Several weeks ago I was catching up with a friend of mine who is a Spanish interpreter and translator. As usual we started talking about our businesses and that’s when she told me she had left freelancing behind and had taken a full-time in-house interpreting job.
I was a little shocked, especially since she went into freelancing for the freedom and flexibility it offered. So I asked why and what she said surprised me.
You see, my friend was convinced she couldn’t make it as a freelance translator because there is too much competition. This is something translators complain about all the time. But the thing is, competition is a good sign.
When an industry has a lot of competition it shows that there is a real demand. Unfortunately for my friend, she couldn’t see this and when I tried to explain she said…
“It’s because you work in a small language and you don’t have a lot of competition”.
Ironically, when I first started working as a freelancer, fellow translators suggested I keep my day job because it would be tough trying to freelance full-time working in a small language.
You can image the look on my face when she said this.There are plenty of freelance translators working in popular language pairs making a great living.
And instead of seeing successful translators as the exception to the rule, we should try to uncover what they’re doing right and how we could make it work for us. We always have to test our assumptions.
One of the biggest barriers to making a great living as a freelance translator is mindset traps. Once you understand it, you start seeing it everywhere. Mindset traps manifest themselves in comments like:
•There is too much competition
•I don’t have a lot of experience
•I work in small language pairs
•Clients only want to work with the cheapest
There is a formula to succeeding as freelance translator and it’s in your control. To duplicate the success of others, study the best. What are leading freelance translators doing right? And how can you make it work for you.
Successful translators are never concerned with the competition. They listen to the market to find out what specializations are in demand for their language pairs.
They don’t get knocked down by failure–instead they embrace it as an opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t. And they pursue the type of clients that value the results their translation services produce–and not the type that need convincing.
There is so much more to being a top translator than finding high-paying clients and raising your rates. What separates successful freelance translators from the struggling ones really boils down to mindset.
With that being said, are there mindset traps that have held you back from reaching your full potential? What are the some of the most common ones you hear yourself or other translators say? Share your comments below.