Advice for translators

If you have little or no previous experience of providing translations services and need some advice, here are a few tips to help you to produce good quality work.

  • Set yourself realistic deadlines for completing work. A competent translator will produce 2,000-3,000 words per day.
  • Once you’ve agreed a deadline, abide by it, otherwise you might gain a reputation for unreliability.
  • Ensure you have a contact at the client’s who you can telephone or email with any queries.
  • Agree the format for the return of the work (e.g. PDF, MS Word, etc.) when you accept the job.
  • Always submit your invoice when you return the completed work.
  • Always read through your completed translation before returning the work; you may spot things spellcheckers can miss!
  • An ability to work Google Translate doesn’t make you a competent, professional translator! Avoid it at all costs. There are far better online resources you can use.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn away work if you don’t feel confident enough to do an acceptable job. Honesty, integrity and a good reputation are worth more than money.
  • When submitting your CV (resumé for Americans) to prospective employers, make sure it’s properly spelled and punctuated. When I used to advertise, I used to get a flood of CVs every summer after university final examinations; CVs with spelling and grammatical errors went straight in the bin!

If you can think of any more useful bits of advice, please add them in the comments below.

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