise you may end up providing a translation that the client can’t use.


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