Thoughts on…. Getting Started

I’m sure that getting started in any number of careers is difficult. However, when it comes to freelancing, there are a whole series of factors which make it more complicated.

Actually getting your first job as a freelance translator is somewhat of a challenge. In-house positions are rare, particularly if you don’t live in a capital city, and you spend days weeks hoping that an agency will spot your application and send you a test piece (applying to any agency which works on the basis of experience rather than tests is clearly a non-starter for new translators!).

Once you’ve got over that first hurdle of getting work, it’s easy to think that the tricky bit is over. But there is no one to ‘show you the ropes’, and so beginning as a freelancer takes a lot of trial and error, and courage. You are alone, behind a computer, and no one is there to tell you about the company policy on emails, invoicing or style – you are the company. For some people, this is the great joy of freelancing – being free! But for others (me included), it can be more than a little scary. Eventually though, you just have to take a deep breath and go for it! Be realistic about how long it can take to become established, but don’t be put off! Persistence will pay off eventually 🙂

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step...

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step… (Lao-Tzu)

Hopefully some of the resources I’ll be reviewing here in coming weeks will help other newcomers to freelancing in taking that first step 🙂

What do you think are the scariest things about starting out? I’d love to hear your thoughts!



  1. Great post, Carol! Actually, the one I’m writing might be an accompanying piece to yours!
    To me, the scariest thing about starting out is the days where I don’t have anything to work on… And since I have little patience, it can quite frustrating not to know when will be your next translation!

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