Today I want to talk about a subject that we don’t discuss often, but it is crucial in our industry: the top mistakes we make when we start in the business.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there, we’ve all been new and many times lost when we get started.
It’s not easy for a freelance translator to get started. There’s so much competition out there, which makes it difficult to stand out. “How am I different from other English <> Spanish translators?”, that’s the first question I asked myself when I started working as a freelance translator, filling out a significant number of profiles in different translation platforms.
So, here are the Top 3 Mistakes New Freelance Translators Make:
Not pointing out what makes you different
When you are filling out your online profiles or updating your resume, make sure you explain what makes you different, better, or unique than your competition. It could be a specialization that not many others have; it could be your years of experience or some of the clients you’ve worked with before. No matter what it is, showcase it in the best way possible.
Accept meager rates
This is a controversial one because obviously when you are starting, you don’t have a lot of experience and both agencies and direct clients will probably offer you lower rates. It’s ok to start like this, but make sure that as your experience grows, so does your standards; you are entirely entitled to it and sometimes it’s fine to say no. For more on that matter check out my post How to Say No
Accept projects that you can’t handle
As a newbie in the business, the best feeling in the world is when you get your first big project! It is a milestone, but you have to be careful about accepting projects that you might not be able to handle. Sometimes we get a big project and we all think about the big payment it will bring, but we need to be very aware of the deadline and the kind of project it is (does it fall within your expertise?).
You might start working on it and then realize that you won’t be able to meet the deadline because it is more complicated than you anticipated. I believe that honesty is the best policy, so if something like this happens, make sure to communicate with the client and negotiate a new deadline immediately.
As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to tell at a glance whether you can take on a project or not and say to the client from the beginning about it.
I’m sure you think there are other mistakes newbies make, but I think these are the top 3, at least in my experience.
Let me know what other mistakes are critical and let’s start a conversation!
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