Freelance Translation Jobs Online

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And easy too, right?

I think it’s useful to look at different scenarios, if you plan on making any serious money off of freelance translation jobs online. Like with every other aspect of life, there are certain hard connections between quality, speed and price.

I would like you to consider this one scenario, and then afterwards, I will describe another scenario, and both will fit perfectly in the category called Freelance Translation Jobs Online. The two will put you in very different situations as a freelance translator.

Scenario 1

I mean, why does it have to be so hard? Got PC, will translate.

That’s your starting point, and the companies you want to work with, if you want to do high volume for a translation agency, have jobs on their hands that they want to have translated. And through our dear and wonderful Internet, you are able to connect.

They post a job description of some kind, a price and a deadline. The people in the group of freelance translators you fall into, due to your languages, location and skills, bid on this job, and the agency picks the translator they want.

Hopefully you get the job, translate it and earn the money. Then you’re ready to bid on the next job.

This is one way of doing business in the translation industry, which co-exists with this other scenario. Now consider this:

Scenario 2

You decide that you absolutely love translating, and realize, that you need money in order to pay your bills, while you pursue this great activity. Hey, why not ask people for money for the translations, that you do for them?

So how much money do you actually need, to keep going and translate all you want? Well, only you have a chance of figuring that out, by looking at your expenses.

And who are going to pay for that? Your customers.

Your customers look at your price and decide, if what you offer is valuable enough for them in order to pay that price. If it’s not, you’ll soon find out.

Your potential customers come by your online shop, and in this case, shop around for a translation. Congratulations, you’re an online freelance translator.

Now you can go and help the next customer in the line.

The difference

See the difference here? It’s like opposite ways of thinking, regarding price.

The two scenarios are played out all the time, side by side, in the industry. In my experience it takes two very different mindsets to play the two.

Let’s say you want a translation at the lowest price you can get. Why not post the job, and see who’s more hungry by waiting for the price to drop by way of bidding?

Let’s say you want the best translation, you can get. Why not spend as much time as your customer will allow you, and really shop around at online “translation shops” as much as you can?

This is the tendency I see, that the focus is on price, when you’re in scenario one. Nothing wrong with that, but personally I find it impossible to produce low quality on purpose, because the price has been lowered by someone who doesn’t know what their expenses are, or have an incredible low price, because they translate now and then while they’re still living with their parents.

It simply doesn’t work for me as a professional translator, to approach the market this way. I have to flip it, and start the other way around.

It doesn’t really matter if other translators can translate at 10% of my price, if I can’t even survive if I were to accept this price.

I completely accept the free market and I wouldn’t live without it, but I recommend that you look out for this tendency, regarding the way you approach the market. Does a big agency, who are very often also in a hurry, really know what it costs you to translate?

Do you really tell your hairdresser what she should charge you for a haircut? If she’s been offering haircuts for a living for more than three weeks, I bet she knows what it costs to run a saloon.

And yes, she has plenty of customers, because people know her, likes the way she treats them and does a really good job. And also, because she keeps working as a hairdresser, although annoyed “potential clients” are trying to suggest to her, what she should be charging, in order to be considered for “potential work”.

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