Translation For Beginners
So, you have begun the process of becoming a freelance translator. That’s great, however it does not mean that the potential for something to go wrong has ended. For many new translators, finding out the ins and outs of doing the translations themselves can prove to be more than a little tricky. There is a lot of terminology, common mistakes, and advice to be understood in order for the translation process to go smoothly.
While this will be a general overview of some ways you can look to improve upon your being a beginner in the field of translation, it does not provide every step of the process of perfecting your craft. If you are looking for a source of information that can help you on a more in depth level, then be sure to check out Translation 101 at Translation101.Net
Avoiding Translation Mistakes For Beginners
The word beginner could most commonly be associated with the term “mistake maker”, and there is nothing wrong with that. Mistakes happen as you are learning stuff, and once you stop making mistakes, you can be a professional translator.
One of the biggest mistakes a translator can make in their first year on the job is taking on work that is wrong for them.
If you are someone who specializes in literary translation, then perhaps you should not look into applying for job posts about a legal translator. We will look into specializations in just a bit, but for now, understand that as a freelancer, you cannot do every type of job out there. Sure money is important, but that does not mean you should kill yourself doing a job that you are not familiar with, just to make a few extra dollars.
Upon taking your first few jobs as a freelance translator, be sure to ask for very specific instructions. This will help you know the kind of specialized work you would be most interested in. It will help you find the kind of work you are willing to put up with, and most importantly, the kind of stuff that you will want to avoid in the future.
As a side note, it is also important to communicate with your clientele the budget and timeline of your work. You are new as a translator, so it may take some extra time to really get some quality work done, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Another big mistake is not keeping track of all of your contacts. Sure, you’re starting out as a translator, and that means you may have a few quick jobs that don’t last longer than a day or so, and you may not feel the need to keep up with these short-term clients once the check has been sent. One of the best decisions you could make however is keeping an organized list of all your former clients.
You never know when one of them may be in the need of long term professional translators. On the other hand, perhaps, once you have gained more experience, you can reach out to them, and they may be interested in looking for a place to put you in their ranks, having known you from previous work.
Do not set your charge out rate too low either, as this will be a clear indication that you do not have much confidence in your work. Having little to no confidence means that employers will not want to pay for your work, at the risk that it could not be well done. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, you can try an introductory offer to get your foot in the door. This may work very well, just be sure to present it confidently.
Don’t Just Stick To The Internet
A lot of the time, people get into freelance work of all kinds just so that they do not have to meet face to face with their clientele. The sad truth however is that all jobs, in one way or another, require some form of human interaction.
Take a stab at applying for some translation jobs in your local area. You will probably have a better chance of finding some work. Even if you do not want to take your chances with looking into local work, finding a local organization involved with translation is a great way to get some person to person advice directly, rather than over a computer screen.
Specialization is (Not Always) The Key
Finding a specialization is a great way to make yourself more than just a beginner in the world of translation. As a specialist, you focus on one of the many fields of translation exclusively for your work. If you have experience or background in a legal setting, then you may want to look into being a legal translator. If you find yourself working best at translating short stories, look into literary translation as your full time position.
Look for a field of translation that has a wide range of work available. While you may be great at translating divorce settlements in particular, you won’t find that many divorce settlement jobs are being sought out. It is actually more professional to say that you do not specialize in certain topics as well. It is impossible to be an expert in everything, and therefore showing off what you cannot do is beneficial as well.
As a beginner, it is okay not to have a specialization. You can’t hide being a novice, and showing the passion to learn as an individual will be very beneficial overall. However, as you gain experience while working, you can choose the specialization you like and pick up projects in that niche only.
So, What Does Translation For Beginners Entail?
Getting faster and more efficient is the name of the game when being a beginner translator. There are a lot of key decisions that will make or break your chances of success in translation, so while it is okay to make certain mistakes, as your first few translation jobs will be more than just simple adjustments, NOT learning from mistakes is just plain bad for your career.
If you are looking for more information on mistakes and how not to make them twice, then be sure to check out Translation101.net.
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