October 08, 2011

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay

This is a great book for beginning translators or just as an overview of the profession. Back when I could remember the languages I actually learned (before losing them due to not using them) I had thought about becoming a translator. This book made me realize I still wasn't ready at that point, but it still remains a great book for those who may be at a sufficient proficiency level for translation/interpretation work.

The beginning of the book has an introduction that explains why one would want to work as a free-lance translator. She outlines how to be your own boss and work from home, and what the average salary might be for a free-lancer.

Chapter one is an overview of the business of freelancing itself. Such topics as translator vs. interpreter, the different types of work environments, and the different tasks that a translator might come across are listed in this area. As well, she lists out the links and information for obtaining certification and joining professional associations related to the business.

Chapter two covers how to start the business and get a client base. Most importantly, she goes over how to detail your resume for a specific position, and how to make it more relatable for the country you are sending it to (resumes are different in different areas of the world). She also tells a little bit about the other skill sets necessary to run your own business aside from just knowing how to translate.

Home Office Setup is gone over in the third chapter and while this seems like a useless chapter for those used to working in an office, it does have some important information in it. Most specifically, she includes sections on Translation Memory Software, non-western character sets, speech recognition software, and system programs; she also includes where to get these programs and even lists some links to some free software.

Chapter four goes over how to set up your rates, what contracts you should enter into, and the terms of service you should set up if working directly with clients. If you don't read any other chapter read this one! It lists some very important ways to protect yourself legally and provide protection from liability.

The last chapter covers business growth. This includes tax planning, how to raise rates with existing clients, and ways to please your client and establish a good business relationship.

The fun doesn't end there though. There are a ton of resources in the back with links, agencies, and a lot of other useful information for those in translation. While this isn't the most in-depth book, and there is a lot of common sense information, it is entirely appropriate for those getting an idea about the business or those interested in how it works. And if it turns out that this job isn't for you, the book gives you some great resources for language users in general for outside of translation work.

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator
Copyright 2006
141 pages including resources, glossary, etc.

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