Platforms to find freelance translation jobs
In the US alone, in 2019, 57 million people are freelancers, compared to 53 million people in 2014 (according to statista.com). The number speaks for itself. More and more people around the world are turning to freelance jobs for income. The industry of translation does not stay out of this trend. For those who just start working as a freelance translator, finding customers is not an easy task.
So we make the lists of some platforms where you can find freelance translation jobs as well as the pros and cons of them.
1. Freelance Translator Platforms
Most freelance translators choose ProZ, Translators Café or Translation Directory for a start. These websites are like job markets for the translation industry. While many translators find success there, others say they are not that lucky.
- With millions of website visits per month, having your profile on websites like ProZ or Translators Café increases your chance of being found. Many customers post their job on these platforms too. So you can actively apply for translation projects you are interested in.
- Some platforms offer valuable terminology forums where you can access and search for terms in many language pairs and expertise. For example, on the Kudoz forum of ProZ, you can easily search for the terminology of all (most) language pairs in a wide range of domains, from Medical and Science to IT and Surveying. You can also browse research by other translators and take in some new interesting knowledge.
- With a huge number of profiles on these platforms, there’s no wonder that the competition is high.
- The rate is also a problem. Many customers offer really low rates, affecting the benefits of freelance translators, especially new ones.
- When you post your profile on these platforms, prepare yourself because you are about to receive many spam emails.
2. Translation Agencies
Another popular way to find freelance translation jobs is to work with translation agencies (or some may call them LSPs). There are thousands of famous and reputable translation agencies (such as Ulatus, Gengo, Smartling, or GTE Localize) that without doubts bring you many job opportunities.
- Translation agencies have a great base of both regular B2B customers and end-clients. That means the number of projects is guaranteed. If your test assignment achieves great scores, then you can be assured that you will have monthly, weekly, or even daily translation jobs to work on.
- Another great thing when you work with translation agencies is that you don’t have to negotiate directly with customers. The sales and PM teams of translation agencies will find customers, deal rates, and work closely with them. You will receive files from the PM team, translate, and send them back the final files. They will deal with the rest. With this option, you only focus on translating without distractions.
- You will need to find an effective way to approach translation agencies, do the test, and wait for them to assign you a project. In short, you are in a passive position.
- Big translation agencies are likely to have a pool of hundred or thousand freelance translators for each language pairs, so it’s quite competitive. If your test assignment does not do well, you will be on the waitlist. The translation projects you are assigned will not be regular and usually on a small volume.
- The rates translation agencies offer you are obviously lower than those you receive when working directly with a customer. The reason is simple, translation agencies need to pay salaries for their employees and other operating costs while remaining a certain level of profit.
3. Build your own website
If bọth types of the above platforms do not work well for you, think about starting your own website. Writing uplifting content that may attract your target clients. Through blogging, you can show your voice, your skills of writing, and of course, your own experience in the translation industry. That’s a great way to build your personal brand.
And it’s even easier nowadays since WordPress offers a variety of free or low priced themes. A little note for you: Pay attention to SEO factors that will bring you more organic traffic, which means more chance of reaching your potential clients and translation jobs.
However, it’s unlikely that you can immediately find new clients or translation jobs. It takes time to build your website, create content, and improve SEO. Thus, in the meantime, you still need to utilize both platforms above to generate income.