A Few Tips to make you Better at Business as a Freelance Translator

It’s true: some translators are great with words, but not much so with business. Succeeding as a freelancer requires being good with languages, business savvy and aware of the right decisions. Below are a few tips to get you to a successful stage in your translation business.


  • If you’re not comfortable with the subject, decline the job. A job declined is better than a job badly done.
  • Never EVER regret it if the client finds your rate too high.
  • When you set a deadline for a job, ALWAYS respect it. If for some reason you can’t do the job yourself, outsource it to a colleague. After all, you had a deal with the client and you might as well keep your side of the bargain.
  • If you are overloaded and cannot accept a job from one of your clients, don’t feel like it’s your duty to give them excuses. Be strong enough to politely state that you cannot handle their job at the time being. However, if you do feel like they might never send you work again, you can still take on the job and outsource it, if you feel like you can trust a colleague of yours and you won’t be given a hard time with the proofreading later.
  • If you have been asked to handle quite a few jobs that you have declined because they are of a subject you are not familiar with it, I suggest you take it upon yourself to do some research and get experienced in this same subject so as to be ready for when future similar jobs are sent your way.
  • The client is not always right, but you have to ALWAYS give them what they want! You can try to explain to them your professional point of view, but if they’re not willing to listen and would rather stick with their own ways, just let it be.
  • NO DISCOUNTS. This is major. We translators sell services. Translation is not a commodity and thus cannot be discounted! If you fear losing clients because of this, try giving them two rates, which is something I always do: one higher rate if they want the translation as soon as possible, and another lower rate if the job can wait for longer.

Do you have any other tips you can share with us? Just leave them in the comments’ section below!

4 thoughts on “A Few Tips to make you Better at Business as a Freelance Translator

  1. Good advice. I have come to the same conclusions after fourteen years. The only suggestion that I would add is that it is worth specialising in certain areas and ensuring that one becomes known as a specialist.

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