Business skills for freelance translators working from home
To become successful as a freelance translator working from home you need a number of business skills.
One of the major requirements when working for yourself is translator-client communication.
Many translators new to the translation industry feel very insecure as to what rates to charge. Our webpage about working out translation rates as a freelance translator gives you further insights into the process from the translator’s point of view. Read our article on the intricacies of translation rate calculation for a general overview. Translating Associations also publish rate tables which you can access as a member.
Marketing skills are often not well-developed amongst freelance translators. To succeed in the translation industry, it will pay off to hone these much-neglected skills.
We have also included a very basic guide on how to keep simple accounts. We have included a downloadable spreadsheet for immediate use!
When accounting for your income and expenditure, the most important thing is to be consistent. You need to keep all your business-relevant receipts. You must enter all your details into a basic spreadsheet. We would recommend inexperienced translators see an accountant at least once, to get basic advice. After that, there is no reason why you can’t do your own accounts. All it needs is entering the details of all your allowable receipts into one or two spreadsheets.
A further piece in the puzzle that is success, is implementing good invoicing and credit control practices. You can work your fingers to the bone and remain poor if you don’t send out your invoices on time and make sure you chase up late payers. It is not rocket science. It just requires a system.
You should also understand how taxation works in the countries of all your languages, especially with regards to VAT.
There are lots of websites that give general advice on starting up in business. The gov.uk website offers very comprehensive guidelines.
For further information on the job profile as translator, please visit our useful careers advice links page.