If you are a freelancer that is lucky enough to speak two (or maybe more) languages, you may want to further your career by freelancing in multiple tongues.
This is certainly a benefit and an excellent way to earn a little extra cash, but there are a lot of things to consider. Here are some top tips for balancing freelancing in multiple languages.
- Stick to Writing in Your Mother Tongue
It is always better to write articles, particularly lengthy or complex ones, in your mother tongue. Studies have shown that adult learners of a language (referring to people who started learning after the age of eight, and were not raised bilingually) will often plateau after a certain point, never really reaching full proficiency of their second language. Therefore, it is likely that you will make mistakes when writing in your second language, no matter how long you have been learning it.
Having a native-like grasp of the language is possible, but even so it is better to write in your own native language. Sadly, the way the human brain works means that you will always be more fluent in your native language and better able to write a more creative, flowing piece. So, it is advisable to try and stick to actually writing the pieces in your first language.
2. Edit and Proofread More
With that said, try and find more editing and proofreading work. You definitely have the skills necessary, as a writer, to edit and proofread blogs and articles, that have been translated from the language you know well to your native language.
You will have an understanding of where the translator is coming from and therefore interpret mistakes better.
This is an obvious choice for bilingual speakers, but there is still something to consider: you should always translate from your second language into your first. The text will sound more natural if you translate it into your mother tongue, and usually when clients request a freelance translator, they specify that they want a native speaker. Always try to translate this way around, just to ensure that the article sounds completely normal for other native speakers who will be reading it.
4. Get a Second Opinion
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have translated into your second language, or written or edited an article written in it, then it is definitely advisable to ask for a second opinion. Do not be afraid to contact a native speaker of the language for a little help in checking that the piece sounds completely natural and correct.