Living On Your Own Terms
Life encourages feelings of oppression. On the surface, there are people who are demonstrably oppressed — the marginalized groups who lay claim to much of the social angst of our time. And perhaps rightly so. But oppression is not merely for the marginal. Or else maybe we are all marginal. Life feels difficult for so many of us, and for all of us some of the time, and it feels that way because it is. It is difficult. We are oppressed — by our communities, our state, the authorities, our employers, the economy, and even ourselves (after all, who is to blame but our own constitutions?).
Understandably, many of us seek freedom. Perhaps all of us do in one way or another, but many of us make it our goal to free ourselves from the thumbs that we are under. Perhaps we cannot enact large-scale change, but we can escape, wherever possible, the things that make us feel less free.
One of the ways that people do this, in particular young, tech-savvy people, is by turning to virtual, online, cloud-based employment. Much of this is freelance work, but some of it is full-time employment (and if you are lucky enough to find one of these jobs then you will likely be quite happy with it). The goal of this sort of job is to find freedom — even you may say to create freedom. It is a way of living on your own terms, no matter what else is stacked against you (and for some people the cards are stacked high). Working online allows you to work wherever you like, whenever you like, for whomever you like, and to do creative work that you likely love (or else you wouldn’t be doing it).
One of the fastest growing online niches is the translation market. There is a huge demand for translation services — particularly dealing with translating between English and either Spanish or one of the big languages of business — any of the languages spoken in India or China, for instance. These jobs pay people for translation, and they typically pay better than most other freelance services online (since this is a skill-laden field). If you are multi-lingual, especially if you have a degree in a foreign language or translation studies, and if you want to avoid working for a university or for the government, then online translation is something to consider. These jobs allow you to work how to you want to, and to work with language, which you likely love. In addition, they will afford you the time for other loves in your life — are you avoiding that unfinished novel on your desktop? Trying to record a new album? Make an independent film? Virtual jobs such as translating are a great choice for artists (of all calibers).
The New Nomad, The New Scholar, The New Artist
The new nomad moves online, and lives in the cloud. Some of us keep our bodies and homes still while moving through virtual space, working on a wide variety of projects. Others take that work with them and move — changing cities, even countries, as they see fit. Whatever your flavor, if you are an online worker you are a new nomad.
There is also an increasing presence of scholars in virtual work. So many of us who spent years at universities have felt the need to leave the education system (for a variety of reasons) and find our own way. Scholars, historically, were rebellious, and young scholars in the virtual community are beginning to refer to back to that tradition. Doing online translation work is a great way to keep your scholarly chops up while also giving you time to work on whatever independent scholarly endeavors you choose. No department head pressuring you to teach a certain kind of class. No colleague down the hall telling you your research is too far from the mainstream. No tenure reviews. Just you and your work (and whatever colleagues you seek out).
Finally, there are the artists. In a world of science, engineering, technology, and business, artists simply don’t make the money they once did. It is extremely difficult to live doing any kind of art exclusively, and if you do then you probably have to make a whole host of artistic concessions. Translating online allows you to work when you want to, get paid, and then do what you love, what drives you and fills you up, all the rest of the time. Except now you don’t have to worry about making money with your art, which means you can take real artistic chances and swear absolute allegiance to your own unwavering artistic sensibilities. A good piece of advice for artists and musicians is to get a degree in the humanities. This is in part good advice because it will give them the skills needed on the virtual language marketplace — writing, editing, and if you have the skills, then translation.
Getting Paid To Translate
Getting paid to translate is as easy as signing up for any number of translation sites or general freelance sites, looking around, pushing your name a little bit, and accepting jobs. The whole process can take as little as a few days before you have your first job, and if you are extraordinarily lucky it will be a long-term job (which allows you to stop hitting the pavement for new jobs for a while). Once you are working, it’s just a matter of perfecting your craft, bolstering your profiles and CVs, and setting your rates. If you are good and you are charging a fair rate, you will get jobs. There are simply too many translations that need to be performed and too few translators on the online market (or at least too few good ones).
It is worth remembering that you are a valuable commodity. You have a skill that most people don’t posses, particularly not if you are living in America, where most of the population speaks only one language. If you have university training, then you are in an even better position, and can eventually begin to charge more.
If you like this article, share it! And if you have something you’d like to add, then leave a comment below!