Translating & Interpreting – Working Freelance

Translating and interpreting is the process of converting one language into another. Translators convert text and interpreters convert the spoken word.  An in-depth knowledge and fluency of both the original ‘source’ language and the new ‘target’ language is essential to ensure accurate interpretation.

The majority of translators and interpreters work as freelancers.  Many take on both kinds of work, though there are different requirements.  For instance, translators can work from anywhere they have web access and interpreters are required to travel, often at short notice.

Networking is essential for a successful freelance career.  It is definitely worth considering undertaking voluntary work to gain experience.  Joining interpreter groups is also a good way to learn more and find potential employers.  You may want to consider learning additional languages, but do research which are most in demand for your area of expertise before signing up to any courses.

Membership of the following professional bodies, agencies and recruitment sites will help raise your profile:

  • Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI)
  • Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL)
  • Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence (AIIC)
  • National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI)
  • Association of Translation Companies (ATC)
  • Find-A-Linguist
  • Linguist Lounge

Working as a freelancer takes motivation and discipline as it’s up to you to seek out new work and manage your own workload.  However, it also means you can have a work/life balance perfectly suited to you.