10 Master Keys to Become the Demanded Freelance Translator

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A little experience will teach you that success in the freelance translation business is not dependent on how many qualifications you have, such as how many words you know in a foreign language, or how many other languages you know. In fact, those who go into this line of business professionally learn that merely replacing words with a matching synonym is not what translation is all about.

 Today, there is a much sort after lineup of skill-sets that top clients expect you to be fluid with as a professional translator. Some of these skills include the ability to understand the broader context, your capacity for long term study, cultural aptitude, and dedication amongst several others.

For top earners in this profession, skill-sets like these engineered the influx of clients globally. These Master-Keys can do the same for you and expose you to a world of opportunities in this industry.

1.      Understand The Wider Context - as a professional translator, one crucial skill you're going to have to gain mastery of is understanding the wider context. Texts may not always mean what you see; the Arthur or speaker might have some other inferred meaning which they were trying to convey. In an attempt to translate such a statement into your target language, you should be able to connect the speaker and your target audience in a way that conveys the intended message of the speaker.

2.      Study and dedication – this line of business, like any other professional vocation, is continuously evolving; as such, if you're going to make it to the top and maintain that position, you have to be ready to dedicate yourself to a life of continuous and relentless study and research. This helps in trying to enhance cultural intelligence in the languages of your interest, which produces high-quality translations.

3.      Cultural Empathy – as a professional translator, you will need to get acquainted and stay updated with at least two cultures from the country(s) of your interest language(s). Usually, a country has more than one ethnicity; therefore, there are bound to be different societies and cultures; for example, having an in-depth understanding of their politics, conflicts, and the synergy between the people and so on. This allows you to give better, more detailed and grounded reports in your translations.  

4.      Paying Attention – this involves listening, reading in-between the lines, and ultimately paying attention to detail. Among the many invaluable skills a professional translator should possess, this one trio is undoubtedly essential. A good mastery of this skill will not only help you in your profession as a translator but also in your working and personal life.


5.      Writing – while many people will argue that being a good writer is a talent and not a skill, this is not entirely true; writing, just like any other professional skill, can be learned and developed. Even if your writing prowess is a talent, you still need to practice and perfect your use of grammar and syntax. You should be equipped with the use of professional tools like The Word Point to help you write and translate more accurately and effectively. Also, seek out top-class tutors, attend writing classes, read technical books about writing, take online courses, and ensure that you keep up with new changes in the vocabulary of all the languages you're working with so that you can stay up-to-date changes. – Also, reading is a sine qua non for better writing. Naturally, the more you read, the more your speech, vocabulary, and use of syntax when translating improves. Your ability to meticulously employ these variables as a professional is vital in producing high-quality translations.

6.      Cultural Intelligence and Fluency – one of the challenges that plague this profession, are situations where you have to deal with cultural barriers between two different languages. In order to give meaningful and accurate translations in any scenario, you will need to be able to empathize with the audience that would be reading your translated work. As a translator, you will need to improve your cultural intelligence and fluency, especially in the languages you're working with. This will help you to easily relate to, understand, and effortlessly translate speech and writing from people of different backgrounds by strategically accessing a speaker's motive for behaving or sounding a certain way.

7.      Observation Skills – this is another skill you won't find in dictionaries. You'll need to learn to look out for Jargon, conversational phrases, special constructions, and other such shadowy inputs. To flourish at this skill, try to become a word collector in every language of your interest; gather technical terms, patterns, new concepts, and anything else that might help you comprehend how the natives there think and communicate. Social media is a good source for this. Also, you can use email marketing tools to get more information about the interesting events, company or website. Other means to achieve this include: traveling, reading books, blogs, and newspapers, watching television shows and movies, joining an intercultural club where people from various countries meet up, etc.

8.      Acquire Specialist Skills – basically, as a translator, you should also consider getting specialization in one field, say, law, biotech, medicine, IT, etc. This is a smart move that can increase your value and win you more jobs. Also, it will help you in translating legal documents, technical texts, scientific reports, etc.

9.      Acquire More Computer Skills – most clients today would ask that you translate for them directly on their websites, in-house, or company based applications. As such, you have to improve your computer prowess constantly. You can use tools to improve your translation memories, reinforce your glossaries, explore more languages, and so on.

10. Improve Time Management Skills – as a freelancer, working from home can be tricky; you will need to schedule and manage your time more effectively. Time is money; you must learn to maximize it. Keep a consistent working schedule, and try to push yourself to achieve more inside it.



Freelance translating is an in-demand skill that has several rewarding benefits. As an optimistic successful aspirant, you must enjoy learning and strive to learn new ideas constantly. Apply concepts elaborately discussed here in order to maximize your full potential, get hired and reap the best rewards from the best top paying clients around the world today.

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