by Sep 26, 2019 876 views 20

On Translation: How to work with a freelance translator

On Translation: How to work with a freelance translator

I was born in Russia. How did it happen that almost half of my life I’ve consciously dedicated to learning English, I find rather hard to narrate in few words… But today’s reality is that one of the main things I do for living is working as a freelance translator, using both my passion for English language and my Russian roots to provide the best translations for my clients.

But sometimes, being a translator can be tricky. Mainly, because being a freelance translator means being a negotiator as well. So, before my work as a translator begins, I have to make sure that the ground for the work laying ahead is solid and my collaboration with the client is build right.

As a translator with experience, I’m aware of all the aspects of this work. But, quite often, I meet potential clients who have not had experience of working with freelance translators before, and this is where things can get astray.  

So, I thought, it would be amazing to share my FOUR tips on how to work with a freelance translator, useful for clients and translators as well. This FOUR tips will help to organize a fruitful collaboration between freelance translators and treir clients.

My tip NUMBER 1: Communication.

Despite how simple this might seem, lack of communication can be a real barrier to a productive collaboration. What I mean by that? As a client, especially working with freelance translators, you might have your doubts, your fears and your insecurities whether this particular translator is a right fit for your job.

These feelings are absolutely healthy, but you don’t have to hide them. Tell about your fears, doubts and insecurities as it is. Don’t shy to ask to translate a short sample of your work for free to make sure that the qualification of the translator is enough for the work.

My tip NUMBER 2: Deadlines.

Probably, this is one of the most important things to discuss before getting to work. As a client, you have to set a date by which the work must be completed. Don’t use abstract deadlines like two months, or four weeks. Instead, use dates.

Believe me, no one wants to be confused about this stuff.

And please, don’t expect to get high quality translation of a (60 000 words) text within two weeks. Even the most experienced translators have their human limits. Be realistic about your deadlines. 

My tip NUMBER 3: Price.

There are three main criteria that form the price for a translation. Those are amount of work, deadlines (the more urgent the work is, the higher price will be), and types of translation (medical, technical and legal translations are usually higher in price than general translations like articles, emails, brochures, or even, sometimes, books).

Also, price can depend on how experienced translator is, although, today, you can easily find a freelance translator with a colossal background ready to work for relatively lower price and vice versa.

But even if you have a limited budget, don't hasitate to write to more experienced freelancers. Sometimes, they can do work for lower price if they find it valueable. 

Tip NUMBER 4: Open connection.

Don’t leave without exchanging your contacts. After all the previous aspects are established and everyone is ready for the work, it’s important to exchange your contacts now.

Even though, the work of translator is to translate and the work of client to wait to see the final results, it’s important to stay in touch meanwhile. Communication, at the beginning of the work, is as important as in the process of it. Leave your email address, or skype, or any social media and please, be cooperative to answer as soon as it gets possible.

That's it for today. Hopefully, these FOUR tips will serve a good foot for the productive collaboration between freelance translators and their clients. 

If you want to know more on the services I provide, feel free to click here

And remember,

best collaborations are built on trust. 


Tom Sep 26, 2019

Useful tips. I will use in my work :)


Franka Sep 26, 2019

Thanks :)


Joey Oct 3, 2019

I’m not a freelancer, but I do copywrite for a big company, and whenever I do, I always feel like I’m ghostwriting. Heck, sometimes I am actually ghostwriting  —  the boss wants me to write from his first person point of view.

I have nothing against ghostwriting  —  I actually like it, since it feels like fiction writing and it gives me money doing what I love  —  but it’s never yours. It’s never authentic. It’s kind of like somebody is paying to talk in their voice. It can be fun, but if your job requires you to talk in someone else’s voice 8 hours a day, it’s also exhausting.


Franka Oct 3, 2019

Thank you for sharing your experience here, it truly means a lot to me and my blog)
Being a ghostwriter 8 hours a day for any price can be exhausting, understandably. But it also is a good signal to you. I mean, if they pay you for ghostwriting it means your writing is good. So, you can still have your 8 hours of ghostwriting to support yourself, but you also have at least another hour to start writing for yourself. Start a blog or write a book, a short story anything and put it out there by your own name. Ghostwriting is good, but at the end of the day, it's not fulfilling.
Besides, it's exhausting also because deep inside you know, it's not a full run of your potential. I'm sure you can be an amazing writer, just take a tiny step towards it and you'll see your life changing for the best. After all, you can get money writing by your own name as well, right!
I wish you all the best and hope to see something of yours soon)

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