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How to Apply as a Freelance Translator


Many translators are freelance, which means their income is squarely based on marketing themselves to new clients. This can be a tough job, as there are thousands of translators out there that you are competing with. This tutorial serves as a guideline for the best practices to adopt in order to attract new clients

  • Join a translation job board site

Translator job boards (such as Proz or TranslatorsCafe) are perfect places to meet new clients, as individuals and professional translation companies use them to post requests for translators to work on their projects. You can easily peruse available jobs and contact the requester directly. They are fantastic resources, as they provide a direct link to your potential clients. However, there is the drawback that because so many translators use those sites, each job posted can get hundreds of responses, which may make it more difficult to end up getting picked for their project.


  • Contact translation service providers

Translation service providers are companies that take on translation projects of all kinds from individuals and businesses, and are tasked with assigning the right translator to handle the job. As a translator, working for a translation service provider can be a great opportunity to obtain consistent work, as more often than not, their repeat customers will want to have the same translator working on their projects in order to maintain consistency.


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  • How you should contact a translation service provider – When contacting a translation service provider offering your services, it is a good idea to keep it brief, while providing all of the pertinent information they would need to review and contact you. Companies can receive hundreds of unsolicited applications a day, so it’s better for you to make their job that much easier.
    • Put the language pair you translate in the subject line – This will also help them search for you in their database should they need a new translator at some point in the future.
      1. Example: Translator Application, English to Spanish (Latin American)
    • Include Resume/CV
    • Introduce yourself, but keep it brief and state your past experience (if applicable) and any special expertise
    • Include references
    • Include your estimated translation rate

If you receive a message back from a translation service provider or an individual interested in your services, more than likely they will ask you to complete a short sample translation as part of the screening process. Make sure you complete it fully and accurately , as this is what you will be judged on prior to being hired.

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