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How Can I Get More Work? A common problem for freelance translators...

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

In a world that is becoming more and more globalized with each passing day, communicating between different countries, communities, or languages has become equally important. Considering the huge number of translators out there, getting jobs as a freelancer, although the market is also growing, has become a source of concern for the translators both who have been in the market for a long time and those who have taken their first steps into the business recently.

Especially with the emergence of COVID-19, the gears of the freelancer market has picked up speed and as a lot of businesses were closed, people started looking for new ways of making money while sitting in their homes in their pajamas and enjoying their coffee whether they like it or not. This, unfortunately, created a surplus workforce trying to get a hold of various online jobs, and obviously, one of the favorite lines of work was translation.

Anyone who could speak and write any combination of languages started to look for translation jobs over the internet by using any method they could find and truth be told, for terribly low prices, flooding the market with unqualified, low priced translators and the jobs that were difficult get a hold of became much more difficult to get.

So here, as someone who has been in the industry for more than 10 years, I wanted to give some advice to my colleagues out there who might be struggling to get more decent jobs.

How to find more freelance work online?

  • Social Media (be warned, these places also crawl with scammers)

  • LinkedIn

  • Freelancer Websites

  • Professional Associations

  • Local & International Translation Agencies

Without further ado, let's go into details about these methods on how to get more translation jobs as a freelancer.

Social Media

As most of you are aware and familiar with, the power of social media is on a whole different level. There are hundreds of groups, created by enthusiasts, job seekers, individuals, etc. to create a community that can help each other to find freelance or full-time jobs.

Just log in to your social media accounts and search for translation groups and you'll see that there are hundreds of them. You should consider joining those groups and feel free to start with a simple yet professional-looking introduction of yourself as a translator. And don't forget to follow the notifications of those groups as the bigger the community is, the bigger the competition. Once a job is posted on these groups, people tend to swarm the comments section or the person/agency that posted the job with emails to get the job as soon as possible.

But be warned! Scammers are also quite common on these platforms. You should be very careful about the person or company who posted the job and I always recommend doing a little bit of a background check on them before accepting the job. You should definitely go through other posts. If there have been any previous attempts, the translators who have been the victims would surely have posted about the scam that they have been through. Or you can also search for complaints on other websites as well. If the name of the person or the company has mixed in with any kind of scam claims, you shouldn't have any problems accessing it.

LinkedIn is a famous social and business online platform that enables people from the business world, whether they are seeking jobs or looking for people to work with, exchange information, communicate and follow the latest trends. It has been around since 2003 and it is one of the biggest platforms around the world with 700 million users.

Having an active account on LinkedIn can contribute to the amount of work you receive as a freelance translator. You can create a profile, put down your work experience, references, certifications, and other relevant information that might be of interest to agencies that are recruiting.

One of the advantages of LinkedIn, unlike most of the job-seeking websites, is that you can also keep an eye on the professionals in your expertise, follow their news feeds, and by doing so, you can keep your self up-to-date about what is going on in your field of work and the business world itself.

Whether you already have a LinkedIn profile or want to create one from scratch, I recommend you to check the link below to see some great tips and advice on how to have a great profile on LinkedIn.

Freelancer Websites

The general purpose of these websites is to create a bridge between clients who are looking for someone to get their job done and potential freelancers who would be willing to do it.

Some of these websites are:

The actual number of such websites is actually quite large due to the growth of online business ventures and nowadays you find not only these large and international platforms but also local and smaller in scale in comparison.

You should be aware that determining a rate for yourself on these platforms can be a challenge due to their highly competitive nature. There are thousands of translators with various levels of experience and backgrounds and as everybody is free to determine their rates, sometimes these rates can seem a bit low because of the translators who want to get jobs as much and fast as possible. Depending on your level of experience, you might want to go with the flow and offer the lowest rate possible if you are an inexperienced translator but if you are someone with a lot of experience and have enough credentials to prove your experience, I believe you should never compromise your rates and set a bar reflecting your hard work.

When all is said and done, I highly recommend signing up on these platforms, creating a presentable profile, and taking advantage of all the benefits they provide to the fullest.

Professional Associations

Professional Associations for translators around the world serve several different purposes and taking advantage of them is surely a sound step to further developing your career and getting more jobs as a freelancer.

Although, as I have mentioned before, these associations serve several purposes, what is most relevant for you in finding more jobs is that becoming a member of them will grant you and your work credibility. You can meet a lot of professionals, get in touch with them for any questions you might have or for any help you might need. Appearing in such professional associations translator directory also has a chance of getting you a job. When you become a member, as most associations require passing a test in your respective language to measure your skills, you can use and present it proudly as a testimony to your professionalism.

I would say that the cost of such memberships is worth it considering the effect they would have on your career so visit some of the institutions below or google them yourself to discover what these associations are and how they could benefit you in terms of professionalism and having more work as a freelance translator.

Local & International Translation Agencies

Applying to local and international translation agencies is also a viable method to get more work. Considering they usually have in-house translators, you might not get jobs immediately unless they have an urgent need for your services and you will have to show or prove your skills to them. But once you start working with them, as long as you provide high-quality work and do not miss deadlines.

Working with such agencies also have their benefits. You usually do not have to worry about your payments and if you keep doing a good job, especially local agencies will keep relying on your services and your volume of work will increase in due time.

What you simply need to do is to prepare a good CV, make a simple google research on translation agencies and see if they are recruiting. You should keep in mind that most agencies keep a translators directory even if they do not constantly work with them because in some cases, due to unforeseen reasons, their primary translator might have a problem with the delivery and they might have to turn to someone else and that someone else might be you.

Good Work Starts With Determination

I can totally relate to that getting jobs as a freelancer, especially if you are new in the industry and do not have enough connections, could be a very difficult task to achieve. But what you need to get yourself out of this situation first and foremost is determination. As long as you are committed to your profession and never quit improving yourself and your work quality, you can become that freelance translator who has a sustained workflow and doesn't suffer from a lack of income.

Do not forget, being a go-getter is crucial here. You'll probably have to make hundreds of applications, create countless profiles and god knows how many emails you'll write during this process but in the end, all your hard work will be rewarded at some point.

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