As a freelance translator and a newbie translator at that, it is exciting to accept your first translation project. However, before you accept any translation project, it is best that you know the requirements involved in any type of translation work, as this can affect your succeeding projects. Do not get too excited and overwhelmed by the fact that someone entrusted you with the task. You have to weigh in the choices first before making your final decision. Here are some tips on what you need to do before closing the deal:
• Check the source language and the target language. If you are not a master of either language, it could end up a disaster. Thus, you need to check if you have the right knowledge in both languages, and that you are ready and confident that you will be able to do the job. You also need to make sure that you are familiar with the expressions, metaphors and tones used in the given languages.
• Determine how long it will take you to translate the source document and the technical requirements involved in translating it. Is it just straight translation? Are there technical terms to be addressed? Will it take considerable amount of time to find the appropriate translation into the target language? Are you confident that you can do it alone? Sometimes at first glance, a translation project might look like an easy one, until you get into the heart of it. Make sure that it is within your knowledge and capability. It will be all right not to accept the project if you know that you cannot make a good job of translating it. The client will appreciate your honesty and you will be building a good reputation for not accepting work that you cannot do. It is a huge responsibility and you should be well equipped to handle that responsibility.
• Ask for a deadline. You need an ample amount of time to finish everything. If this is a rush job and it is your first project, and you think that the deadline is not workable, then do not force yourself. Never compromise anything. Don’t make promises that you will just eventually break as it will tremendously hurt your image.
• Prepare to discuss the rates. You must be paid based on the number of hours you will spend in doing the translation or the number of pages that you have to deal with. Unless you can come up with a price that is acceptable for both of you, then don’t do anything yet. Corollary to this, you should be knowledgeable on the current rates that freelance translators charge for their work so you do not end up shortchanged.
• Prepare a simple contract that you and your client can sign. It is best to do some research on this initially or you might even want to consult an attorney. The contract should be binding. See to it that you and your client understand the details. Vague terms should be clarified, especially when it comes to payments, such as down payments and schedule for full payment.
In short, accepting a translation job is not just a matter of being given an offer and accepting it right away. There are several steps involved before making a final decision. The moment you accept the job, you take on the responsibility of producing quality results on time. If this is your first job, then it could make or break you. If you have proven your worth, you will surely get more clients in the future. Remember that words of mouth can spread like fire.