Professional human translation is a competitive sector, with translators often forced to lower their rates or undercut each other in order to be sure of securing a sufficient amount of work.
However, there are certain steps that translators can take in order to maximize their income. Here, we look at how specializing in a certain field can act as an income booster.
Stand out from the crowd
In a crowded marketplace, honing your skills to ensure that you stand out is a good way to attract additional clients and thus boost your income. Whether it’s taxation documents or medical records that you have expertise in translating, make sure your speciality is advertised to the world through your website, business cards and good, old-fashioned word of mouth. Don’t be shy about your specialist skills – make sure you stand out from the crowd and spread the word.
Elevate yourself to the elite
As with many careers, translation can be a numbers game at times, so make sure you play the game to win. Specializing in a certain field will place you in a select group of translators – and as there are fewer people with those skills, those who have taken the time to learn them are in a position to command higher salaries.
Benefit from additional income streams
Specializing in a certain field will position you well to approach specialist translation companies in order to take on more work. Expertise in legal translation, for example, means you can approach specialist legal translation companies for work, thus boosting your income. Add this to your own efforts to attract individual clients through freelance translation and suddenly you have a broader range of income streams, thus reducing your risk should you lose one source of income, at the same time as increasing your available cash.
A word of caution
If you don’t already specialize in a certain field, learning new skills can be a great way to boost your income. However, be sure to do your research first. There is little point in developing an obscure speciality that isn’t in much demand, as there may not be sufficient demand to make the time and effort you invest worthwhile. If you can’t convert your new abilities into cash, they will do little to boost your monthly income!
It’s also a good idea to consider the competition when learning new skills. If you are developing specialist abilities, but in a field where competition is already fierce, you may find yourself facing competitors who have the same skills as you but with more experience, which can make it harder when you’re trying to pick up new clients.
Do you specialize in a particular translation field? If so, why not tell us about how it benefits your career in the comments box.