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5 Tips for Freelance Translators

How do you become a translator, you ask? Perhaps you are a doctoral student in linguistics and just need some money on the side while you work on your dissertation. Perhaps you grew up in a bilingual household, and you have been translating for as long as you can remember. Perhaps you simply have a knack for languages. Translators come from a variety of backgrounds. Our translators are scattered all over the globe, and each have interesting stories to tell. One thing they all have in common is a high level of quality. Here’s a bit of insight into what we expect in a qualified candidate mixed with a taste of the craziness that we’ve encountered while building our highly qualified team.

From the eyes of a recruiter

Jeff Bridges as The Dude1. Take off that robe!

Although you may love the Dude, unfortunately not all of us can be Jeff Bridges. Working from home as a freelance translator definitely has a lot of benefits, but make sure you don’t take it too far when it comes time to have a video interview with a potential client. Many translation companies are now turning to Skype, Google’s Video chat, HireVue, etc. to conduct their interviews. Make sure you are prepared just as you would be for any other interview.

2. Translators, Hit Spell Check

Even translators need spell checkMake sure you check your grammar in your cover letter and CV. Proper language skills are crucial in the translation industry. If u thnk clients want to hiRe some1 who talk like this…think again.

3. Highlight your relevant experience

karaokeAlthough you may be a really awesome karaoke singer, it might be best to scratch the 6 line section in your CV devoted to your karaoke career. We have all sorts of colorful linguists apply to translate for Rev.com—even a former British Member of Parliament has sent in his CV. One of our current translators has translated the bestselling book, The Other Boleyn Girl into her native language. Another one of our translators is her country’s official translator in their embassy in Dubai. If you write a successful series teaching your native language, such as this one about Korean, let it stand out on your CV. Every recruiter out there is looking for someone with something interesting to add. What have you got?

Translator certification4. Showcase your education and certifications.
While not all of our Rev.com translators hold a PhD in a language or translation related field, many of them do. Still more hold Master’s degrees in translation studies, literature, or linguistics, as well as the dozens that hold bachelor’s degrees or certificates in translation from accredited universities. There are several institutions in the U.S. as well as abroad that offer programs in translation studies. These degrees open up so many possibilities.

Interested in becoming more equipped in your field? Take a look at the top 107 different schools that GradSchools.com lists as offering programs in translation and interpreting.

5. Don’t be a jerk
Seriously though, when you’re warm and nice, aren’t others more open you? Being professional does not mean cold, closed, and that you need a stick up you-know-where. Realize that recruiters have stacks of resumes to dig through, and even if they are not hiring you today, they may be interested in the future, so don’t be pushy. Although you may really, really want the gig, step back and convey your eagerness without being demanding.

I love when people express passion for their career during an interview. While you shouldn’t prepare a thirty minute monologue about how much you love Dryden’s theories on paraphrasing, you should be eager to communicate your enthusiasm for what you do. Do you blog about your opinions on linguistic theories? Tell us. We adore our translators and we enjoy hearing what makes you tick. Interesting in translation for us? Join us as a translator here.