I want to help freelance translators succeed in doing what they love while they make money in the process, but I often wonder if I’m pushing people away, because I have the word ‘money’ in my domain name. But what is there to be ashamed of?
After all, we’re running a business here, right? I know I am.
I’m not focusing on what you need to do to stay healthy and how to do it, or how to find the love of your life. I want to help you make money doing what you love, which is connecting people by getting their message across a barrier they can’t cross themselves.
Why on earth should that not be compensated? I think it’s a very noble thing that you’re doing, so I’m 100% behind you if you want to prosper doing it.
It’s all about creating win-win situations. You help people by providing them with a translation to get their message and meaning across, and you get compensated with money.
There, I said it again – money. How long do you think you’ll be able to keep translating if you’re not compensated for it?
How many more words do you think you’ll be able to translate if you get paid enough to actually buy all the tools you need for professional translation? I would insist on the win-win deal anytime.
Giving away translations for free does have some benefits, but I think it’s a complete misunderstanding when the receiving part is offering you a ridiculously, completely unsustainable and unprofessional price. Instead of working for next to nothing, I suggest you actually work for nothing – but get your name on the translation.
By making this small change you turn the situation into a win-win deal. You won’t sell anything if people don’t know you, and when you put your name out there people will be able to find you and see what you’re about.
You can’t afford to underestimate the marketing part of your business. Remember, this is a business, right?
Do you know any successful businesses that don’t have a marketing department? When you put a translation out there with your name on it, it works for you as marketing.
ProZ.com has provided an easy way of doing this by giving you an option where you can add samples to your profile. Potential clients can then stop by your profile and take a look at what you have for sale.
The key is to provide free sample translations within the fields that you work in, and not only say that you’re capable, but also show it to them. This is a way to build trust, because no client is going to buy from you if they don’t trust that you’re capable of delivering what you say you will deliver.
When people, or businesses, want to take your translation and strip your name off it, pay you next to nothing and sell it to their clients, I choose to believe, that they don’t actually know what goes into making a great translation, and that it’s not because they’re evil or something. That is why it is wrong to let your clients dictate what the price of your translation is.
On your way to becoming a professional freelance translator you have to become more and more aware of how much it will cost you to make a particular translation, in terms of time. How much time will you have to put in, in order to make this particular translation for this particular client?
Your client has no chance of knowing this accurately, so you have to take responsibility for this. Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of potential clients who have been very bad at estimating the cost for me, which is why I estimate it for myself.
I’m not blaming anyone for trying to run their business, but you’re also in this freelance translation business to make money. There you go: I said it again – money.