Freelance Translator

Disproving 3 Common Cliches about Freelance Translators

Posted on May 26, 2016 · Posted in Translation Quality, Translation Services

Should you hire a freelance translator? Ultimately, the answer to that question depends on your individual business needs. But the one thing it should not depend on is an idea in your head about what freelance translators are, or are not.

Too many businesses around the United States get a specific image in their minds when thinking about freelance translators; in reality, many of these images are cliches that are far from the truth. By the end of this post, which will disprove 3 common cliches about freelance translators, you should be able to hire professionals based on their merits and your needs, rather than stereotypes surrounding the industry.

Cliche 1: Freelance Translators Work From Anywhere

Perhaps the most common cliche surrounding freelance translators is that they work from anywhere; imagine your translation partner sitting o the beach, sipping a pina colada while casually going over your text. It’s true that the rise of internet accessibility has meant less ties to specific locations. But that’s where the accuracy of this mental image ends.

In reality, freelance translation requires both dedication and focus that is impossible to achieve at a beach, bar, or any other comfortable spot. Thinking in two languages at once, the translator has to find a spot that enables them to concentrate on nothing but the text in question, which is why most freelance translators have dedicated home office spaces just for their projects. For them, as for every other professional, success in their job means dedication and hard work.

Chliche 2: Freelance Translating is a Hobby

The second cliche we often hear is closely connected to the first: freelance translators work their magic on the side, to earn a little extra money. They don’t consider it their career but a fun side project, and treat it with the resulting (lack of) dedication and professionalism.

But this cliche is as far from the truth as the first. Freelance translators dedicate not only their attention, but their time to the profession, which is absolutely necessary considering they often work under tight deadline and for multiple clients. When a new project comes in, the requirement is not usually “whenever you have time,” but “as soon as possible.” It’s a rewarding profession for those who enjoy translating, but a profession nonetheless.

Cliche 3: Freelance Translating Is Hereditary

Finally, a third common cliche we sometimes hear is that freelance translators are in the profession because of a skill that has little to do with their professional education. They simply grew up learning multiple languages, and decided to get into this line of work because it didn’t require them to learn any industry or career-specific skills.

Of course, as you can probably imagine by now, this cliche is also far from true. In reality, translation requires far more than just the knowledge of multiple languages. Professionals in the industry have to know both the grammar and the culture of the languages from and into which they’re transcribing texts, ensuring that they get both the syntax and the context just right.

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, professional translation requires a steady stream of professional development. Get out of touch with the industry for a while, and you will inevitably fall behind the market and expectations. New and different formats require different types of translation; a website needs to be transcribed very differently than an employee handbook.

In addition, different industries include and require jargon that requires careful study for accurate translation. For translators looking to remain successful, keeping up with these intricacies and trends is absolutely crucial.

So don’t worry about your translation partner sitting at the beach somewhere while you wait for your text to be translated. Depending greatly on their reputation, freelance translators take their tasks and project seriously – which will result in a quality translation for your business. To learn more about the intricacies of freelance translation, and how it can benefit your business, contact us.