This article describes possible situations in which a “rookie” translator may find him/herself, and how to best deal with them.
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Most of us have started out as freelancers. As the case may be with most freelancers, when you start off, you want to work on translations right away: any available translations, many translations and all possible translations. So you search through the job postings, maybe even stretch the truth a bit about your fields of expertise and your working fields, and send out your best quotes to all possible clients.
And then you wait.
-Chances are that you will get NO replies.
Don’t be disappointed and most importantly, don’t give up. If translating is what you enjoy doing, then keep at it. Read articles and seek advice from fellow -preferably more experienced- translators, in order to improve your CV, your quote text, possibly modify your prices to match the industry standards and most importantly to regain your confidence.
-In the best case scenario, you will get A COUPLE OF REPLIES with different deadlines.
This way, you can comfortably and happily accept and work on the different projects, with adequate time to do the necessary research and the required final check.
-In the worst case scenario, you will get replies from ALL OF THEM.
You have received, almost simultaneously, replies from several clients, stating that they have chosen you for their translation projects. You must be doing something right! Right? Well…
In the third situation, you have fallen into a trap. You wanted to land a job, but all you’ve managed to achieve is to get yourself into a sticky situation. Too many clients, too little time. Now, you have to make a judgment call: Who do you impress and who do you disappoint?
This is where you have to be careful.
No matter how tempting it may be, do not agree to work on a project just because it pays better than the rest, if you’re not 100% certain that you can do -in the least- a good job. A poor translation may result in negative comments from the client, bad recommendations and spoiling of your reputation as a translator –for which you have worked so hard to build.
Instead, accept the job(s) in which you can excel, where you can show your best translator-self and get a fair price for it. This way, both you and your client will be satisfied with the result, you will be more likely to receive future projects from the same client, and may get recommendations to other clients as well.