Don’t even think about becoming a freelance translator unless you have these 4 essential skills
1. Technical skills
Having a professional freelance translator website is an absolute necessity. A great website can simultaneously operate as a marketing tool, a store platform, a display of works and skills, a communication channel and as an engine for branding. Of course, you can hire web developers who will help you launch a website. I would not advise you to do so. I would strongly recommend you to take some web-building courses, purchase a few books or just keep reading blogs on how to launch and keep web-sites. As a freelance translator you have to build your own business and empire and you will have to keep your website daily updated.
Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you: today there is no need to know coding to build fetching web pages from scratch. You can create your own unique web-presence by going for a plain WordPress blog with a ready made theme. All you will have to do is just to look for images from stock resources, edit them with Canva and upload to your website.
2. Marketing skills
When you launched a website, you need to dress it in a smart way. Like with technical skills, you will have to master marketing ones as well. And there is a wide range of options for this: you can either enroll in the courses, purchase books or study online free resources. What should you learn to do?
First of all develop your freelance translator marketing strategy, carry out keyword research, i.e. find the keywords which will bring your prospects to your website. Start blogging on the topics you are an expert and with relevant keywords in translation business. Create social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin). Each has their advantages as well as their drawbacks. No matter which platform you go with, take the time to master them because you will want to be active in order to have any success. If you choose Facebook or LinkedIn, you should consider joining several of the groups they offer. Pick the ones that your client base would likely be involved with and then become active. Ask thoughtful questions, give helpful answers whenever someone needs one. No matter which platform you join, you will be able to post updates anytime you publish a blog post on your website. Be sure to write an enticing blurb, provide a link and a photo. This will get people clicking off the social site and onto your blog where you can get them to subscribe to your newsletter.
3. Time management skills
Time management is one of the necessary significant skills to be possessed by a freelancer translator so as maintain a productive work schedule. Most importantly, this skill is associated with creating estimates of work that you are going to do. As a freelancer translator, you have to impress your clients by providing timely delivery of work. Therefore, you have to estimate how much and what type of task you can perform within a particular time.
It is essential to know how you spend your time. That may seem obvious, but how many times have you sat down at your computer only to get up two hours later without having done what you set out to do? E-mail and web browsing can be real time-sinks. A good way to get a handle on how you spend your time is to install an application tracking program on your computer. These let you know which applications and websites you have open and how much time you have spent on them. This information can be a real eye opener and good time management doesn’t get much easier than that.
4. Customer service skills.
As a freelancer translator, when you bid for a project there are probably at least five, possibly ten other highly skilled translators bidding for the same work. A few years ago your price and your portfolio were the most important factors in winning work, today it isn’t strictly true. Today the price isn’t a large factor in most business decisions. What truly matters is the customer support. Great customer service delivers a great working relationship, and it’s relationships upon which quotes are accepted and invoices are paid. It’s not your translation or localization project, but rather the relationships you build that put money in your bank account.