4 Things I’ve Learned Working as TheWordPoint Translator

For several years, I worked as a freelance translator, as an entrepreneur actually, trying to market to clients and run a business at the same time. It didn’t really go that well, although I managed to eat.

Post preview 4 things i ve learned working as thewordpoint translator

For several years, I worked as a freelance translator, as an entrepreneur actually, trying to market to clients and run a business at the same time. It didn’t really go that well, although I managed to eat.

A Friend Steps In

I ran into an old college friend. Both of us were foreign language majors, and both of us wanted to be translators. We drifted apart after graduation, and I never knew what he ended up doing. Over drinks, he told me about his work with an online translation service, The Word Point. He also suggested that, since I had some solid certifications and a pretty good portfolio that I might want to look into it. Two months later, I was working for The Word Point, and it was the best career choice I made.

In my three short years at The Word Point, these are the things I have learned:

  1. It Still is Freelance Work
    The great thing about working for this service is that I am still in control of my schedule, time, and projects. Unlike other website translation services that I had considered in the past, I am in charge of myself.  Can take as little or as much work as there is available.
  2. Website Translation Services Are Not All Equal
    One of the reasons that I chose not to work for some of the other services is, of course, the rather low pay, but I take pride in my work, and many of them did not. There are a lot of cheap translation services out there, but their work is shoddy. The company someone selects to do translation work really does matter.
  3. A Second Pair of Eyes is Important
    As a solo freelancer, I completed translation, collected my fess and was on to the next project. But, we are all human and we do make mistakes. It’s really important to have another translator review what you have translated – there can be some errors that could change the meaning of even just a phrase, and even just a phrase could change the larger meaning of a piece.
  4. Translators Must Specialize
    In my early days as a freelancer, I just assumed that being bilingual and having formal college training and a certification qualified me to translate anything. And the jobs I got were for all different types of work – personal stuff, legal documents, literature, and even scientific/technical stuff. I was a pretty fast translator until I got into the legal and technical work, and then I had to spend lots of time researching terms and how they would best translate. This slowed me down a lot, and I always had the fear that some of the words and phrases were not exactly right.

When I landed at TWP, I had to pick a “specialty,” based upon my interests and how I tested for them. It was actually a big relief to be able to get as much work as I wanted in my best areas of knowledge. And, if I want to pick up additional areas, there is training available.

The point is this: to be really good, you have to develop a couple of specialty areas and focus on those. Then, you know you are producing top quality translations and producing them quickly. Meeting deadlines is critical.

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