The coronavirus pandemic has left people around the world out of work. Many of them are turning to new freelance careers to replace lost income streams. In this article, we look at freelance writing as a career – in particular, freelance writing for those who are fluent in two or more languages.
There are plenty of companies out there that employ freelance writers. Translation agencies, for example, provide multilingual content writing services to clients around the globe – and thus employ freelance content writers from across the world.
How to translate your writing skills into a solid income
How do I start a freelance writing career with no experience?
If your focus right now is on asking, “How do I start a freelance writing career?” then read on! You’re certainly not alone in looking for an alternative source of income. Federal data shows that a staggering 17 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus in the space of just three weeks. That’s over 10% of the nation’s workforce.
Every freelance writer has to start somewhere, whether they’re working on website copy, blog posts, white papers or any other kind of written content. Reading up on tips to ensure your writing is tip-top is a great start, just don’t spend too long going down that rabbit hole!
Building up some experience and your online reputation are the key elements to focus on when you’re starting your freelance writing career, no matter how many languages you plan to write in.
Where can those who write and translate find work?
How do freelance writers get work? Just as freelance translators have been working online for years, freelance writers have a vast amount of options out there thanks to the internet. There are plenty of places where you can build up your skills and experience, from country-specific content mills to international job board sites such as the market-leading Upwork. Search for freelance writing jobs on Upwork and you’ll have more than 2,685 jobs to apply for. Many will want experienced writers, but others will be prepared to give newbies a chance.
Registering for multiple sites obviously takes more time, but it also means more opportunities to start your writing career, so it is well worth doing. There are plenty of sites out there that pay for writing work, so do your research and target those that are most suited to your skills.
Using your existing networks is also important when first starting out as a multilingual content writer. That means letting both your direct contacts and your social business network know that you’re ready to write and available, so update that LinkedIn profile and your personal website and start reaching out!
Making money online through writing and translation
There are so many similarities between freelance writers and freelance translators. Can you make a living as a freelance writer? Yes, you absolutely can, just as you can through providing professional translation services.
Let’s talk a little bit about money here. How much should you charge for a 500-word article? That depends on your experience, your competition, your cost of living and the demand for the languages that you write in! There are no fixed rates here; you can charge any rate that is acceptable to both you and the client for whom you’re writing.
It’s likely that when your multilingual writing career begins, you will have to ‘pay your dues’ and charge less than you would like for your first few articles. However, you can quickly up your rates once your clients have provided glowing testimonials about what a fantastic writer you are.
Bear in mind as well that different kinds of writing work pay different rates. Consider your past career experience and how it can contribute to your writing. Do you come from a technical, medical or legal background? In that case, your specialist knowledge may well provide you with the potential to earn a higher rate of pay.
What is multilingual writing?
Writing in multiple languages can also provide you with a greater income. Multilingual writing refers to the provision of content in more than one language. You can write standalone articles in multiple languages, or deliver article writing services that include the translation and localization of one article into other languages.
Are languages important in business? Yes, absolutely! Businesses around the world use multilingual content marketing to build up their customer bases and they can’t do it without a steady stream of content in multiple languages – for which they need writers who can deliver unique content in translation.
If you’re looking to launch a multilingual content writing career, it’s important to set up your online profile in all of the languages in which you plan to write. The translation and localization of your profile mean that you can connect directly with clients around the world, thus increasing your pool of potential clients, your potential income and the variety of work that’s likely to land on your desk.
Networking through social media in each language that you plan to write in is also important. When you write for a living, the more people who know about it, the better!
It’s also worth approaching language service providers for multilingual content writing work. Companies that provide translation and localization services often have connections with clients who need original content in more than one language. Those companies take care of the marketing work involved in finding clients, as well as chasing them for payment and the other admin related to running a content writing business. As such, all you need to worry about is producing the content.
Working with language service providers like this can be a great way to get into multilingual content writing. Doing so also provides a chance to use your language skills in other ways – through providing translation, interpretation or localization services, for example.
Writing and translation – career prospects
Is freelance copywriting a good career? Again, just like translation, freelance copywriting is a good career to get into if you have the right skills and are happy to work through the initial phase of taking lower-paid jobs while you establish your credentials. It’s likely you’ll write on some rather random topics as you get your career started but be clear from the outset on your areas of expertise and the languages that you offer, and you’ll eventually settle into the niche that suits you best.
Ofer Tirosh is CEO of Tomedes, a translation and localization agency that provides multilingual content for business clients around the world.