The best 3 websites for freelance translators
In a sea of websites for freelance translators, there are three that stand out from the crowd. Here’s who they are and how to make the most of them.
I wish I had read this article when I started out. You see, I wasted tens of hours looking for a good website to kickstart my career as a freelance translator, and they all looked the same to me.
I don’t want you to waste as much time as I did. So, without further ado, here are the best three websites for freelance translators. And how to make the most of them.
#1 website for freelance translators: Proz.com
ProZ.com is a platform and community primarily designed for language professionals, mainly translators. From time to time, you’ll also find interpreters and localization project managers opportunities.
There is a reason why Proz is #1 vs LinkedIn and Upwork. While LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for experienced translators and Upwork is the best choice for beginners, Proz has something for all levels of experience.
How to make the most of Proz
If you are an absolute beginner, Proz has two features for you:
- The Job board. Every hour, on average, 2 to 4 jobs are posted on Proz. Sure, that’s for all language pairs. But you see how it’s likely that at least a few of them happen to be right in your alley. Numbers don’t lie.
- The Blue board. This is a directory of translation agencies, direct clients and individual outsourcers who used Proz in the past. Most of them have some contact info or website, so you can use it to find outsourcers to send your resume to.
You already have some clients and a steady flow of work? Then maybe it’s the right time to make clients find you, and not the opposite. If that sounds interesting, you’ll love Proz translator directory.
As the name suggests, this is a directory of translators, that clients can sort by language pair, area of expertise and a number of other factors. The main ranking factor, though, is the number of Kudoz points you have.
Do you need a paid membership plan to use Proz?
No, but it helps a lot. Without a paid plan, you will only be able to send proposals for jobs posted on the job board after 24 hours. And since time is of the essence, that means you are very unlikely to ever hear back from the client.
Plus, Proz members are ranked before non members in the directory. If you are not a member, I’d say it’s totally useless to start accumulating Kudoz points.
2 to 4 jobs posted every hour.
Generate a passive flow of clients.
A directory of 24,500+ outsourcers.
In my opinion, with so many features to choose from, Proz.com is undeniably one of the best 3 websites for freelance translators.
Even if you don’t care about finding new clients on Proz, you can still hijack its authority to land new clients… in an unconventional way. Proz pages have very high domain authority, which means you have a chance to show up in the first page of Google for very specific keywords. Think ‘English to Russian translator specialized in Forex’ or ‘Spanish to English translator with expertise in medicine’.
#2 Website for freelance translators: LinkedIn
In 2023, LinkedIn has become an amazing tool for any profession. The translation industry has not been immune to this. I remember 10 years ago a LinkedIn profile was a must-have, but truth be told, it didn’t generate many potential clients. Since then, the situation has changed dramatically.
Nowadays, I receive a lot of approaches on LinkedIn, from translation agencies as well as direct clients. These are usually my best leads… and my profile is not even that great.
LinkedIn as a lead generation machine
What I like the most about LinkedIn is the potential to generate opportunities. As Neil Patel says, “LinkedIn is a search engine for professionals“. Think of it as such, and it’ll pay back in potential clients.
It is not uncommon to receive inquiries like this one from interesting leads. You just need to optimize your profile.
LinkedIn as a hub for your outreach campaigns
Do you prefer a more active approach? LinkedIn can help. When you want to reach out to new agencies to widen your client-base, where do you look for their vendor managers? On LinkedIn.
LinkedIn as an online resume
Last, the simplest use of LinkedIn – your online resume. It’s very common for people to look you up on LinkedIn when they receive your proposal for a job, or your email to work with their agency. Don’t miss your shot – keep your profile clean an simple and aligned with your resume.
Lead generation machine
Optimize your LinkedIn profile, and potential clients will find their way to you.
Everyone that matters, in every industry, has a LinkedIn profile. Just pick carefully and don’t be nosy.
People will check out your profile, even if you don’t want to. Give it the attention it deserves.
LinkedIn has something no other platform can offer – access to basically anyone in the world, at any company. As a beginner, though, I would find it intimidating to look for jobs there.
#3 Website for freelance translators: Upwork
I started my freelance career on Upwork, and if I were to do it all over again, I’d probably do the same. And you can do it too if you follow my quick guide to find translation projects on Upwork.
Not only Upwork is a great site to find translation jobs, but it’s also an ideal training ground for your profile and proposals. Experiment, learn to position yourself as a professional translator in the eyes of your client, and get paid to do it.
I love Upwork… for beginners and for those who are just looking for a side hustle. For intermediate and expert translators, though, Proz and LinkedIn are a much better choice. While I landed a couple of clients who paid 0.07/0.08 € per word, most of them were not intentioned to pay anything close to professional translation rates.
Three steps to mastering Upwork
1. Preliminary research
Conduct thorough research on available jobs in your target language pair. Browse the job board and identify patterns and popular job themes. Pay attention to high-demand areas and use them to mold your profile effectively.
2. Profile optimization
Construct a straightforward and impactful profile that quickly highlights your language pair and specialty, based on your preliminary research. You’ll start with 0 reviews, and that will be an issue. Try to get any projects, even volunteer ones, to shape a 3-5 item portfolio showcasing varied expertise – that’ll become crucial to attracting future projects.
3. Perfect proposal
Effective proposals are the linchpin to securing freelance projects. Ensure they are concise, straightforward, visibly appealing, and within client’s budget. And remember it’s a numbers game – just keep sending proposals, even if nobody’s answering you.
Plenty of opportunities
A lot of jobs posted every day in most of the ‘common’ language pairs.
A chance to experiment
Here you’ll be able to experiment with your profile and proposals and see what works.
No CV required
In the three years I was active on Upwork, I was never asked for a resume.
If you made it this far, you must be really interested in landing translation jobs. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll get weekly tips on how to break into the industry.