Working as a freelance translator

Freelance translator

Freelance translator

(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Undergoing Trial test and setting rates


Working as a freelance translator, in this post we tell you the benefits and how it works.  Every agency is based on in-house and freelance translators. Freelance translators are usually preferred because they generally belong to the native country having command over their mother tongue. This makes them very much suitable for the specified translation purposes. Now when they apply to an agency, they are asked to undergo a trial test. The test is made keeping in mind the translator’s background knowledge, skills and the language of course. Their performance is then judged on the quality and base knowledge of the translation undertaken.


On the next step, the Translators are required to rate their translation which should be in correlation with the quality and accuracy of the very same. There shouldn’t be a wide gap between the two; rather, the translator should be able to judge himself objectively. Rates which are closer to the quality of his work can help him land a job easily and he might as well be getting more assignments in future on that basis. The candidate can also ask about the standard rates of the translation agency, which can help him in getting a fair idea about the rates. For taking down a rough idea the translator can even ask about other translator’s trial test and the consequent rates set about. Cutting short, if the rates match the quality of the translation, then the agency will hire you and, inform you as soon as any suitable assignment comes by.

Level up your translation speed


Undertaking translation is not an easy job. It can be really difficult to tackle and time taking especially in the initial stages of one’s career. However, with time, the translator gets hold of the thing and his speed and accuracy keep escalating with every translation that he undertakes. It is assured that you can start gaining momentum after 10th assignment with the documents of same field and type. For example, in case of technical translation, you will feel a marked difference in your approach towards translation in this particular field after your 10th translation. The basic terminologies used in a specific field are standardized. You just have to give extra attention to phrases, related words, and expressions. You will feel the improvement yourself and gain more confidence with time.


Before taking on a project while you’re working as a freelance translator, always make sure to read the content and guidelines thoroughly. If you feel that you cannot do justice to the fullest of your capacity with the content and find it somewhat unfamiliar then try not accepting it, as the poorly done translation may land you in trouble and raise trust issues for later times. Apart from that do a rough estimation of completion time on your behalf. Add additional time for unexpected situations that might arise like internet disconnection, unsaved file, computer virus infection etc. To avoid such add additional 4-5 hours to the estimated time of 10 hours suppose. This will save you from a lot of trouble and buy you extra time in the time of crisis. There might come up a task that you’d be requested to do on urgent basis. A short time frame would be given to you and you would be expected to beat it no matter what. At first, when you’re working as a freelance translator, you should negotiate a favorable time with the translation agency but in case if it’s not possible because of the client’s demand then you should ask yourself if you’d be able to do it in time or not. Do not risk attempting the job if the answer is no. Otherwise, you can put the agency in a tight spot and make their credibility questionable in the long run.


Format of final document


When you’re working as a freelance translator, you should confirm beforehand about the format of the translated document from the agency. The client might have certain preferences. You should also verify if the translated document needs to have both source language and target language or only the translated version.

Merging with other translator’s work


Sometimes agencies request you to translate just a part of the document that may have previously been translated by some other translator. It is usually difficult to take on such a job because it’s not easy to cope up with the style of the previous translator. Nonetheless, if you think you can blend in with the already developed style easily then take it up otherwise politely refuse so.

Perform Quality Control (QC)


Translators should make revision their second nature. Rechecking 3-4 times before submission ensures a smooth, flawless translation. Skipping this important step can lead to such blunders as typos, incorrect numbers, missing sentences, wrong choice of words and wrong symbols etc. even minutest of error can have a very bad impression. So if you’re working as a freelance translator, always recheck the document and run spell checkers for an accurate final copy. Take each and every task seriously no matter how big or small. Putting a little extra effort can result in building a better relationship with the agency hence increased the supply of jobs.



The payment for people who is working as a freelance translator is different depend on the agency that they are working for. Every agency follows its own usual practice for payment; you just have to ask for the details beforehand about their payout dates and the time of processing and stuff. For the very first translation job request the agency to pay you within a week, this will give you a surety about the agency’s authenticity and familiarize you with the payment practice they follow. For the following tasks, you can go along with their usual practice of payment. Try to remind the translation agency about the payments if it gets late on their part, delayed payments can get messy. Keeping a track record makes the things easy and transparent.


It is important that you keep updating the invoice on your part along with keeping a check with the agency because the figures at times might not match between yours and agency’s invoice list. This can happen due to a number of reasons like that of currency exchange, bank remittance charges or the agency might have forgotten to include certain payment. So it is advisable to keep a check yourself.

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