As a self-employed professional sign language translator, you do everything yourself: training, marketing, sales, operations, and customer service. Going freelance is challenging, but something that many translators do on the side while keeping a day job. Some even do sign language translation as their full-time business.
Even though sign language translation is of high demand, there is a decreasing number of translation professionals. It may be due to the intense competition within the industry, and may also be because of the more demanding services that are required of translators.
If you are a freelance translator, you already know the challenges of going into this industry. You are aware that while your services are in demand, it is not easy to find active clients. It’s hard to put your foot in the door, so you have to understand that getting your first customers is the most challenging part. However, once you get into the industry, there is no looking back especially if you are one of the best with what you do. If you are the best, you do not even have to search for clients for they will be the ones to come looking for you.
But no matter how much effort you put into your translation business, no enterprise is perfect. There are a lot of things you will learn along the way, and what works for you might not work for others.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that many freelance professional translators commit. Aim to take note of these so you can improve your strategies:
1. You are charging too little for your services.
If you are operating in an expensive city like Sydney or Seoul, you must charge based on the operating expenses in your area. It is costly to maintain an enterprise in urbanized cities because you have to pay for higher rent, utilities, and taxes. So, when giving your rate, you must put your area into consideration.
Check out your competitors’ prices and list down their fees, so you get an idea if your rate is too high or too low. If you are charging too little, you may get clients, but you will end up burnt out and exhausted, unable to pay your rent and taxes. Of course, it is a business, and you want to keep your enterprise going.
2. You are charging too high for your services.
As much as charging too little is bad enough for your business, charging too high is also detrimental to your brand. When you are listing down your rates, make sure that you know your training, skills, and work experience are all accounted for.
If you are near-native with five foreign languages and you have worked with many international organizations, then you can be confident enough to charge higher for your services. If, however, you are just starting with your translation services, then accept the fact that you must charge lower fees at the beginning of your career. Receive contracts, continue marketing your services, and keep on upgrading your translation skills until you get to the point that you are the best with what you are doing.
Know that work experience is crucial as to how much you charge for your professional rates. Be patient, take care of your clients, and make sure that you keep on upgrading your skills. When you become the best at what you do, you can then charge higher fees for what you deem you deserve.
These are some of the mistakes that you must avoid when operating a freelance professional translation business. Focus on providing excellent services and set a name for your brand for future-proofing.