7 Good Reasons to Grow from Freelancer to Entrepreneur on SmartCAT

Being a freelance translator is great. You don’t need to report to a boss, you can work from anywhere, and only you manage your own time. Sounds a lot like being an entrepreneur, doesn’t it? The only difference is that your days/weeks off are “earnings off,” too. So at some point you start asking yourself: “What if? What if I make the switch from freelancer to entrepreneur?”

Published by Vova on November 29, 2016

Freelancer to Entrepreneur

If you have enough clients to secure your income with the agency markup only, we laud this move! But keep in mind that being the “middle link” is not as easy as it sounds, and you must carefully choose the right tools to help you along the way. Otherwise you might end up spending more than gaining (both time- and money-wise), and your dreams of carefree “businesspersonhood” will be soon shattered.

For a translator going from freelancer to entrepreneur, SmartCAT provides unique benefits — unique as in “no other solution can offer” — and here are the most important of them.

Note: This article is first posted without screenshots — tune back in a few days to see them!

1. Manage your entire translation team

Do you have a spouse, a friend or a colleague to start the business together? Just add them to your account, and start collaborating on translation projects with zero friction. Or maybe you have a whole Facebook group you want to use as your core team? No problem, either. SmartCAT does not limit the number of users you can have in your account.

Adding an account user

Adding an account user in SmartCAT

Once added, all team members can collaborate in real time — without splitting and merging documents (see #5), sending translation memories back and forth, and so on.

2. Set up multi-stage projects easily

One of the benefits of working as a team is reviewing each other’s work and thus improving the quality. SmartCAT allows you to set up as many project stages as you wish (e.g., translation, editing, proofreading).

Setting up workflow stages

Setting up workflow stages in SmartCAT

Whether you work as an editor yourself or hire one via the SmartCAT marketplace (see #3), you can track the progress across all stages in real time. And the editor won’t need to wait for the translator’s work to be finished to start editing (see #5)!

3. Hire additional hands in two clicks

As you grow, your orders will hopefully start getting bigger and bigger. And the last thing you want is to get a super-lucrative job offer just to decline it because of pressing deadlines or lack of specialization.

On SmartCAT, you won’t ever run into a “capacity outage.” We have a listing of 70,000+ freelancers translating in all kinds of fields and language pairs (you just might be one of them).

Assigning a freelancer

Assigning a freelancer in SmartCAT

And once you hire them, you can manage their work just as you do for your “native” team — and also pay to them via SmartCAT (see #6). You do pay a 10% commission for hiring them (that’s how we monetize, basically), but the manageability and transparency benefits you get far outweigh this fee.

(Note: the price you see is the price you pay — the commission is already added on top of the freelancer’s rate.)

4. Get hired by other agencies or direct clients

It’s good if you have enough clients to make the turn from freelancer to entrepreneur — but clients can’t be too many, right? SmartCAT’s customers include more than 1500 companies, many of which are large agencies and direct clients. Some of them hire freelancers directly via SmartCAT, but some prefer to hire other agencies.

That’s why we are gradually rolling out vendor profiles for LSPs, too. They work just as freelancer profiles do, but have a more corporate vibe to them.

Adding LSP vendor info in SmartCAT

Adding LSP vendor info in SmartCAT

When you get an order from another company as a corporate vendor, the project comes right to your account, and you can manage and execute it just as if it were your own project — add multiple stages, hire freelancers, and so on.

Note: Vendor profiles are a beta feature — write to support@smartcat.ai if you want us to turn it on for you!

5. Use the world’s most powerful collaborative translation engine

“Collaboration” is a buzzword that is often misused. In SmartCAT, collaboration is as real as you would expect — from simultaneously working on the same document to communicating in context to editors’ reviewing translators’ work in real time. Check out this video to see how it works:

Whether your main model is working as a team or editing other people’s work, you will benefit from being able to do this in a manageable and transparent way.

6. Get a single hub for all your transactions

Managing finances with multiple parties to pay to and to be paid by is as big a headache as you can imagine — especially if your country’s legislation is far from being debureaucratized and startup-friendly. SmartCAT rids you of this headache. You can both receive and issue payments using the platform as a “clearing center.”

Viewing payment history in SmartCAT

Viewing payment history in SmartCAT

We support multiple payment scenarios such as wire transfers, credit card, and PayPal payments — all in a clear and legit fashion.

By the way, the use cases aren’t limited to hiring freelance translators on the marketplace. For example, you can hire a freelance designer to turn a translation into a shiny leaflet (and hence offer this kind of service to your own clients). The same commission applies: 10% of that freelancer’s rate.

7. Manage your projects from your handheld

Coming back to “carefree businesspersonhood”: Constantly managing your projects from the web interface you to your desk or, at best, laptop. At SmartCAT, we go to great lengths to make translation technology easy for everyone, that’s why we have recently introduced chatbots — smart assistants that let you monitor and control your projects using the messenger of your choice. To see what it looks like, check out this video:

We’re just starting out with these bots, and there’s a long way to go to make them really smart. But we are putting a lot of effort into this, so rest assured that we will keep making the life easier for you as a project manager

Finally: SmartCAT is free — like, really free

This discussion would be incomplete without a financial perspective. Choosing a “trickily licensed” CAT tool (such as “free for 10 users/TMs/thousand words, paid afterwards”) may drain your purse before you grow big enough to sustain these costs.

SmartCAT is free of any license or subscription fees. Besides corporate-esque options such as VIP support and on-premises installation, and the already-mentioned 10% commission for hiring freelancers via SmartCAT, the only thing you might opt to pay for is image recognition and machine translation (which can also be free if you agree to send your translations to Microsoft for bettering their MT engine). And even those are ridiculously cheap. Use them or forget them as you wish — we are not pushing or pitching them, just putting them there for your convenience.


Did these reasons sound unique enough to you? Now add to this that all of them come on top of what you get as a freelancer on the platform — such as unlimited projects, documents, translation memories, glossaries, and so on. That’s where the unique-o-meter crashes due to overflow.

Where’s the catch? There’s none. We know it’s hard to believe — but we trust in the power of growing together. We want more freelancers to form teams, more small teams to become bigger, more large teams to become successful corporations. That’s what we’re here for — to help you grow, and to grow with you.

The millennial generation is bringing new demands that cannot be catered to using dated monetization models, and we have something new to offer.

We are confident that the future is on our side. Now, do you want to join this future?

If you do, sign up with a free corporate account right now!

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