Freelance Translator Survey 2020

“Interesting & fun to complete”, “Most comprehensive and interesting survey so far”, “Loved it!”, “Very thorough and thought-provoking” are just a few of the comments left by people who completed this survey for translators, a survey that took two months to put together, a survey designed by translators for translators.

The idea started to take shape a couple of months ago, after seeing several discussions in various translation groups I am a member of. There are a number of studies/surveys carried out in our field, some specifically aimed at members of certain associations, others focused on specific areas (e.g.CAT tools) or geographic location, but I wanted to do something a bit more comprehensive, open to freelance translators from anywhere around the world and covering as many aspects of our profession as possible.

Why did it take so long? Well, it involved several stages: after the initial brainstorming and research (to make sure it’s different from other surveys), I consulted a number of colleagues to see what sort of data translators really want to know and tried to include as many of those as possible. Sadly, that was impossible, as it would have made the survey twice as long. However, I am planning to look at some of these areas in more detail later, with additional surveys. To ensure the questions are not biased or leading, we also got a researcher on board to help with the flow and design. The initial draft went through several rounds of amends after being tested by a number of colleagues (who were generous and donated their time to help with this and to whom I am really grateful). The version you can now see live is version 11 🙂

Why should you consider filling this in? There are several reasons:

  • The findings will be published on, therefore available to anyone interested
  • You are contributing to important and valuable research that will help you reflect on the way you are working as a translator
  • For each complete response, we will donate £1 (up to £250) to a charity of your choice
  • If you always wanted to know more about your fellow translators, you can suggest questions/topics we will consider for future surveys
  • The more people take part, and the more varied their background, location and experience, the more reliable the data obtained is, so please feel free to share the survey with fellow freelance translators

I, for one, am really excited to see the results! So please take the survey and help me help YOU!

Author bio

In her 15 years as a translation professional, Alina Cincan has been wearing many hats: Chartered Linguist (Language Specialist), translator, project manager, ECD (Expert Coffee Drinker), international conference speaker and author. Her #1 passion? Languages! She speaks six languages with various degrees of fluency. Some of her articles were published in translation journals and magazines, such as Traduire in France, MDÜ Magazine in Germany, La Linterna del Traductor in Spain, the ITI Bulletin in the UK and De Taalkundige/Le Linguiste In Belgium. More about her experience and work can be read here.

Are You Using LinkedIn to Get High-Paying Clients?

If you are spending all or most of your social media time on Facebook, you are missing out on the chance to meet and impress high-paying clients. While it may be fun and comfortable to network with colleagues on Facebook, the clients you want to attract are spending their time on LinkedIn—the #1 business social network.

LinkedIn Helps Freelancers Get Clients

About half of freelancers who use social networks for business (51%) said LinkedIn was “important” or “very important” in finding clients in How Freelancers Market Their Services: 2017 Survey. But only 7% of freelancers said Facebook helped them get clients.

Freelancers who get clients through LinkedIn:

  1. Have a client-focused profile
  2. Have a large network
  3. Are active on LinkedIn

With increased competition for translating and interpreting work, LinkedIn is more important than ever before. Fortunately, it does not take a lot of time or effort to develop a strong LinkedIn presence. But you do need to know what to do, and you need to understand the massive changes LinkedIn made in early 2017.

Attract High-Paying Clients with Your Profile

Want to be near the top of the search results when clients search for freelance translators and interpreters? Focus on the needs of your target clients and how you meet those needs. A client-focused profile can help you attract the high-paying companies you want to work with, instead of relying on agencies.

Write a Clear, Compelling Headline

Your headline is the most important part of your profile. Clearly describe:

  • What you do
  • How you help your clients.

Headlines like “translator,” “interpreter,” or “translator and interpreter” are generic and boring. But you will stand out—and attract more high-paying clients—with a headline like these:

ATA-certified Spanish to English freelance translator delivering accurate and readable translations


ATA-Certified Japanese to English translator • I help life sciences companies engage key audiences


Bilingual (English/Spanish) freelance translator who partners with large companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs


LinkedIn gives you 120 characters for your headline. Use them to write a compelling description and make clients want to learn more about you. You also want to include the keywords that clients will search for in your headline, like: “freelance,” “translator” and/or “interpreter,” and your languages. Certification is a big benefit to clients, so if you are certified, put this in your headline. Include any industry specialties too.

Write a Conversational, Concise, Client-Focused Summary

Your summary is the second most important part of your LinkedIn profile. Remember that it is a marketing tool, not a resume. So make it conversational and concise.

Only the first 201 characters (45 in mobile) in your summary show before people need to click “See more.” In 201 characters, you can write about the first two sentences. These sentences should flow with your headline and offer a client-focused (benefit-oriented) message.

Think about what clients need from translators and interpreters. General needs include:

  • Accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to translate the message from one language to another without altering the original meaning or tone
  • Ability to communicate clearly with the specific audience
  • Collaborative working style

In your first two sentences and throughout your summary, focus on general needs and needs specific to the type of clients you work with or projects you work on. State how you meet client needs.

Include just enough key content so that clients know that you are the right choice for them:

  • Relevant experience and background
  • Services
  • Education and certification

“Relevant” means what your clients care about, not what is important to you. Concisely describe your work, and use a bulleted list for your services. Include bulleted lists for the industries you work in and the type of projects you work on too.

If you work in a specific industry, include this too. Industries are no longer shown on profiles, but they are still there behind the scenes, and are used by LinkedIn’s search algorithm.

At the end of your summary, include a call to action and your contact information. The call to action is what you want prospective clients to do (e.g., call, email, or visit your website). Include your contact information and your website in your summary and also in the section on contact information to the right of your profile.

Check Your Photo and Background Image

Profile photos and background images are different now. Your profile photo is smaller and round, and in the center of the intro section, Make sure that part of your head has not been cropped out.

The size of the background image is now 1536 x 768 pixels. Simple, generic background images that look great on smart phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops work best.

Use my free Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Checklist for Freelancers to make sure your profile will stand out from those of other freelance translators and/or interpreters.

Build a Large Network and Be Active

LinkedIn’s 2017 changes made your network and activity much more important in search results. If you want to be near the top of the search results, you need to have a large network and engage with your connections—clients and other freelancers.

Make other freelance translators and interpreters a big part of your LinkedIn network. Building relationships with them will help you get more referrals.

Connect with Clients and Freelancers Personally

Use personal invitations to connect with clients and other freelancers. Most clients do not seem to be very active on LinkedIn, unless they are searching for freelancers. But you still want to connect with them to get access to some of their connections and expand your network.

Plus, you will get notices from LinkedIn when a client changes jobs, gets a promotion, posts an update, etc. Congratulating the client on a professional achievement or commenting on the client’s post is an easy way to stay in touch and help ensure that the client thinks of you first for freelance work.

Share Useful Content and Engage with Your Network

Share your own updates about 1-3 times a week. Most updates should provide useful content, like a blurb about an article, blog post, or report related to your work, with a link. Respond to all comments on your updates, and comment on other people’s updates.

Once in a while, you can post a more promotional update. But make sure your connections will benefit from reading your update. For example, if you publish a post on The Savvy Newcomer, you could do a post with a brief overview of the post and a link to it.

Grow your network quickly by inviting relevant people to join your LinkedIn network. Check out the profiles of people who comment on or like your updates, and the people whose updates you comment on. Invite anyone who could be a good connection to be part of your network. I doubled my LinkedIn network in a few months by doing this. Since then, the number of profile searches and views of my posts has grown exponentially.

You can do all of this in about two hours a week, and you can use the work you do to develop a client-focused LinkedIn profile on your website and in other marketing efforts too.

Image source: Pixabay

Author bio

Lori De Milto is a freelance writer, online teacher/coach for freelancers, and author of 7 Steps to High-Income Freelancing: Get the clients you deserve.

Lori helps freelancers find and reach high-paying clients through her 6-week course, Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve.

Multilingual profiles on LinkedIn

By Catherine Christaki (@LinguaGreca)

Multilingual profiles on LinkedInLinkedIn was launched in 2003 and is currently the third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors, right behind Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories. More than half of all B2B companies are finding customers through LinkedIn.

A large part of LinkedIn members (67% as of April 2014) are located outside of the US and some of them, including linguists and their (potential or existing) clients, are multilingual. LinkedIn allows users to set up additional LinkedIn profiles in other languages.

I think it’s a good idea for translators and interpreters to have profiles in two (or more) languages. A multilingual profile can highlight your linguistic skills and your command over different languages. Plus, it’s great for SEO. The keywords in both your original and your translated profile will boost your online presence and your ranking in searches (on LinkedIn and search engines).

How to set up your profile in a second language

You can’t change the language of your primary profile once you’ve set it up, so you need to create a profile in a secondary language through your existing profile. It’s better to avoid creating a whole new profile (with a different email address) because that will mean you having two or more separate profiles on LinkedIn, which might confuse people looking for you.

  • To create your new profile, log in and then click here.
  • Choose your language from the dropdown list. shows content and provides customer service in the following languages: English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, and Turkish. Other languages are being considered for the future (Greek is not high on the priority list when I last checked in 2014 during a LinkedIn presentation at Localization World in Dublin). You can see the languages supported for LinkedIn mobile applications here.
  • Localize your first and last names, if needed, and then translate your professional headline (having in mind the usual tips: take advantage of the space and don’t just say “Greek translator”, try to include a benefit your clients get from working with you).
  • Edit your new profile. Translate or write in the secondary language the following in this order of priority: Summary, job titles and descriptions in the Experience section, Advice for Contacting. Then, go through the rest of the sections and localize as necessary. Whatever else you translate in your secondary profile is a bonus, but the three sections I highlighted are important because they are the most visible parts of your profile, the ones that potential clients check and use to decide if you might be a good fit for their translation/interpreting project.

How a LinkedIn multilingual profile works

Visitors will see your profile in the language that matches the one they’re using the site in. For example, if someone is using the LinkedIn French interface and you’ve created a French profile, then they will see your French profile by default. If they’re using the site in a language that you haven’t created a secondary profile for, they’ll see your profile in the language of your primary profile.

All of your language profiles are indexed in search engines and have their own URL, i.e. if your primary profile is, then the French profile would be When a LinkedIn user has a multilingual profile, there’s a button on the top right side of their profile, View this profile in another language, and when you click on it, a dropdown menu appears with the available languages.

Is it worth the trouble?

I think it depends on your clients’ location and language. I’m an English to Greek translator and almost all of my clients speak English. Even the ones based in Greece have English profiles. So, I decided that for now an English-only profile works fine for me. If your clients speak your source language instead of your native, a LinkedIn profile in that language would greatly increase the chances of them finding you on LinkedIn and online.

If you have a LinkedIn profile in more than one language, please share your experience in the Comments below. Was it easy to set up and localize? Has it received many views and has it led to translation or interpreting work?

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The Savvy Social Media User—Twitter Handle & Sharing Frequency

By Catherine Christaki and David Friedman

The Savvy Social Media UserHere at The Savvy Newcomer, we often get questions from our blog readers about social media and blogging. We would like to share some answers and advice concerning some of these questions below and also to encourage you to email us your questions anytime. Our topic of discussion today is social media, and more specifically Twitter.

Before we move on to the questions, let’s start off with an outstanding definition of social media by Lisa Buyer (The Buyer Group):

Social media is today’s most transparent, engaging and interactive form of public relations. It combines the true grit of real time content with the beauty of authentic peer-to-peer communication.

Twitter is one of the most popular social networks among linguists. They use it for professional networking, sharing valuable resources and keeping up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the translation and interpreting industries. It enables them to more easily and instantaneously interact with other translators and interpreters and even keep track of interesting individuals, companies and trends in the areas and industries they specialize in.

How do I pick a good Twitter handle? Should it be associated with the name of my site, company or blog? What about my own name?

For branding consistency, your Twitter name should be associated one way or the other with your website or company name. The blog name (if you have one) isn’t as set in stone as your company name, it’s much easier to change. Let’s say you named your blog “Literary translation blog” a few years ago, but now you want to branch out to technical translation and you will probably blog more about that, so you rename your blog accordingly.

As a result, your company name or a keyword that tells people what you do/what you specialize in is a good choice. Your own name is ok too, but it might be lacking in the department of telling people what you do, and might not be available if you have a common name. You should avoid adding numbers to your name, as this will make it harder for others to remember and it doesn’t look good either. A few translators on Twitter have chosen handles that combine their names with the word “translates”. That’s one creative way to go about it. Don’t forget to keep your Twitter handle short and easy to remember.

How often should I share links to my website or blog on Twitter?

The most common answer to that question is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your tweets should be about useful content (i.e. links, resources, live tweets from a conference, etc.) and a maximum of 20% should be about you and your business. You shouldn’t be shy about sharing awards, interviews, and new content on your site, but avoid sales tweets, like “I translate legal texts from French into English, email me for a free quote”. Those tweets have no value to your followers and make you look spammy.

As for your blog posts, you should definitely send 1-2 tweets when you publish a new post (say once in the morning or when you publish it and one more time in the evening or the next day). For older posts, you can send a couple of tweets a week in the form of “From the blog archives: [name of post]” so that people who missed out on some of your outstanding older posts can simply follow the link and visit your blog.

As for the frequency of updates on social media, Buffer seems to have a good social media posting schedule in place (although it’s hard to find 14 different good tweets to send every day if you’re not a company with a team to manage your social media presence; we recommend staying under 10):

  • Twitter – 14 times per day, from midnight to 10:00 p.m. Central Time, never more than once per hour; seven times per day on weekends, from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., roughly every three hours
  • Facebook – 2 times per day, seven days a week, 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.
  • LinkedIn – 1 time per day, 8:14 a.m., no weekends
  • Google+ – 2 times per day, 9:03 a.m. and 7:04 p.m., no weekends

What about you, dear readers? How often do you share updates on social media and what is your favorite network? Tell us all about it in the Comments section below.

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The Savvy Translation Blogger—Blogging Frequency, Blog Content, and Reblogs

By Catherine Christaki and David Friedman

The Savvy Translation BloggerHere at the Savvy Newcomer, we often get questions from our blog readers about social media and blogging. We would like to share some answers and advice concerning some of these questions below and would like to encourage you to feel free to email us your questions anytime. Our topic of discussion today is blogging frequency, blogging content, and reblogs for translation and interpreting blogs.

A blog can be the foundation of the marketing strategy for your business. It can showcase your work, highlight your expertise, and connect you to your clients, colleagues and other specific audiences. Although it takes time to create it and make it look nice and professional, and it is time-consuming to maintain, there are some clear benefits to starting a translation/interpreting blog.  You’ll need a blogging strategy (how often to publish articles, how many posts per week/month, which topics to focus on), and you’ll have come up with ideas to write about and update the blog regularly like you (should) do with your website. But it gives you a platform to position yourself as an expert in your field, boost your reputation and brand, share useful resources and meet brilliant people, so it’s definitely worth it!

Let’s move on to our reader questions.

How often should I write and publish posts on my blog?

It would be fantastic if you could update your blog with 1-2 posts per week. But the chances of busy translators finding the time to write two articles per week is very slim. So, we think 2-3 posts per month is both a great start and a solid foundation for later down the blogging road.

At the very least, try to limit the period between your posts to 30 days; 1 article per month is definitely feasible and based on our experience, it takes about 1-2 hours to write a good, well-researched post and prepare it for publication on your blogging platform (including finding a nice image, double-checking the links, etc.).

What is proper reposting etiquette for blogs?

Reblogging is when you publish content that was originally published in another medium, like a blog or magazine. Say you find an interesting article in a magazine or read an awesome post on a blog. The first thing we recommend you do is check online for that specific article. If it appears on more than 2-3 blogs/websites, it may not be a very good idea to reshare it on your blog, because most of your readers may have already read it. We recommend just sharing a link to the article on social media instead.

Example: A great article was published in the ATA Chronicle. Then, the ATA published it on their website (Featured Articles section). Then, the original author also published it on their blog.

If it hasn’t been recycled several times, then the next step is to contact the original author (and the blog author if it’s a different person, or the magazine editor) to ask for their permission to reblog their article (including the images, if any). If the article is already a reblog, you only need to ask the original author.

In your request email, don’t forget to introduce yourself, say what you liked about the article and why you want to republish it on your blog (e.g. my blog readers will find the tips useful), ask for the author’s short bio (if it’s not available in the same place where you read the original article) and mention that you will add a line in the reblog saying where the original article was first published.

If you want to republish posts you penned for other blogs on your own blog, you don’t need to ask anyone, but it’s good etiquette to wait for a few weeks (some magazines have specific guidelines about this, make sure to read the fine print) before you publish the article on your blog and also add a line (beginning or end of post) saying “This was originally published on…”.

Where would it be appropriate to include an introductory paragraph on a blog post I am reposting?

Whatever you want to add in a reblog in the form of comments, additions, image credits and so on, make sure it’s in Italics so the readers can tell the difference. If you want to add a paragraph with comments on a post you had written for another medium and now you want to republish it on your blog, we suggest you add that paragraph (in italics again) at the end of the post. If you put it at the beginning, it might take the focus off the post itself.

My blog will be read by both clients and colleagues. Who should I write for?

Most blogs by freelancer translators feature content that is mostly relevant to their colleagues. That content is interesting, full of tips and insights, without much advertising or selling. However, very few clients read those blogs (unless their job is within the translation or interpreting industry).

Most blogs by translation companies do the opposite. They blog about issues that might interest their clients (translation quality, how to find good translators, why they should use a specific translation tool) and use those posts to advertise their translation services (with a ton of calls-to-action at the end).

So, you can see why it’s hard to find a balance between these two different types of blogging. We recommend using different platforms for your content. For example, you can use your blog to write about the issues that interest you and your colleagues within the translation world and use other mediums to talk about your business and the benefits of your services. Your website is a good medium for that content, as well as press releases, articles in non-translation periodicals and blogs (guest posts), webinars, interviews and presentations at non-translation conferences. Another great platform to use for your articles that are geared mostly for translation buyers is the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.

However, if potential clients look you up on the Internet, it can do nothing but boost your reputation if they see that you are a leading influencer in the translation and interpreting industry with a consistent and respected presence and content. Conversely, If you come up with some good content targeting potential clients that is beneficial to the translation and interpreting industry as a whole or large sections of it, then your colleagues will surely appreciate this content as well and would probably be eager to help spread it for the mutual benefit of the industry. So don’t make the mistake of assuming that there is no value at all in sharing content geared toward clients with colleagues, or content geared toward colleagues with clients to a certain degree.

What about you, dear readers? Are you thinking of starting your own blog? If you already have one, what’s your blogging strategy? How often do you write, and who do you write for?

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