How Do I Become a Freelance Interpreter?
The primary requirement to become a freelance interpreter is being fluent in two or more languages. Having a college degree in a languages-related field and certification confirming your fluency also can help you to attract clients. Once the necessary skills and certifications are in place, a solid marketing plan can help you gain a variety of clients. Offering your services on a short-term trial basis — whether free or not — also can help clients feel comfortable hiring you for a more long-term project.
The most basic way to successfully become a freelance interpreter is to get a college degree with an emphasis on language. Though this is not required for many interpreting jobs, it can improve your chances of finding clients, because many choose the most educated interpreters over those without a formal college degree. A bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient for this job, with a major in either interpreting or a language of your choice often being the best fields of study. If you lack the money or time to get a bachelor’s degree before you attempt to become a freelance interpreter, then you may want to consider getting an associate’s degree in a related subject, because some college is often considered better than none.
Another way to improve your ability to become a freelance interpreter is to get certified in this industry. This often involves passing a test and meeting certain requirements regarding your education and experience. You should find out the prerequisites for certification in your area so you can prepare to turn in any required documents before taking the test. In many cases, becoming certified allows you to use resources to which you otherwise might not have access. The benefits may include job leads, support from other experts in the field and opportunities for continuing education, such as seminars and conferences.
Once you have the proper education and certification to become a freelance interpreter, you need to begin marketing yourself. You are urged to find several clients if you want to earn a full-time income, because many companies that need interpreting services only need them part-time or occasionally. Marketing may include posting and responding to job ads, creating and distributing business cards among acquaintances, and making a website to advertise your services. It may take several years to begin making a living after you become a freelance interpreter, but persistence, language skills and knowledge of your field should eventually pay off.
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