How to Transition from In-House Translator to Freelance Phenom

In-house translators aren’t immune to the effects of  a bad economy.

In fact, I would say that most in-house translators are in a fairly precarious situation when it comes to their employment.

The reason.

A company can easily get rid of an in-house translator and replace him with a freelance translator without losing hardly anything in the process.

And in fact, the company will most likely save money.

So it’s no wonder that you might have a difficult time finding steady employment as an in-house translator, although it can still be done.

Those jobs are just harder to find and harder to keep with the other options that companies have nowadays.

So if you’re an in-house translator who thinks that your job is never going away and that you’re set for life, it’s time that you reevaluate your position and set yourself up for success for whatever might come.

Invest in Yourself While You Have a Cushion

One of the first things you need to do is realize that the only person that cares about you, is you.

It’s a harsh reality.

But it’s true.

Your boss might care about you, and granted, she probably does to some degree.

But caring about you and making sure the company makes money are two very different things.

Don’t confuse the two.

If it comes down to saving the business (making money), or saving your job, you don’t stand a chance.

So you need to start investing in yourself.


While you still have that job.

Because now you have some breathing room.

Without that, making the transition to a freelance translator will be much more difficult.

So, while you’re still employed, start planning out your freelance career.

Do it at work on your down time.

Do it at home before the kids wake up.

Or before you go to bed at night.

But the trick is to do it.

Figure out how you can position yourself as a freelance translator.

What are your areas of specialization?

Do you need to brush up on those areas?

Does your resume need updating?

Does your company offer any opportunities for you to take classes to improve yourself?

For example, I know one company that encouraged it’s employees to attend a weekly Toastmaster’s meeting.

I only know of one guy that took advantage of that company perk.

Guess who improved their speaking ability, confidence, and conversational skills?

Just him.

That weekly class would have been invaluable for the majority of people working at that company.

Instead, they ignored the opportunity.

It’s all about investing in yourself.

If you don’t invest in yourself, nobody will.

And without a steady investment, you won’t grow.

And it’s much easier to do while you have a steady income coming in.

Start Looking for Clients Now

Maybe you work a lot.

And you don’t have time to do anything extra before or after work.

But if you want to successfully make the transition, and make it as painless as possible, now’s the time to start looking for clients.

And finding clients is the hardest thing for most freelancers.

So start now.

Start sending out your resume to translation agencies.

And not just one or two here are there.

Send it out to every translation agency on the planet.

Get your name out there to as many people as you can.

It’s easier to do this now than it has ever been before.

Most translation agencies have their own website which allows you to submit online.

You don’t have to snail mail anything.

How much easier could it be?

Set aside an hour a day or contact a certain number of agencies a day.

Like 10. Or 20. Or 50.

You have to find that one agency that needs you.

And it takes work.

Don’t wait until you’ve been fired.

Start now.

In addition to sending your resume out to translation agencies, start networking with people that you know.

Maybe current clients of the company you’re with now.

Let them know that you’re starting your own translation business.

Let them know you’re available to translate.

If there’s a conflict of interest, wait until you get fired, and then tell them.

Just make sure you have their contact information so that you can reach out to them.

Build a Website Now

If you want to reach out to as many people as possible, you need to build a website.

That is an easy way for clients and potential clients to reach you.

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

This one isn’t.

But a decent number of people still visit it every single day.

And some of those people are looking for a translator.

And then they find me.

If you’re out of a job, you want to be hustling to find paying clients.

Not be worrying about spending all your time building a website.

That’s why you should start now.

It’s super easy to do and does not cost as much as you might think.

I used WordPress to host my site and have the domain registered through bluehost, a super easy company to work with.

For $6 bucks a month, you can have your own website.

That’s less than $100 a year, which can easily be paid for with one translation job.

It’s well worth it.

But start it now while you don’t have to worry about finding new clients or making money right away.

So, here are the key takeaways.

Start investing in yourself now

Start looking for clients now.

Build a website now.

Do these things before you lose your job, you’ll be in a much better position should that happen.

You’ll have already done the preliminary work that most freelance translators have to do while also trying to make money to feed themselves.

Take advantage of the time and freedom you have now and you’ll be much off.

And who knows, even if the company you work for never goes under, or if you never get laid off, you’ll still be in a position to take advantage of doing freelance work on the side.

And that could transition to something even bigger.

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