Being a freelance translator has a lot of perks. Traditionally, people entering the workforce tend to look for a regular job. A regular job gives the assurance of a steady income, employee benefits like health insurance, paid sick and vacation leaves, bonuses, promotions, commissions and profit sharing.
But no regular job gives you the freedom you have when working as a freelance translator. Although there are many advantages when you are permanently employed, there are also disadvantages.
Most of your time is spent in the office, as regular employment often means being in the office from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. It means coming to the office five days a week.
In some cases, when necessary, you might be asked to render overtime work, especially for some companies that have seasonal peak periods, or else, be required to work during weekends or cut short a vacation because of the immediate need for additional staff. Being a freelance translator lets you set your own rules.
Regular work makes you wake up early to beat the rush hour when commuting. It takes you away from your family for long periods and your social life is curbed.
This situation applies to translators as well, as many of them seek regular employment. However, with advanced technology, communication facilities and employment portals, translators also have the option to work as a freelance translator, an advantage over other regular jobs.
Therefore, if you're in this situation, would you rather be a regular employee or be a freelance translator? Let's explore some of the benefits of working for yourself.
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1. You're Your Own Boss
When you decide to work as a freelance translator, you have autonomy. You are the manager of your own business. You are responsible for ensuring the quality of your work and your success depends on the time you invest on your work.
You do not have to contend with frightening bosses and insecure co-workers who love to gossip. You do not have to contend with impossible workloads and very short deadlines. You decide on how much to charge (based on current rates for freelance work).
2. A Freelance Translator Has Flexibility
As a freelance translator, you gain overall flexibility. You can organize your day depending on the demands for your time. You can attend seminars and conferences. You manage your working hours the way you want to. Your income depends on how many hours and days you want to work.
You also decide on when you want to work. You can choose the time when you're most productive – early in the morning or in the evening. You can choose to work early and finish things quickly and enjoy the rest of the day for other pursuits.
If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad, working as a freelance translator means having more time to spend with your spouse and children. The only thing you have to do constantly is checking your email.
Technology works for you as well, because as a freelance translator, you do not have to stay cooped up at home. You're location-independent. You can work where you are most comfortable. You can take your work with you.
If the weather is wet or cold, you do not have to rush out to the office. You can stay snug and warm at home while you work. When it's warm and sunny, you can take your laptop and other paraphernalia and work in the park.
You manage your own workload when you work as a freelance translator. You decide much want work you want to do. You also have a choice on what type of projects you want to accept. You can choose to take on different clients and work on small projects or seek large and more demanding projects to beef up your portfolio.
How you work as a freelance translator depends on you as well. Do you work well while listening to music or the radio, or are you the type of person who can continue working while the TV is turned on?
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3. You Control Your Income And Expense
Another benefit of being a freelance translator is being in control of how much you earn and how much you want to spend. Many a freelance translator works continuously and furiously for a few months to earn as much money as possible then take it easy the rest of the year.
They may also decide to go on a trip to enrich their experience or soak in the culture of the countries that speak the language they work on, or spend part of the year with continuing education.
When you are a freelance translator, you say goodbye to several expenses because you do not have to go to the office. You can save on transportation. You save lunch and dinner monies. You also do not need to spend too much on clothes. You save on time, as well.
4. You Can Go Global
This is one of most attractive benefits of being a freelancer. As a freelance translator, you do not have to look for local clients only.
With fast Internet and better communication facilities, you can find translation jobs not only within your area but also overseas. You can apply or bid for translation jobs anywhere in the world without leaving your home.
5. Age is Just a Number
This is one of the many advantages of being a freelance translator. When you work in an office, you are often forced to retire when you reach a certain age. When you are a freelancer, you can work beyond your retirement years, as long as you can.
Your age will not matter to your clients. You can remain a well-sought out freelance translator as long as you keep the quality of your work consistent, you keep to the deadlines and you update your skills and knowledge according to the demands of the time.
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We can add beefing up your network to the mix. Even if you're not in an office, you do not get isolated by going freelance. You can still talk with and meet many people.
Local clients may want to meet face-to-face, while you have the Internet to meet plenty of interesting people online through forums, social networks, email, Skype, and other forms of online communication.
Although the benefits of being a freelance translator are many, it does not mean that you have to be complacent. You have to remain competitive to stand out against other freelancers.
You have to update your technological knowledge and learn to use more advance tools and platforms. Continue improving your language-pair skills, and if you specialize in a particular field, see to it that you update your knowledge.
It is also better to know at least the basics of managing a business. If you furnish yourself with these skills and work hard, you'll love being a freelance translator and never look back.