As a translator, you’re worried about two things.
The first is how to find clients.
The second is how to make sure you get paid from those clients.
Both are worries about the money.
And getting paid is a huge worry for translators just starting out.
It’s mainly due to three reasons:
1. Your business is your baby
You already know how to translate.
You have faith in your ability.
You trust your language skills.
You’re confident in yourself.
The worry comes when you have to turn over that confidence and trust to someone else that you don’t know.
The hardest thing for you to do as an entrepreneur is to trust someone else with any part of your business.
You’ve worked hard to make it your own.
The last thing you want is to let someone else mess it up.
2. The translation industry is different
The second issue is that translation is a weird profession in terms of getting paid by clients.
Mostly all of my friends that offer service-type businesses get paid from the client before getting paid.
Dentists don’t get paid after they clean someone’s teeth.
Accountants get paid before they do someone’s taxes.
Landscape architects get paid (at least partly) before starting a major renovation project.
So why is is that you have to wait to get paid until after you deliver your translation?
That makes every translator nervous, no matter how long they’ve been in the business.
- Everyone loves a horror story
Finally, we’re just like every other person out there.
We love horror stories that prove just how bad our industry can be.
Which posts get the most comments on translation forums?
The ones where a translator got ripped off.
Or the one where the translator was offered an incredibly low rate for a translation job.
Or how about the post complaining about how the translator was never paid for their work.
Those negative posts and experiences are the ones that stick with new translators because they play on the fears of translators just starting out.
These are all valid concerns.
I’m not going to tell you to ignore them and they’ll go away.
We all have fears that hold us back from moving forward in what we want to do.
It’s the same for you as a translator.
<align=”center”>The first step to overcome those fears, though, is to recognize that they exist.
Confirm that you have them.
Embrace them even.
Only then can you figure out how to overcome them.
So, how do you overcome your three fears above?
1. For your business to grow, you will need to depend on other people.
Sure, when you are first starting out, you should focus on doing what you can in your business, just so you know about all the aspects of your business.
But clients are somewhat out of your control.
You have to trust that they will live up to their end of the agreement you make with them.
And most of them will.
And some things you won’t be able to do yourself.
Maybe you can’t do graphic design but want a new website design.
You’ll have to trust someone else to do that for you.
Say you want to learn how to run the finances for your business.
You’ll have to trust someone to show you how to do that.
That trust is OK to have.
The key is to make sure that you don’t delegate too much responsibility too soon. You still need a handle on your business.
2. Being different doesn’t make something necessarily bad
Yes, the translation industry is different from other service industries in how the service provider gets paid.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow some of the techniques that those industries use to get paid.
For example, one easy tip you can do right away is to charge clients in two separate bills.
Tell them that they have to pay half before you get started and then the second part upon delivery of the translation.
Create a password protected file that can only be accessed by the client when you receive payment.
There are a lot of things you can do to make sure you get paid as a translator.
But you have to implement them in order for them to work.
Simply complaining about it isn’t going to make things better.
3. Don’t believe the hype
It’s easy to believe the negative.
To focus on the worst case scenario of everything.
To think that just because something bad happened to someone once, it will most likely happen to you.
Don’t believe the hype.
People always focus on the negative
It’s easy to do.
It takes no effort.
Plus, it makes an easy scapegoat when things don’t work out how you want or if you fail.
You can say, “See, that person got screwed/failed/didn’t succeed. There was no way I was going to, either. The system is rigged against me.”
That’s an easy way out.
Those that really want to succeed don’t fall for those traps.
Instead, you will focus on the good.
You know that most translators don’t have those types of bad experiences.
And it’s unlikely to happen to you.
Change your mindset on getting paid and you’ll be in a much better position than most translators are when they are just starting out.
Until next time.