Starting out as a freelance translator

Hello everyone, hope you’re all well out there in translation land and have some exciting plans to round off the year!

Today’s post is something a little different. I recently gave a talk to the Translation Studies MA students at the University of Hull and thought I’d share my presentation with you here.

As the title of this post suggests, the seminar was all about getting started as a freelance translator, with me sharing tips and advice based on my own experiences within the wonderful world of freelancing.

Hopefully there will be plenty of useful information in there for those of you interested in a career in freelance translation and perhaps there will even be one or two handy snippets for more experienced freelancers.

The presentation touches upon everything from finding and completing your first translation job to a few different ways of developing an online presence using social media.

Public speaking and presentation skills aren’t my strongest areas but they are skills that I’m keen to develop, especially with conference papers, teaching and further presentations on the horizon. As such, any feedback or handy links for developing these areas would be greatly appreciated!

Anyway, here’s the recording of the presentation and the accompanying slides. (Click the images to get the full screen, slideshow version)



P.S. If you’re having trouble with the SoundCloud player, here’s a direct link to the recording:


12 responses to “Starting out as a freelance translator”

  1. Excellent job, Joseph! I am sure the students found this very useful. And it was nice to also put a voice to the name and picture πŸ™‚ You have a very warm and pleasant voice, I loved listening to you.

    1. Thank you very much Alina, you’re much too kind! Listening back was a real learning experience for me too, and highlighted a few areas to work on. Hopefully the presentation will be of use to some emerging translators out there! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

      1. I thought it went really well. But, of course, it’s in our nature to always strive for better I guess.

        Have a great weekend too!

      2. Yeah, I was happy with how it went, especially as I’m not a very natural public speaker. It’s something I really want to keep working at!

  2. Great presentation Joseph, so useful especially for newbies. I’ll contact you soon to ask your permission to reblog this post along with the recording and slides in ATA’s The Savvy Newcomer blog. Thank you very much for the kind mention too in the Twitter accounts to check out πŸ™‚ By the way, did you by any chance upload the slides in SlideShare? Have a great week!

    1. Hi Catherine, thanks very much for the kind words, hope you had a great weekend! You’re more than welcome for the mention, your Twitter feed has always been one of my favourites.

      That sounds great, I’d obviously be more than happy for the post to be reblogged, I’ll keep an eye out for your message.

      No, I’ve never used SlideShare before so may have to look into it. I did want to embed the images as a slideshow but couldn’t get the WordPress plugin to work as I wanted and had to settle with plain old images… Oh well!

      Thanks again and speak soon πŸ™‚

  3. […] Language Do the Eskimos Really have 50 Words for Snow? Nice collection of quotes about translation Starting out as a freelance translator The Different Types of English How to retain freelance clients Names of the Year […]

  4. Well done, Joseph! I will be sharing the link with my students (who, by now, are getting really tired of listening to me). πŸ™‚

    1. Never Nancy! Thank you again! Thanks to Joseph too!

    2. Thanks very much Nancy, I hope it’s of some use to them! Enjoy the rest of your week πŸ™‚

  5. Great post, Joseph! I like that you mention about business and IT skills. Most of the time people miss them. But without business and IT skills, it is very difficult to survive and even thrive in the competitive world of freelance translation and localization today. Let me share my post with you about that

  6. Thanks for the presentation. Very good and definitely useful for me since I just started as freelance translator (English to Malay pair). Quite excited frankly after not working for sometime. IT skills is important to make the process more easier to manage the source data, file structure etc. I really like to send personalized cover letter if possible to potential customers/agencies. USP… maybe πŸ˜‰
    Have a good week ahead.

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