Working as a freelance translator means dealing with ups and downs in both workload and income. To minimize the ups and downs and to provide better results for your clients, you might consider assembling and working with a team of other translators. Here are 4 tips for starting up a small translation team on a budget.
1. Give teamwork a try
If it’s your first experience working with a translation team, try partnering with one or two other freelancers as a first step. You will switch off between working as a translator or proofreader, continuously learning from either your partner’s corrections or by editing his or her work. Be honest with yourself – if your freelance partner is better at performing a specific task, assign that task to him or her, even if that means giving up higher paid or more interesting work. You will improve your skills by learning from your partner, and this compromise will prepare you for your responsibilities within a larger team.
2. Create a website
After sharing some projects with your team, which will be evolving continuously, the next step in building your business is creating your own website. Consider using a website builder for beginners, which will allow you to design your website on a budget and by yourself (or with little help). Focus on the content of the site: you are selling words, so show off your skills on your website! You might also consider a mobile website.
3. Take advantage of project and task-management tools
When working with a team it’s important to know the status of your projects in process and have a clear idea of who’s working on what. Avoid misunderstandings in communication by using a platform designed for teams. There are many task and project management tools on the market – some designed specifically for translation projects and others that are more general, like Asana or Wrike, which can be useful in copywriting projects. Most of them have a user-friendly interface and are able to handle all kind of document formats. They also make it easy to track deadlines and milestones.
4. Consider using translation-specific tools
Most translators are familiar with Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools, which offer features like glossaries and translation memory designed to help save you time. Before implementing one of these tools you should ask yourself: What other options besides CAT tools can my team use to provide the best possible client results? CAT Tools can be helpful, but they also present an obstacle: in order for it to work, all the members of your team have to use – and purchase – the same CAT Tool. Using a cloud-based translation tool is often a better solution. As a cloud-based software platform, Smartling does the work of many tools and not only offers automatic and daily software updates but also visibility for all parties involved in a given project, data security, workflow management, and more. When choosing a translation tool, it’s important to do your research and talk to others in your field to find the most reliable solution for you and your clients.
Look at your new partnership(s) as an opportunity to grow your freelance business and continually push yourself to become a better translator. Yes, in the beginning you will have to spend some additional hours per week learning how to manage a team, procuring new tools, and setting up your website. But the payoff will come when you expand your skillset and client list.