How to take your translation skills to the next level

August 14, 2019
How to take your translation skills to the next level

Many freelance translators find that they reach a stage where their career plateaus.

While there are still ups and downs (as with almost all freelance occupations), there comes a point where it seems impossible to take on any additional work – and thus earn any additional income – as there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

However, taking your career to the next level is about far more than the number of hours that you work. If you’re serious about shifting your professional translation career into the next gear, the ideas below should provide plenty of inspiration to help you kick things up a notch.

Offer specialist translation services

There are plenty of ways that you can boost your income by offering sector specialisms and other skills. Medical and legal translation are both highly sought-after services that can command a premium price tag.

You could also offer desktop publishing services or proofreading and editing services, depending on your particular skillset.

Offering a range of translation services will allow you to diversify your client base and should help to push your income up as you move towards providing services that clients are happy to pay more for due to the specialist knowledge that is involved.

The range of salaries reported by Payscale in this article on the average translator salary in the UK in part reflects the difference that such specialisations can make. While the median salary stands at 22,984, the range extends from £17,000 to £39,000.

Work smarter, not harder

If you’ve not already read freelancing classics such as The 4-Hour Work Week and implemented the strategies therein, now is the time.

By reducing the time you spend on a wide range of tasks, you can increase the hours you have available to earn money. It’s a simple formula that can help you to become much more efficient and boost your career up to the next level.

Pick up the podcasts

If you’re too busy to keep up with your reading pile, it could be time to follow a few choice podcasts instead.

Flywheel provides a great round-up of audible advice for freelancers in this article on binge-worthy podcasts.

There are also plenty of translation-related podcasts out there that are well worth a listen.

The beauty of podcasts is that you can listen to them wherever and whenever the mood takes you. You can also multi-task, meaning that you can be enjoying learning about how to enhance your career while you wash the dishes or hit the gym.

Get social

Social media can be another good way to give your career a boost. Making the right connections through professional networks such as LinkedIn can lead to exciting – and higher paying – career opportunities.

There’s also scope for finding plenty of support for both translation work and freelancing if you join the right social media groups.

If you’re in need of inspiration, this article on 9 top Facebook groups for freelancers and entrepreneurs from Make Use Of is a good starting point.

Be a linguistic sponge

Finally, remember to keep absorbing language at every opportunity. Languages aren’t static – they grow and change over time, so keep up to speed with the latest expressions and the newest additions to the dictionary in order to provide the most up-to-date translation service possible.

Whether you boost your language skills through video, social media, literature or any other format, doing so can only serve to enhance the translation service that you provide.

Final thoughts

When you freelance, it’s only you who is responsible for growing your career. You have the power to take it in whichever direction you see fit, so why not use that fact to your advantage and ensure that your translation career is the best that it can possibly be?

We hope the tips above will help you to do just that. If you have any additional advice for your fellow freelancers, please feel free to share it via the comments section.