I’m a big advocate for how Fiverr works, not only because I’ve been a seller on their platform for more than one year now, but also because it has granted me opportunities that I could have only dreamt of hadn’t I been on the platform in the first place. As you can see from the images below, I’ve collected 130 5-star reviews so far, and I’ve completed 200+ orders since I started on Fiverr. And I’m not even a full-time translator!
I started on the platform as a translator, but I went on to focus on content marketing as I progressed in my career (I still translate and will continue doing so for many years to come). So, I am 100% sure that you can reach the same success as I did in less than a year on Fiverr. But how? I prepared a step-by-step guide showing you the process that I went through, and how you can differentiate yourself from the competition in a valuable, efficient way.
Before we dive deep into how to find the best freelance translation jobs from home, you really have to think about how you are marketing yourself to prospects though. Do you want to work with MT (Machine Translation) providers? Then make sure your client knows about this up front.
It’s much better to be transparent rather than hide how you truly work. MT is not a bad thing! Step by step, your client will eventually realize what kind of benefits they get from choosing either post-editing or manual translation. It’s an important distinction to make before you start looking for any job.
Find Out What Differentiates You From Other Freelance Translators
The first question you have to ask yourself is what makes you different from other translators on the market today. From personal experience, I can tell you that most translators who offer their services via digital platforms either undersell themselves or they aren’t professionals at all.
People who can speak two languages jump on the train quicker than anybody else because they see the opportunity for a quick buck. The result? “Professionals” from all around the word getting plenty of freelance translation jobs from their own home at a rate of 500 words for $5, which is around $0,01/word (minus the 20% tax, so a grand total of $0.008/word).
You can see an example in the image below.
Inherently, there is no problem with people offering competitive services that bring the client from point A to point B; however, I’ve seen time and time again how this idea tanks the image of professional translators who actually have an education or which have spent considerable time learning on field instead of “just” being bilingual.
So, before you go on the hunt for freelance translation jobs, think about what differentiates you from any guy that can translate “any kind of document” in 24 hours for $5. If you’re going for the high-end (even though there’s nothing wrong with the low-end), be willing to wait for offers, and market yourself as a true expert. Make sure you deliver what you preach in your marketing.
The message here is that you should spend some time studying your image before you go out on a limb and start sending messages to people who might not need the kind of quality you offer. Pick up a pen and jot down the best representation of your offering. Then, match that offering with the slice of the market that might be looking for your translation services.
If you don’t do this beforehand, you might find yourself having to take on offers that aren’t as relevant to your specialization as you would hope, and that can lead to some frustration over time. Finding freelance translation jobs from home is all about knowing how to market yourself as an expert—YOU have to tell clients what they’re looking for, not the other way around.
Why Use Fiverr Instead of Other Platforms?
That’s a lot of work. And on top of that, you’d never be 100% sure whether or not your content would rank on search engines such as Google, Bing, or any other major provider. That is not the case with Fiverr. The platform itself has a ton of so-called “buyers” already signed up to their service, which means that once you take the time to build your profile, you already have the opportunity to rack up momentum in the translation niche.
Reasons Why You Should Use Fiverr
This process won’t be an overnight success, but if you apply the correct steps, you can go from part-time freelance translation job seeker to full-time translation powerhouse. The reason why you should use Fiverr initially is that it’s easy to set up and allows you to understand the market quickly. Creating your own profile as a “New Seller” on Fiverr allows you to:
- Post your professional services for free
- Receive a one-month bonus on Fiverr’s first page
- Get some cash flowing immediately rather than waiting
- Gather experience on real translation work and in-demand topics
- Learn how to communicate with clients and how to set requirements
- Make sense of your work and your rankings with in-depth analytics data
… and a lot more.
Fiverr is a free, open marketplace that allows you to start (or continue) your translation career by seizing freelance translation jobs that are relevant and in-demand. The platform’s easy-to-understand system is what makes it such a compelling offer. You don’t have to be a genius in order to understand Fiverr, but you should be willing to work hard for your clients directly from home.
You’re Not A Translator… You’re A Marketer!
Remember, you’re only a freelance translator after you’ve gone through the marketing mumbo jumbo. What most people don’t realize after coming out of translation school is that their skills are extremely valuable, but also very, very specific. If you don’t find the right prospects, you’re usually out of luck.
This means that even if your education is bulletproof, you still have to spend some time researching the market before you throw yourself into the mix. From personal experience, I can tell you that marketing myself as a trustworthy technical translator has done wonders for my business, especially when it comes to retaining clients for a longer period of time.
When I first started doing translation work, I didn’t have any idea how the market was structured, and I was doing exactly the same thing as everybody else—underselling my services. And that was fine… for a while. Getting my first freelance translation jobs from home was easy, but not very satisfying.
Day after day I grew frustrated with making pennies out of serious work, and I decided to recreate my image from scratch. It’s far from perfect, but the clients that contact me today are much more interested in serious long-term relationships. And they all ask for technical translations, which is what I do.
That’s what I suggest you do as well. I’m not saying you should spend months studying marketing before you land your first order, but you should at the very least think about your image. Create a personal brand! It truly is the best way to deliver a professional message.
How To Get Started on Fiverr (or Any Other Platform)
Starting Your Translation Journey
Sign up here (Fiverr) by entering your email, choosing a username (pay close attention to this step because you won’t be able to change it later on), and creating a password. You want to use a password that you’ve never used before since Fiverr is going to store your payment information and how much you’re making each month on the platform. Then, once you’ve taken all the necessary steps, confirm your email, and boom—you’re in! Easy, right?
As I said, Fiverr is an open platform, so there are no strict requirements on past education or anything like that. I believe this is the blessing (and the curse) of a platform that is truly agnostic in its offering. The same cannot be said about websites such as Peopleperhour (even though I have nothing against it). I suggest you read this post from Fiverr themselves to follow best practices on your profile. It has everything you need to know.
Then, once you’ve gone through that short post and learned more about how Fiverr profiles work, it’s time to create your first “Gig.” A gig is a service that you offer in exchange for money. In our case, you’re going to offer translation in any language pair you see fit for your skills and your education. Let’s go through how to create your first gig in the next section.
Take Your Time To Understand The Process… Don’t Rush It!
One of the biggest mistakes I made when first starting out with my translation work was wanting it all as soon as possible. What I mean by that is that I was willing to work for anything, anyone, at any point in time. My life had become this infinite grind where work was all that mattered.
Do yourself a favor and take your time.
Yes, you might not make that much money initially, but that’s ok. The best things in life can only be built with time, effort, and some degree of sacrifice. If you have the ambition and the drive to do things that matter, you need to develop a strategy, and that takes time. Nobody’s chasing you.
Start by moving the first steps, even if that means accepting some lower quality freelance translation jobs. Literally every project will help you understand how to go forward, and what’s more important in your niche or in your area of expertise. Set up some realistic, time-bound goals.
For example, if you were just starting out, you could set up the goal of finding at least six clients to work with in the first month. It’s realistic, it doesn’t mention anything about revenue, and it takes you from point A to point B… Next month, what about optimizing your brand image?
Marketing can become a mixed bag of good and bad results, but you ultimately learn from everything you do. I suggest learning about marketing yourself from award-winning translator Tess Whitty on Marketing Tips for Translators. It’s a great resource for all translators around the world.
How Fiverr Gigs Can Help You Seize Freelance Translation Jobs
Fiverr doesn’t work like that; it has a system of its own based on inbound marketing (more on that here). The platform does offer a feature called “Buyer Requests” to send out proposals, but I don’t suggest using it. If you want to work from home, this is truly the place to be.
Follow This Step-by-Step Guide
When first starting out, you should spend a few hours creating the most amazing gig Fiverr has ever seen in the translation space. That’s how Fiverr notices whether you’re a good seller or not. They want to see people that proactively make their marketplace a stronger, more relevant place to find work. If you can do that, you’ve struck gold. Seizing the best freelance translation jobs from home will become easy if you do the following:
- Create a strong title; the first thing you want to do on your gig is creating a title that represents what you do best. You have to think from the buyer’s perspective, not yours. What are they likely to type in Fiverr’s search engine? If you’re a translator, you don’t have much of a choice. For example, my best-selling translation gig is currently titled “I will translate from English into Italian and Back Native Translation.”
- Select all the language pairs that you’re going to work with; I would suggest only working with your native language and maybe your second language. Putting in “I Will Translate A Billion Languages Back and Forth” does not pay off, even if you do know those languages. People will be confused as to what you actually offer and they’ll think that you’d be willing to do any job for peanuts, which is never good.
- Do not skip the all-important search tags! I’m going to share an amazing trick with you which works all the time. Open an incognito window and type “[X Language] Translation” in the search bar, then see what comes out. You will see a “Suggested” section that will show you all the related search tags for that specific query. Find relevant ones and put transfer them directly into the gig’s search tags!
- You are onto pricing; this is a bit of a tricky one, and you might want to consider your experience in the field before shooting for the moon. One thing I always suggest you should do is take a look at other gigs in your niche and see how much they are charging. Do not charge the same as top-tier Fiverr sellers such as “Top Rated Sellers,” you won’t be able to compete. Find a good balance.
- What about “packages” and “extras”? If you’re just starting out, I would suggest not activating the packages feature at all. Rather, you should simply offer translation plus proofreading at a fixed per-word rate. Fiverr does not offer hourly projects, so stick to a per-word rate that works for you and start without any special extra, it’ll only confuse you. Learn more about packages and extras.
- Description and FAQs; you’re on your way to seizing your very first freelance translation job on Fiverr! Don’t give up now. Write an amazing description and some FAQs that will help your prospects better understand what they’re going for. I always suggest writing original content rather than regurgitating other people’s descriptions and risk getting penalized. You can find out more about this here.
- Your gig’s requirements; when people order from you, they need to send you the necessary files and requirements in order for you to actually understand what their project is all about. That’s what gig requirements are. You don’t have to do much initially; simply ask for the language pair they’re looking for, the source file, and some information about the project. Don’t spend too much time on this.
- Last but not least, your gig images; I would argue this is the single most important step out of the entire process. If you want to get those precious freelance translation jobs, you should never settle for subpar images. Create your own thumbnails with free software like Canva! Make a custom thumbnail that shows your face, a short title, and some branding if you want to. You can see my gig’s image below.
I know, I know… It’s a lot more than you initially thought, right? Yet it’s 100% worth it. I’m telling you, if you spend the time crafting an amazing gig for your prospects, there is no way you’re not getting a freelance translation job on Fiverr. No way. The platform is so well-built that you’ll start ranking in a few days, and by then, you’ll be happily working as a freelancer from home!
A Quick Recap
Just a quick recap on how to start your Fiverr journey:
- Sign up to Fiverr
- Create a strong profile
- Create a professional gig
- Publish your gig and just wait
The fourth step is very important. You’re not going to get any requests the same day or the day after you published your gig; this is 100% normal as the system needs time to process your data. Do not change anything about your gig until you start seeing some impressions in Fiverr’s analytics tool (more on that here)! If you make any changes, that’ll tell the search engine that it should reposition you on the search results, making a mess of your ranking.
Once you’ve built an amazing gig, be patient. Spend time improving other things in your professional career or even look for clients outside of Fiverr. Experiment with other platforms and other methods. Never be dependent on just one income source. Make sure you download Fiverr’s mobile app (Google Play link) and activate notifications. That way, if you do get contacted by someone, you’ll know immediately, leading to our last point.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
This is a cliché, but it’s true. Always prioritize quality over quantity, even if you’re just starting out. Think about it… Would you rather make things that matter in the long-term, or would you rather do the same thing over and over again for years? Working from home doesn’t mean sacrificing on valuable work. Accept freelance translation jobs that make you happy.
The reason why I didn’t like my work as a translator initially was exactly because I was leaning towards the second option. The quick-and-dirty way might seem like the best one, but you’ll soon realize that it’ll get you stuck in a loop where you’re working a lot for pennies.
You have to prioritize professionalism over personality. Real-life businesses ultimately want someone that is efficient, reliable, but most importantly, someone who provides value. If you give your client value, they will love your work. There are a few ways to improve your work subconsciously:
- Take the initiative to start work as soon as possible
- Always have your tools ready to go and set up correctly
- Treat your client professionally even when they get angry (it happens)
- Try to work from a co-working space or an office-like environment
- Reduce clutter both in your physical and in your digital space
- Think of client work as if it was your own personal project
- Never underestimate a client’s expertise or know-how in their niche
The ultimate goal is to produce translations that matter. You want to produce content that resonates with the target audience and which inspires action, especially if you’re working in conversion-oriented markets like copywriting or advertisement. Be proactive; don’t wait for the client to tell you exactly what to do and what words to use. Produce and revise.
If you follow these guidelines, your reputation will improve over time. Start producing value and you’ll eventually have so many qualitative offers that you will not know how to schedule them. That is the time when a bell should ring in your head saying: “Raise your prices! Raise your prices!”
Closing The Freelance Translation Job Offer
The ugly part of freelancing is that you’re sometimes left in the dark about when you’re actually getting a job, but rest assured, you are getting a job. Actually, you’re going to get multiple jobs, and here’s how:
- First, your gig is out there in the wild. Once it’ll be properly indexed by Fiverr’s search engine, it’ll look like a small card in the middle of dozens of other cards. Don’t get scared by this; competition is normal and fair. Instead, use it to your advantage. Research your competitors.
- Then, what you should do after a few days is try to look for your gig by typing in the search tags that you used in your gig (by the way, use those tags in your title and description too, that’ll give you a boost in ranking). Open an incognito tab on Chrome and try looking for it.
- Once you find it, try and understand the competition (the other cards around you). Who are these people? What do they do? Do they do it better than you? Are they cheaper while still providing the same quality? How many reviews do they have? Is their image better?
All these questions are important because you’ll need to optimize your gig as time goes on. Getting the best freelance translation jobs on Fiverr means being the best there is on the platform. That’ll come with time. But you have to be prepared… Fiverr can make you very busy out of nowhere.
Fiverr’s One-Time “New Seller” Boost
The first messages will start coming in thanks to Fiverr’s one-month “New Seller” boost, which allows you to be seen on the first page for search queries related to your services. By all means take full advantage of this! You’re going to be shown on the very first page of Fiverr! And guess what, people will look at your gig because Fiverr has a lot of internet traffic coming in through their search engine. Make the gig impossible to ignore!
As you can see from the image above, there’s a new seller with three reviews on their gig already! She was already able to rack up some of that Fiverr translation goodness, and at a decent price too. Just like you, she’s new on the platform, yet she’s already reaping the benefits of using such a popular tool. Once people will see you on the first page, they will contact you. Do not waste any second, reply back asap, especially as a new seller.
If you can get to their message fast, that is basically a guarantee that they’ll pay you for their freelance translation job offer. Why? Because people on Fiverr always have their credit cards in hand. They’re always looking to buy; they use Fiverr exactly for that specific reason. So, if you can convince them that you’re worthy of their time (and money), they will pay. Simply make sure that their file is relevant for your services and reply with an offer!
That’s it, you’ve closed the deal and you’re now on your way to receiving your first 5-star review on Fiverr as a professional translator. Please note that Fiverr takes 20% of your total income for providing their service (learn more here), which is fair in the grand scheme of things. Once you receive the order, make sure to complete it in an efficient, orderly manner. The first orders are the most important ones, so get them done well!
Finding Freelance Translation Jobs Outside of Fiverr
Experience helps. If you can’t find too many freelance translation jobs from home for your specific language pair in the first weeks or months, don’t despair, they’re out there. You just need a higher degree of experience in order to understand the highly-segmented market of translation. This comes with time and a few projects under your belt. If you can’t find any jobs whatsoever, consider taking on non-profit translation or hobby translations.
There are plenty of organizations which require translation work, and they are constantly looking for volunteers who can help get this work done. One of these organizations is Translators Without Borders, but there are many other as well. Run a quick Google search and start putting in some real-world experience for your portfolio! Overall though, I suggest you start working on your Fiverr profile as soon as possible. Competition is rising!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. I tried to include all the most relevant details about how to find freelance translation jobs that matter directly from home using Fiverr. Feel free to add any method that you believe to be of value in the comments down below. Don’t forget to share this post with fellow translators. Sign up to Translation Domain’s newsletter to receive all the latest news, tips, and tricks in the world of translation. Stay tuned!