Finding small freelance translation jobs

I was recently asked how a non-certified translator could land smaller freelance jobs. Now I am certainly no expert on this, but I have done a few translations and know a bit or two about outsourcing from a buyer perspective, so here are a couple of suggestions on how I would go about landing smaller tasks.

Use your (social) network

  • This might go without saying, but it is no secret that many positions are announced solely on social networks nowadays. I would imagine people who successfully hired full-time employees using their networks to continue using the same channels for smaller tasks.

  • People you know might be aware of your skills, but not consider them simply because you don’t seem to be looking for opportunities. So get out there and announce your willingness on your LinkedIn profile, Facebook and Twitter.

Specialized sites

A couple of freelance sites specialize on translation jobs. I would imagine these to have better-paid jobs and more professional buyers than the general sites (see below), but I don’t have personal experience with any of these.

General freelance sites

I have used most of these and all of them are large, user-friendly sites. There is also a lot of competition going on, but if you manage to establish a decent profile there, it can be worth its weight in gold.

  • Elance
    The classic outsourcing site with a larger number of Western providers than the others.

  • Freelancer.com
  • oDesk
    Not many Western providers here, but the site is growing rapidly, so it can’t harm to have a profile there. (Yep, this is an affiliate link, I am not shy to recommend oDesk because it is the site I use most.) They have a payment guarantee for providers, which is kind-of like traditional escrow.
  • Guru.com
    A smaller site that I used once.

Are you a freelancer, translator or otherwise? What are your experiences in the current economy and with the sites I listed? Know of any better ones? Please let me and others know below!

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