Breaking into the translation and localization field

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, many people with language skills are asking (for example on Reddit) how they can break into the translation and localization field, especially in a freelance role that will allow them to work at home. Indeed, the location-independent translator lifestyle has much to recommend it, as many digital nomads enjoying the surf in Bali can attest. Here is some brief advice for those seeking to start a new location-independent career in the translation and localization field.

  • Having some kind of university degree is not strictly required but useful for surviving agency screenings (more and more large agencies check your qualifications to meet ISO 17100 standards for translation quality). A degree in an in-demand specialization like engineering or accounting is a definite plus. Lucrative specializations depend on your language pair. For Russian, think petroleum engineering. For German, Japanese, and Korean, think automotive and high-end manufacturing.
  • There are several courses on Udemy teaching you how to become a freelance translator. Most of these are not language-specific, but there is one geared specifically towards Getting Started as a Japanese to English Translator.
  • The blogs and podcasts of Corinne McKay and Tess Whitty are good sources of information, not only about getting started, but about taking your already-established localization career to the next level.
  • ProZ.com is a good source of information and a good place to get started when you decide to hang out your shingle as a translator. The best reason to be on ProZ is to let agency clients find your profile there and contact you for long-term collaborations.

1 comment

  1. Robert

    The article includes some very good and specific advice. Thank you.

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