Insecurities are a common factor of life for anyone starting a new career. You are new to the job; your experience is limited and there’s always that fear of failure. For translators, these insecurities may be exacerbated by the nature of our work and the uncertainties we face.

Major insecurities

Working as a freelancer is not easy. We need a lot of discipline and work in order to succeed and it takes time to achieve our goals. This depends on the languages we work with of course. Some may work with a high demand language pair and, for them, it is easier to get clients and achieve goals, others may work with languages that don’t have such demand and they have to work harder to get where they want.

The limited and uncertain income may also add to our insecurities. Some may think that they don’t have a bigger income because they may not be good enough. They may undercharge because of that belief, which leads to an even lower income. It can be a spiral taking us down.

Being a translator and working as a freelancer can also be a very lonely job and some may isolate themselves from other colleagues, either for that fear of not being as good as them or for fear they will not take them seriously because they are just starting up.

Possible solutions

There’s no right or wrong solution for this. At the end of the day, we all feel insecure about the unknown, and starting a new career is exactly that, the unknown. However, there are always ways we can help ourselves and others dealing with such a situation.

I believe one of them is believing ourselves. The beginning doesn’t mean “not good enough”, the beginning means the start of something. We are good enough, yes, we may have less experience than other colleagues, but we know how to do the job and we are as good as them, just with a little less experience that will come with time, just like it came for them.  That will help us to price our work properly and be more confident in doing it.

Socialising is another important way of feeling more confident and solve a few insecurities. Although we may all be competing with each other, we are a professional community that is here to help each other. So, talking to other colleagues, finding a good mentoring program and get a mentor or attending networking events will also help us get in contact with other colleagues and exchange ideas with them. With time, we may be in a position of becoming mentors ourselves and help other colleagues overcame the same insecurities we faced when we started out as translators.