In general, management is what anyone does to accomplish their desired goals and objectives. In the language industry, in order to anticipate to business risks and prevent them, professionals must first acknowledge that you are not just communicators, but also managers of your own businesses. But, what is a risk exactly? A risk is, in broad terms, the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss, an undesirable outcome. When offering language services professionally, whatever we do, or don't do, as business people, will directly affect the outcome of our activities, i.e. our income.
The ProZ.com Blue Board is a complete, searchable database of business records containing feedback that service providers have left regarding their experiences working for them. All users can see business names, submit entries of their own, and access the business' average rating. Meanwhile, ProZ.com members also have access to the specific comments left by other service providers, their general ratings and other information such as quality, adherence to terms and payment terms, non-payment reports (if any), as well as company information, such as phone number and address.
The freelance translator’s goal is to be able to focus on work, while the offers come to you. However, when a potential client approaches you with an offer, you should check for the usual warning signs before taking any further steps.
Most legitimate job offers will be easy to identify as such. However, when in doubt --always doubt!-- visit the Scam alert center and check known scams by date, name, email address, offer text and more.
Normally, an email address or a company name are not enough information to identify a business. When approached by a potential client, weather an individual or a business, there are several strategies that can be applied to know who is actually behind the offer.
Start by checking the web for the clients name, website, address and phone number. The ProZ.com business directory can help you with this. Business directory entries will show you client business information such as legal name, website, known domains and employees, job activity and Blue Board information, among other data.
Before accepting offers from clients, it is recommended that both client and service provider discuss and agree on the terms and conditions for the job. Conditions usually discussed include delivery format, deadline, and rates, but also copyright, payment method, confidentiality, and other terms should be agreed in advance to avoid issue later on.
Use the ProZ.com service agreement tool allows to create, send and track service agreements online, and have a written a signed document containing the terms and conditions for whatever job you access to perform.
Setting your freelance rates can be a challenging, especially if you offer more than translation services, you work in different language pairs and for clients all around the world. However, deciding what you are going to charge for your services is something you must do if you want to attract the right clients.
When setting your rates, pay attention to factors such as your experience in a given pair+field combination, the amount of working hours per day/week/month, business-related costs, desired personal income and productivity. Use the ProZ.com rates calculator to determine your rates and see average rates reported by the ProZ.com community. And don't forget to report your rates in your profile!
One of the most common risks freelancers run is not getting paid for their jobs. If there are no issues with the product delivered, there are other reasons why language professional may not get paid on time, or may not be paid at all. One of these is not being ready to receive payments.
Use the ProZ.com invoicing tool to create and send invoices online as soon as you complete projects, and set-up your payment preferences to receive payments through ProZ*Pay, a ProZ.com payment service that even allows you to get paid before the agreed upon date!