Super Translator Checklist


In our previous article, we shared a few tips to set aspiring translators on the path of success.

Now that you have recurring projects from a good number of clients, how do you make sure that you deliver your best work every time?

Here is a quick checklist that might be useful.

1. Before starting a project

  • First, do not start without receiving a PO or written confirmation from your client! Sudden cancelations are not unheard of.

  • Do not wait until the last minute to start!

  • Read the entire document before starting.

  • Check if there is any existing reference document.

  • Read all the reference documents.

  • Identify the terms to research.

  • Communicate any question to the client (BEFORE beginning the project).

  • Secure specialized dictionaries and glossaries.

2. During the translation

  • Make use of all the reference material and instructions provided.

  • Translate non-literally.

  • Choose appropriate vocabulary.

  • Make sure that the style of the target content flows naturally.

  • Verify all names and numbers in the target content.

  • Save the translated content (back up!).

3. After completing the translation

  • Run a spellcheck for spelling and grammar errors.

  • Verify all numbers (and their proper localization).

  • Verify all names.

  • Verify punctuation.

  • Check that there are no typos.

  • Check letter cases.

  • Check the numbering throughout the document.

  • Check all titles and headings.

  • Check that the headings are coherent with the text body.

  • Check that no content was omitted.

  • Review the translation once just after finishing.

  • Review the translation one more time (later).

That's all!

Happy translating!

How to Get Started as a Freelance Translator


Translation is a popular choice for global citizens who master one or more languages, and who want to start working independently. What does it take to become a full time translator? How can you kickstart your career once you've made up your mind?

1. Education and Skills

It should be obvious, but do not start marketing your services until you have acquired specific skills and some experience translating for several companies or clients.

There are numerous degrees offered by universities around the world that prepare translators and interpreters, and I would not recommend starting off without some formal education in the field. Translation tools are quite complex, and some skills can only be learned from experienced translators or interpreters who will pass them on to you.

2. Specialize!

As an agency, we receive dozens of applications every day, and it can be hard to understand what someone's strengths are. We would rather hear that a translator is specialized in banking and finance only rather than suggesting that he could handle any domain including medical, legal or automotive translation. Picking a few areas of specialization will be far more rewarding in the long run.

Some specializations to consider:

  • Marketing and creative content: high value since the content has to be impactful. Content will be short so adjust rates accordingly.

  • Literary: this is a great option if you are really passionate about literature or about a particular field (sports, arts, etc.).

  • Legal: to be considered only if you have legal training. The best legal translators are also paralegals or lawyers.

  • Technical: although intimidating, technical translation is mostly about being methodical and paying attention to detail. When leveraging CAT tools, it can be a profitable option for translators.

There are a LOT more areas one may consider specializing in. At the end of the day, the best area of specialization is the one only you can do, due to your particular background and interests.

One may also consider specializing based on specific media:

  • Subtitling (or even voice-over),

  • Websites (it helps if you have basic coding skills),

  • Sophisticated brochures, if you can handle InDesign or similar files too.

In a world where a lot of people claim they can translate anything, it pays to be specialized and to stick to what you're the best at.

3. Finding clients

Once you have chosen your area of specialization and the type of service you intend to provide, what is the best way to find clients?

  • Use your network: update all your professional profiles online, and let your friends, family and former colleagues know what you are doing.

  • Agencies: some people prefer to work directly with end clients, for various reasons, but agencies can actually be a great source of projects. Look for lists of popular agencies online or on ProZ and contact them all. Having 5 to 10 agencies you work regularly with is a good way to create a constant flow of projects and you will be able to focus on translating.

  • Online presence: make sure all your general and translation specific profiles are up-to-date: LinkedIn, ProZ, TranslatorCafe… but also well-known freelancing sites such as Fiverr, UpWork, If anything, it will help your visibility to have profiles on all platforms.

  • Direct clients: working directly with companies or individuals in your network is a great way to grow your own brand and negotiate the best terms for your contracts.

  • Conferences and trade fairs: are also a great way to meet potential clients. Check out what is happening in your local area online.

  • Professional networking groups: it can be very useful to join professional networking groups and mingle with other entrepreneurs, whether online or in your home city. Sites like Meetup or Eventbrite always suggest suitable events depending on your interests.

When looking for clients, it pays to have a system to keep track of communications, i.e. using a CRM. A favorite of mine for a few years has been Pipedrive, but even a simple spreadsheet can do.

4. Growing your personal brand

An aspect that is often overlooked by translators, especially once they have a regular flow of projects, is the need to grow their personal brand online.

The following will not take much time daily but could help you secure big clients and interesting projects:

  • Create your profile on all marketplaces and ask for recommendations from all your clients, your friends, their friends… you get the idea. For example, the “willingness to work again” on ProZ influences search results when clients look for translators. Great LinkedIn reviews may be very useful too, especially if you are considering other career opportunities!

  • Write a personal of professional blog: some translators have gained huge notoriety from writing successful blogs. One good example is Dmitry Kornyukhov's blog.

  • Contribute to knowledge bases and groups: ProZ KudoZ help network is a great place to get noticed and acknowledged by your peers, and a good ranking will also help you attract clients. LinkedIn has a large number of groups focused on translation too.

  • Create your personal website: creating your own website is very easy and affordable nowadays. Check out Squarespace and use one of their great-looking templates to create your own site!

5. Being an excellent translator

Translation is a noble profession and there is always room to grow and improve one's skills. Here are a few tips on how to keep improving:

  • Own specialized dictionaries, or bookmark online resources. Translators find a unique pleasure in finding bilingual glossaries that might save them hours of research.

  • Read (a lot!) in your area of specialization, both in your source language and in your target language.

  • Take an interest in IRL events related to your field of specialization (for example, attend Bitcoin meetups if you work on blockchain content!)

  • Maintain good communication with your clients. Asking them questions and requesting reference material is a great way to improve your service and gain their trust.

  • Go on holidays in countries where your source language is spoken.

We hope you found this post useful! There will be follow-up articles on the specific tools and workflows translators use and we hope you'll enjoy them too!

Do not hesitate to leave a comment or reach out on Twitter if you would like to discuss further!

Project Management at Kotoba

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Kotoba’s translation process is always a multistage process tailored to the needs of each client.

The whole life-cycle of a translation from the creation of the initial quote to the final delivery is handled by our experienced project managers.

They are the link with the client and they work behind the scenes to coordinate our team of translators and DTP specialists to ensure that every aspect of a client's project is completed efficiently according to the specific requirements and with high precision and accuracy.

At Kotoba, every project that we launch goes through five clearly defined stages:

1. Planning the project

Every project starts with a kick-off meeting to introduce the team to the new client, understand the scope and requirements of the project and present a quote based on the analysis of the files.

We have automated part of our translation process with our new portal. Now, it is even faster and easier for our clients to submit files and new requests with just a few clicks, and we will get to work immediately.

Our automated quotation and ordering processes help us strive in fast turnaround jobs.

2. Preparation and assignment

After establishing the client’s needs, a detailed workflow designed to meet the timeline and specific requirements is implemented. We allocate the project to the right resources choosing the most appropriate translators and proofreaders from our team.

The files are analyzed and prepared for translation regardless of whether a CAT Tool will be used or not, early identification of any potential problem is key to address any issue that may require intervention by the client and to prevent any unforeseen setbacks during the process.

3. Translation

The translation itself is the core part of the project and is only successful when the other steps have been effectively planned and completed.

The project manager provides access to translation memories, style-guides or reference materials to the assigned resources and supervises the process sending questions to the client for clarification and providing support and feedback so that the translation, editing, and proofreading are completed flawlessly and on time.

4. Post-formatting

After the translation, our skilled DTP team ensures that all the content is displayed correctly in the target documents and does the necessary image and graphic editing. When completed, the translation is again reviewed by the team at Kotoba to make sure it follows the original format and all texts and graphics have been kept identical to the source.

In the case of localization, once the client has implemented the content in their website, app or platform, one of our translators does a final check before the content goes live.

5. Delivery

The project manager delivers the final files to the client in the specified format, confirms that client is satisfied with the content and discusses feedback where applicable.


How to Apply as a Translator?

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How to apply as a translator?

Are you a qualified professional translator looking for freelance work?

At Kotoba Translation, we are always looking for great translators and proofreaders who have relevant experience in the Blockchain and FinTech fields.

If you meet our requirements and would like to be part of our team, don’t hesitate to apply via our website!

There's a lot more to being a professional translator than being able to speak another language, so we also require our translators to:

  • Be a professional translator. Please state clearly your qualifications and any professional memberships on your CV.

  • Be a native speaker of the language you are applying for.

  • Have content knowledge and related experience in relevant terminology (Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, FinTech, Networks, Banking and Finance).

Applying is easy and intuitive. If you feel that you meet the criteria, complete the short registration form on our website. Fill it in carefully and thoroughly and please be aware that quality of written language is part of the selection process, so pay attention to detail!

State clearly your language combinations, qualifications, and areas of knowledge. Include your rates for translation and any other services offered.

If we find your profile suitable for us, we will contact you to register your information in our database and you will receive brand new credentials for our portal.

We look forward to hearing from you!