Translators on… Making the transition


Translators on… brings together a collection of industry professionals, each sharing their experience and advice on certain topics of their career, offering a wider, more authoritative range of opinions than a single source. Want to know more about the series? Watch the launch video.

In the last post, we kicked off the Translators on… project by getting to know our contributors’ backgrounds and what they did right before they launched a career in freelance translation. The next step is the big one and about putting our money where our mouth is: the transition from studying or working in another industry to full-time freelancing.

Let’s evoke some nostalgia and reassure readers that the transition may be tough but if you have the skills and the perseverance, the challenges can indeed be overcome. Sometimes it starts by just having to bite the bullet…

1B-1And you might not get much sleep in the first few months…


But you might be in a position to ease into freelancing more slowly and plan the transition more gradually and with more precision…


When you do take the leap, it always helps if you can turn your former employer into a client!


And at the end of the day, the learning never stops. So your first year may not be the most financially rewarding, but it will certainly be the most valuable.


It’s no crime to underestimate the trials faced in the first year of business. You could have a Master’s degree in translation from a top university, have worked in-house for several years, spent every waking hour reading up on freelancing and think you’re ready to face the music. But there will always be a dilemma, a predicament you find yourself in that you could never has possibly contemplated before starting out. You might find yourself at an impasse when negotiating with a client or struggling with your cash flow. The more astute translator will see these kinds of situations as a character-building challenge rather than a problem to vent about. And fortunately, there’s a wealth of support out there, which our contributors will discuss later in the series.

The next Translators on… post will open up about the ‘rates’ issue and examine not just how to set our rates, but whether we should negotiate and how.