Top Tips for Language Students

By Jennifer Lee
In Blogging
Sep 19th, 2016
1 Comment

So, you’re still a student but you want to be a translator? If you are currently studying languages, completing a degree or alternative translation qualification, there is action you can start taking NOW to give yourself the best chance at a successful translation career. Find out the top tips for language students and set yourself to a great start!


Tip 1: Volunteer

One of the best ways to gain experience is to offer to work for free. This is probably something you won’t have time for when you start properly working as a freelance translator, so it’s great to start building your portfolio now. And there is a plethora of companies and organisations out there who would be more than happy to make use of your skills.

Charities and NGOs are probably your best bet to start off with, as most of the time their budget doesn’t allow for paid translators. Make some phone calls or send some emails and let them know what you can offer. You can also volunteer with the world-famous organisation TED as a subtitler. This is a brilliant way to get some experience under your belt and also gain a new skill as a subtitler.


Top Tips for Language Students


Tip 2: Hone your skills

If you aren’t already studying a translation degree or other language-based qualification, then you better start reading! There are a huge amount of courses, books, blogs and articles out there about what makes a great translator. You can start with our course Introduction to freelance translation, where you’ll learn the basics and you’ll learn what you can do while still studying.

Then you can pass to books. Two of my favourites are How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay and The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation by Judy and Dagmar Jenner. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More by Chris Guillebeau is also a fantastic read to learn more about starting up your own business in general and doing what you love as a profession. These will give you a decent foundation to your career and make you think about what steps you need to take to become the best translator you can be.


Tip 3: Build your brand

I recently heard a fellow translator say that in the past, you weren’t in business unless you had a business card. Nowadays, things have changed and instead, everyone has their own website. Websites can usually take quite a while to set up and perfect. So, why not start now? We made a course just for you.

You’ll need to think about how you want to market yourself – as an independent translator or as a small business. After this, think about your brand name, logo, and motto. Then start adding to your website – what skills you can offer, your qualifications, and hopefully some endorsements from those companies you’ve been volunteering with. If you do all this, you’ll give yourself a fantastic portfolio to present to potential clients and agencies when you start working professionally.


Good luck, and work hard!

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About "" Has 7 Posts

Jennifer is a freelance translator from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She studied a joint degree of French and Spanish at the University of Glasgow, through which she had opportunities to live in both France and Argentina. Her passions are literature, human rights issues and of course, language learning! She has a tortoise named Bob and a husband named Neil. Read more about her on Linkedin:

One Response to “Top Tips for Language Students”

  1. Great tips! I think talking with the locals would be a great practice for learning their language. Learning their culture would also be a great factor to become more familiarize with them

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