If you are a freelance translator, or wish to be, this is your FAQ section. I only covered the questions I see more frequently asked, but if you have other questions, you can contact me.
How do I specialize?
By finding a mentor to guide you, by reading a lot about the subject you wish to specialize in. You can also work in specialized translation companies, where you should receive feedback from your work and get to know the jargons.
How do I get clients?
You can work with direct clients or translation companies. Once you have set your goal, you can look for job posts in translation communities (such as Proz) or Google translation companies and see if they are in need of translators in your language pairs.
What tools do a translator need?
Remember that the computer will be your best friend, it has to be top speed to run the tools you might need. Many translation companies only work with translators who have CAT tools. You can start by using Wordfast (because it is free for a limit of 500 TUs) and checking this post about the translator’s toolkit.
How does the profession work? Can I make a living only translating?
Yes, you can. If you find clients paying the rate you are charging, you will be fine. If you are a freelancer, you will notice ups and downs periods (also known as feast and famine), where you will either have too much work, or no work at all.
How do I start?
There is no formula to enter the translation world. You need courage to make contacts (some useful, some only entertaining) and wit to find resources. You need to study forever, so you better like it!
Do I need a special education to be a translator?
I know many brilliant translators who have BA degrees in TI, Chemistry or Pharma. But they are the exception to the rule. To be a professional, you need to know what is involved in the translation work – practice and theory. So a BA in Languages or Translation is advisable, especially because many agencies require you to have the formal education in Translation.
Where can I find more information?
There are many sources for beginners. If you speak Portuguese, I recommend you follow Lorena’s blog “Ao Principiante“. For English-speaking newbies, I have read a few posts from the blog “KeyCheck Translation“, very useful. There is also my blog, with information about freelancing. For more info, you can contact me or Google it!