Getting your first job experience might be intimidating and scary. You ‘re still going back and forth on whether it’s really something you want to do. If you don’t know where to start, perhaps you could use a few tips.
1) Learn all about the translation profession
Get yourself well acquainted with various translation techniques and methods. Studying translation is not necessary to enter the industry, but knowing at least some of the strategies, may come in handy. Consider using a CAT tool, as they are a real time-saver and can considerably improve the quality of your work. It might be a good idea to talk to someone who is already working as a translator and gain some valuable insight.
2) Gain work experience as quickly as possible
Clients and especially big translation agencies expect you to have some experience in the job. You might not feel too confident sending an application, if you have nothing to show for. Consider taking on a volunteer job, at least for some time. While this means you’d be working for free, it will give you an opportunity to gain valuable experience and find out if this is really what you want to do in life. Alternatively, you could do some translation work for your friends. Perhaps someone you know needs their website translated? Or maybe, if you’re still a student, you could do some work for your university?
3) Let the world find you.
Market your services to as many potential clients you can. Start with friends and family, use the social media channels to inform people about yourself, consider creating a website. Be visible. Look for conferences and events where you can not only learn about the industry and recent developments, but also do some networking.
4) Be professional
Word of the mouth often serves as the best advertisement, and this is especially true about this profession. That’s why you can’t afford to deliver low quality work. Always accept offers that give you enough time to produce good quality translation. That is also why you should try to stay strong on price and not accept jobs that pay to little. If you keep getting low-paying gigs, you would need to take on more work, and eventually the quality of your translation will suffer. Don’t forget about doing a proper research before getting down to work – make sure you know the right context, terminology, etc. – when in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact your clients and ask for consultation. When finished, always remember about proofreading.
5) Consider specialization
Why would you want to limit yourself to a narrow field of knowledge, when you can be a generic translator and market your services to a broad clientele? Simple. By developing a specialization in one (or a few) areas of expertise you can gain an edge over your fellow translators. It is also easier for you to advertise your services to a specific audience, and you are more reliable to your potential clients. You make yourself stand out in the crowd. And once you become a real expert in your niche, you will realize the clients are willing to pay more for translation they can be sure is of the highest quality. The task of taking on a specialization may appear challenging and daunting at first, but it’s an effort that will pay off in the long run.