Are you feeling stuck in that weird transition phase between the university and the corporate world? Then freelance is your way to go, even if you don’t plan on being a freelancer for the rest of your career.
I know what you’re going to say: Ok, but how do I find clients? Am I ready to work under my name? And most importantly, how do I set my rates?
How do I know? Been there, done that. And how I wish I had known earlier what I’m about to tell you! You’ll find countless articles about freelance on the Web, but no one lets you in on the real stuff. So, dear (soon-to-be) fresh graduates, here are the answers you’ve been looking for:
1- Engage in professional groups and never stop learning
Getting involved in new groups of professionals (on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example) working in the same field as you will always help you make new connections.
You can access continuous professional training through these groups or other institutions (like your university), which helps you meet new people. In fact, I met most of the people I’ve worked with this way and then met some others through them. Furthermore, it is a great way for you to discover what you are most passionate about and specialize in that area.
2- You don’t have to work immediately under your name
There is a huge difference in translation between your university classes and the actual market, so what you really need as a beginner is a lot of practice.
I advise you to reach out to professional freelance translators and offer them your help for free as a first experience in exchange for some feedback.
Then, try to work in subtitling and transcription with one of those companies you always see job offerings from in every language there is. These usually work with thousands of freelancers worldwide at very low rates. However, this means that your name won’t be of high relevance, and you won’t be in contact with the actual clients. Most importantly, this will help you gain lots of experience and strengthen your skills.
3- Do not set your rates at first
When you are first getting started, work at any rate you are given and accept any kind of job you could benefit from. This isn’t always going to be a fun ride, and you will question your whole purpose at times. But, you will soon be very grateful for taking on the challenge, as it will benefit you in ways that will surprise you.
Finally, when you start getting the hang of things and receiving positive feedback, you can work under your own name and set your own rates. Translator groups usually have lists of rates corresponding to every task, but you can always refer to other professionals for advice.
Freelance takes a lot of energy and demands solid time management skills (you will often feel like your days and nights are endless), and it isn’t always financially rewarding. However, it will help you gain many skills that will set you off in the corporate world while still managing to make some pocket money.
Whether you choose to work as a freelancer for the rest of your career or not, freelance can be a valuable stepping stone. Nevertheless, the decision remains yours: would you prefer to freelance your way to the corporate world or out of it?