If you’re in the translations industry you’ll know the number and types of languages you can translate will dictate not only the frequency of work but the amount you can charge for each job.
So while a language as popular as Spanish has a massive demand that means you should never be short of work for too long, there are a lot of Spanish translators out there, meaning the market is more competitive and prices can be pushed down.
A little further down the scale and languages like French and German offer a fair amount of work without having a surplus of translators.
And then there are languages such as Bulgarian, Icelandic and Nepali, which may not offer the frequency of work that other languages do, but also don’t have too many translators waiting to take those jobs on.
So here are some top tips for taking on work if you’re a translator of any of these more niche native tongues…
Although you never want to overload yourself with work, it can be tempting to take on board too much and struggle through it, particularly if you don’t know when the next job will be coming in.
So always work out the demands of each job and plan carefully. If you look like you’ll be struggling for work, you may need to consider other services such as interpreting and editing, and be open to more off-the-wall requests like voice-over work.
Don’t stray too far from your field
And if you work with a lesser known language you’ll most likely be offered jobs of all descriptions, from motoring to medicine, so it’s important you never take on something that’s well outside your field of expertise as a botched job could leave your reputation in tatters.
Don’t do it all alone
Although the accepted wisdom is often that you shouldn’t translate into your non-native language, if you work with small-diffusion languages you may find you’ve no other choice.
There are many destinations around the world that are massive tourist destinations for English-speaking travelers, yet speak little-known languages – Khmer in Cambodia, for instance – and so have trouble when it comes to translating for tourists.
This means you could find work coming in from resorts that want to attract English-speaking tourists and, in this instance, it could be worth working with a native English-speaking proofreader, to make sure you account for the nuances of both the source and the target language.