I’ll be honest; I love self-evaluation tools. When I presented a seminar on “Beyond the Basics of Freelancing” for the Northern California Translators Association last summer, I decided to create a self-evaluation tool for the attendees and we also used this checklist at a meeting of the Colorado Translators Association. People seemed to find this tool useful and helpful, so I decided to post it here as well; of course some of the associations (ATA, CTA, etc.) don’t apply if you don’t live in the US or Colorado, so feel free to substitute a professional association of your choice. The list includes some best practices and some indicators of freelance success; feel free to contribute your own suggestions too!
_____ I have a marketing plan for my freelance business
_____ I am satisfied with my income as compared with how much I work
_____ My business comes mostly from repeat clients
_____ I have three or more regular clients
_____ I keep my rates by the phone/computer
_____ I always have an updated version of my resume ready to send out
_____ I usually have as much work as I want
_____ I ask my clients for feedback on my translations
_____ I ask to see the edited versions of my translations
_____ I track my income on an ongoing basis
_____ I proofread a hard copy of my translations before submitting them
_____ I have a profile on LinkedIn or a similar website
_____ I regularly update my profiles on the CTA, ATA etc. websites
_____ I participate in online discussion groups such as the CTA listserve, ATA division listserves, ProZ forums, etc.
_____ I write articles for trade publications such as the ATA Chronicle, Multilingual or local newsletters
_____ I have a website and/or a blog
_____ I gather objective data about translation rates by reading the ATA Compensation Survey, talking to colleagues about their rates, etc.
_____ I calculate my hourly rate for different types of translation assignments
_____ I read the local, national and/or international business news
_____ I network and/or market myself in industries related to my specialization(s)
_____ I actively try to improve my target language writing skills
_____ I actively try to improve my knowledge of terminology in my specialization(s)
_____ I do pro bono translations
_____ I offer additional services other than translation, such as editing, proofreading, interpreting, voiceover, transcription, teaching, copywriting, etc.
_____ I ask for my name to be included on my translations whenever possible
_____ When I am too busy to take on a project, I offer the client a referral to another translator
_____ I accept a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, wire transfers, foreign currency checks, etc.
_____ I continue marketing even when I have a lot of work
_____ I regularly keep in touch with clients I haven’t heard from in a while
_____ I send tokens of appreciation (card, gift, etc) to clients and colleagues
_____ I ask clients for testimonials to put on my website, brochure, etc.