Working as a translator provides the person with many possibilities – to work part-time or full-time, to be employed by a language service provider or work as a freelancer. Depending on the language combination a translator works with and the sphere of their specialization, compensation can vary.

It is a possible to add activities that can complement your work as a translator, especially if you are dealing mostly with document translation. Below we will give you a few examples of activities that you can add to your portfolio and some tips to help you feel happy and fulfilled as a translator.  

What are the Options? 

There are various things that a translator can do for a side job, however it is always better if the work is directly related with their main occupation – namely translations. The two biggest benefits of adding different options to your portfolio: 

  1. More income – this is of particular importance for freelance translators as having only one source of income can be risky
  2. More flexibility and enhanced competences – adding additional types of work, means that you are more flexible with the tasks that you can perform. This increases your competences in different spheres and makes you more competitive on the translation market. 

Having that in mind, here are two great options that you can add to your activities. They are related to translation in a way that we can consider them a pre-phase. They have to do with typing and using your language skills both in your mother tongue and in the foreign languages you speak.

  • Video transcription 

Before any video is translated into a foreign language, it is most often transcribed. Thus, the job of the translator is made a bit easier – they have the possibility to both read and listen to the text. It is important to note that the transcription of video content does not include only the words spoken but also who is saying them. In addition to that, all other significant sounds need to be included, such as phone ringing, doorbell sounds, laughing or scoffing or indistinct language that is heard in the background. If there are any songs in the video, the lyrics also needs to be transcribed.  

If transcription is done with the intention of the content to be translated afterwards, then it should be timestamped as well. This will guarantee that the translated text will be fitted back into the video synchronized correctly. 

The job is suitable for a person who loves languages and has strong attention to details, which are some of the essential skills for translators 

  • Video captioning and subtitling  

Video captioning and subtitling are other jobs that can be suitable for translators. The aim is to present the audible content into a text format. Subtitling is less detailed than captioning – it only presents what is said by the speaker, while captioning also reflects the other sounds as birds singing, phone or doorbell sounds, etc. Captioning is intended for those users of the video who might be hearing impaired and unable to hear the audio. 

Both jobs require the full attention of the person and are suitable for those who work quickly with words and phrases. They require broad general knowledge, especially of names and places. A person doing transcription of captioning tasks can challenge themselves with how quickly they can finish a given segment. Swiftness and accuracy go hand in hand to guarantee a higher pay rate for the someone dealing in such work. 

What Makes Translators Happy and Fulfilled?

It is very important that the job you do makes you happy. If you manage to turn your hobby into your profession, it will eventually start bringing you money. Quite often, the people who become translators are those who love languages and learn them with ease and in addition to that have interest in the culture of the people speaking the relevant language and competences in one or two specialized spheres.  

This is essential for a translator to do their job right. There are also a few tricks that can make you feel happier and more fulfilled: 

  • Organize your finances – wheather translation is your main income source or just an addition to the budget, it is good to manage your finances properly. It is a good idea to have a separate bank account for your translation income and expenses. Then you’ll be able to keep a track of the money you have and at the end of the year it will make filing your tax return much easier. 
  • Organize your working schedule – working as a freelance translator gives you a lot of freedom. You can choose when and where to work. If you are an early bird, you can do most of the work in the mornings and leave the evenings for your friends and family. You can work from the comfort of your home, while still wearing your pajamas, or you can dress up if that makes you feel more confident. You can work from a park or a café as long as that is what stimulates your productivity. You have the freedom to choose but you have to be very strict in establishing a schedule that guarantees the completion all your work on time.  
  • Work pro-bono –if you want to make a difference, then it is a good idea to work for a charity or for a community organization. This can be either offering free translations or dedicating some of your time and skills to the cause.  
  • Participate in groups of interests – whether you will follow some interesting translation blogs or be part of social media groups of translators, this is a great way to share your knowledge, get valuable advice and also relieve some stress.  

These are just a few simple tricks that can make you feel even happier with what you do and they are quite easy to implement. Give them a try and you will notice the difference shortly. 

The job of the translator is interesting and challenging but there is always room to add another dimension. Whether you choose to add some side activity with the purpose to earn more money, develop further professionally or just to give back to the community, complimenting your skill set is always a good idea.

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