How Many Roles a Freelance Translator Plays Daily

Translators Business Skills

I think the freelancer is a superhero, if he takes his job seriously. In our daily life as freelance translators, we play different roles/jobs at the same time, but receives only the compensation of one job, a translator. In this weekend, I thought about the jobs we do daily, and was amazed at what I found out, so I placed what came to my mind and like to hear your voices too. Below are the jobs a freelance translator practices, in addition to the main translation task:

Working as a Project Manager

This is the second role every translator plays daily, after being a translator. The freelance translator should master the skills of time management; prioritizing urgent translation multi-taskingtasking, like replying to feedback emails and new assignments quotes in a short period of time; communication skills; problem solving; flexibility and risk management, like changes in deadlines or an assignment taking more time than expected.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO in each business is responsible for financing projects and cost control. The freelance translator should be watching for his costs and check them against the results he gets from the activities done. Did the new Apple computer he bought added to the translation income? Will the coming event be financially profitable, in terms of getting some new leads or clients? What should he does to save some money to be able to attend the coming Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course?

Doing Human Resources Management

Yes, the freelance translator is a human resource manager, but only manages himself. He should be planning the path of his career and always find an answer to the question “what is next?” Does he need to learn new skills needed by clients? What motivates him to work (Incentives)? Does he need a vacation? Does his monthly income (salary) make him satisfied?

A Chief Marketing Officer

This is a necessary role played by each freelance translator. It is a daily role in fact, beside translation and project management. He should be asking the known questions; who are his ideal clients? What are their needs? How can he reach them? How can he evaluate the action plan done to reach new clients?

A Sales Manager

 This is where answers should be found for questions like are my current clients happy with me? How can I get more work from them? How can I keep clients satisfied? How can I introduce myself to new clients? What is my unique selling point (how I am different from others)? What are my revenue targets?

An Accountant

This is different from the role of finance management, where financing and cost management is needed. Accounting is related more to logging costs and expenses, and not analysing them. The freelance translator should have a minimum knowledge of how to create invoices, how to choose the best payment methods, how to measure the benefits of each hardware

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