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Any freelance translators/editors out there?

(7 Posts)
smallpotato Wed 18-May-11 15:21:49

If so, any tips on starting out?

I did a masters in translation, worked as an in-house translator for a couple of years for a financial news provider, then spent two years as an editor for a multilingual company. We moved 18 months ago when I was pregnant with DC2 and the plan was for me to do freelance. TBH I didn't look very hard for freelance work as I was getting maternity pay anyway, and so far all I have done is the odd bit of freelance proofreading for my previous employer.

Now the maternity pay has run out and I need to work! How the hell do I set myself up as a freelance translator with no contacts?? Do I need Trados? I have never used it professionally, just had a demo of how to use it back at uni so I am pretty clueless with it really.

Any advice welcome. Should I just give in and re-train as a teacher?? (my plan B grin)

bottersnike Wed 18-May-11 19:01:20

I'm not sure whether I have the answers, smallpotato, but I am looking at the very same thing at the moment.
From what I have seen so far, you don't necessarily need Trados, but it might help when applying for some contracts. You can look on places like for an idea of the kind of requirements for freelance work.
What languages do you offer?

smallpotato Thu 19-May-11 11:24:27

thanks for the reply, bottersnike. I do Spanish and French into English. I have had a quick look on - just need to find the time and energy to register and start bidding/looking for jobs!

ThisIsANiceCage Thu 19-May-11 12:02:55

I've commissioned freelance translators, smallpotato, altho way back before the internet was much use. I think I got most people through associations of translators - each language had its own association.

The associations also seemed jolly good for general support among the translators, eg terms & conditions, for translation Qs ("What's the best translation for X"), and for passing work round when people couldn't take on any more.

LinzerTorte Sat 21-May-11 20:53:22

Have only just seen this - my background is similar, as I did a masters in translation and worked for a couple of years in-house before going freelance. I sent my CV out to lots of translation agencies and gradually started getting work that way, although it took quite a few months before I had a regular supply of work.

Are you a member of the ITI? They have some useful information on starting out here.

I don't have Trados and have had to turn down a few jobs because I don't have translation memory software, but I wouldn't say it's essential - I've managed OK without it.

Just ask if you have any more questions. smile

spooktrain Mon 23-May-11 13:44:01

I started out 10 years ago with agencies local to me, I don't know if that is feasible for you? That way I went in and met them etc.

Someone mentioned proz, I think translatorscafe is another one friends have found work though.
I think proz also has a section on advice for newbies (and great forums for linguistic/admin questions)

All of my current clients have come through word of mouth, or seeing my work at exhibitions - I have gradually become specialised in the art field.

Another thing that got me a few clients was finding really badly translated things and getting in touch to offer my services.

I also belong to a Yahoo group for translators of my language pair which occasionally has a post with someone offering work.

I have never (and I'm pretty sure, will never) use Trados etc., no-one has ever asked for it and I CBA/wouldn't know where to start...

I have seen it requested by some online agencies though.

Good luck with starting out smile

Comma2 Fri 10-Jun-11 18:01:26

I landed a fantastic- though temporary- freelance editing job that was advertised on Craigslist. Definitely worth a look.

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