Freelancing Archive

A few thoughts on test translations

Test translations, whereby a potential client, often a translation company, asks a translator to complete an “audition” translation for free before beginning work with the client, are a frequent subject of controversy in the industry. Translators wonder if they should complete unpaid translations, if they should set a limit on the length of test translations,

Home or away?

In the past few months, I’ve spoken with a few translators who fall into a small but interesting group; people who hate working from home. One, who I’ll be profiling in an upcoming post, switched to an in-house job after a lengthy tenure as a freelancer and says he’s “never going back;” a couple of

Let out the book inside you

I’m starting to work on the second edition of my book How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator, and it makes me realize that more translators really should write books. Really, the market for specialized glossaries, translation technique manuals, translation business practice guides and more is wide open. So, if you have a book inside

Paid by the word or paid by the hour?

At last year’s American Translators Association conference in San Francisco, I overheard a few conversations about how the translation industry would be affected if translators started billing by the hour rather than by the word. In some cases and for some jobs, translators do bill by the hour, but the tried-and-true per-word charge is still

The art of saying no

Recently, several newly established freelance translators have asked me about how and when to say no to clients who are offering translation projects. It’s a delicate topic, since as freelancers we need to accept work in order to stay in business, but we also need to decline work in order to maintain a good quality

Which English?

Rumor, or should we say rumour, has it that many (or at least more than usual) translators on this side of the Atlantic are being approached to translate into what we commonly refer to here as U.K. English. I would guess that this has more to do with the falling U.S. dollar and weakening U.S.

Strategies for sustaining a freelance business

Michelle Vranizan Rafter’s blog has a great post entitled “Freelancers’ Strategies for Prospering in Bad Times.” Although my sense is that most translators are not feeling the hit of the economic downturn, this post has some very useful information for growing your freelance business under any circumstances; even a beginning freelance translator could apply this