Spotlight: The Freelance Translator (with infographic)

by Elizaveta Naumov

September 10, 2013

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Freelance translation has really taken off in the last few years. With a turbulent economy and uncertain future, more and more people are switching directions and striking out on their own as freelance translators. While this career has its advantages, it can sometimes breed utopian work fantasies: not only do you get complete independence and flexibility, but you can also manage your entire schedule – no more 9 to 5! Who wouldn’t want to earn a living by writing about what they want, without anyone telling them what to do or where to be? Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?

While the reality is much more complicated than that, it is true that freelance translation is an interesting and enriching field. It can be very satisfying for people  that work best quietly and independently, and who have the technical and linguistic skills.

500 freelance translators give a peek into their world

So who are these freelance translators exactly? British agency Dana Translation conducted a survey of 500 translators from all over the world to create this amazing inforgraphic that we just had to share with you.

Freelance translator survey

Who is the typical freelance translator?

The first thing that pops out of this infographic is that the majority of freelance translators are women (72% of respondents to be precise). People attracted to this profession are usually urbanites (49% live in or around large cities), are also fairly young (with an average age of 36), and have a degree relating to the field (79% of respondents).

A closer look

Most translators surveyed (41%) work roughly the same amount of hours as their traditional 9-to-5 counterparts (which equals about 40 hours per week), while 31% of respondents work even more. This finding goes against the standard myth that freelancers don’t work many hours and have a lot of free time on their hands (only 25% work less than 20 hours per week). The last part of this infographic touches on the average monthly earnings. It shows that while the best translators out there can earn a great living, they are few and far between (only 16% earn more than $3000 per month). Unfortunately, the large majority (86%) of translators don’t come close to this kind of income, but we need to remember to look at these figures cautiously, as it depends on the translator’s hourly rate and number of clients. It’s also important to remember that many people do translation as a secondary source of income by working freelance a few hours a day.

If you’re considering jumping into freelance translation, we hope this article helps you to make your choice. The most important thing to remember: being a translator isn’t just a profession, it’s a passion.

Have a great week!

The TextMaster Team

PS – The translation of this article would only cost $19 at Regular level by TextMaster.

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