Making Time for Professional Development

So, you’ve read the books, stocked up on office supplies, picked up your company name and figured out your branding image. You’ve even managed to find a few clients already. All good right? Well yes, but it’s not enough. It’s also crucial to keep on learning, especially if you’ve already chosen your areas of specialisation.

136000100566ey2An important part of an independent translator’s work is also to keep apprised of the latest news and trends in his/her line of work. For instance, I’ve come to mainly work in the following areas: business communication, PR & marketing content, as well as tourism-related projects. I truly love it because it allows me to embrace my creative side. But it also means I need to know what’s up in these industries in order to further my knowledge of the specific terminology, for instance.

The easiest way remains online resources. There are countless academic papers, press releases, articles, etc. on these topics. A couple of days ago, I finished reading a very interesting  paper entitled « Translating Tourist Texts – Domesticating, Foreignising or Neutralising Approach ». It was published in the Journal of Specialised Translation (available here)

I particulary appreciated the mention of these familiar strategies mentioned many times during my academic training. How wonderful when it’s finally all about real-life practice!

No matter the speciality you choose, you should always make sure that you never stop documenting yourself. Having glossaries to rely on is paramount to high quality translations.

For enhanced efficiency, familiarise yourself with CAT-tools, learn how to use terminology tools to optimise your memories, glossaries and other datas.

I once read that when you work as a translator, you get to learn something new every single day. You’ll soon find out how true that is.


On the importance of branding

I’ve finished reading an article entitled « Freelancer or Independent Professional » by Herman Boel. I thought his piece was extremely relevant to translators in today’s globalised world. It actually tackles a topic which is of significance for any self-employed individual: branding and image.

Can you hear the difference between « freelance » and « independent professional »? It turns out I had asked myself the question a while ago. I had come to the conclusion that I preferred calling myself an « independent translator » rather than a « freelancer », without really being able to explain why precisely. The article worded the nuance perfectly well.

You have a boss (or you behave as if you have a boss)


Independent professional:
You are your own boss

Technically speaking you are still a self-employed individual. However, unconsciously your approach differs. It seems that « freelancer » bears a slight negative connotation. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we should stop using it altogether. But, in an industry where competition is fierce and differentiation is really difficult, especially online, every little detail counts. You’re offering your expertise, your service to clients, partners. It is important to act the part. Something doesn’t sit right with you? The rate? deadline? Then, you need to voice your concerns and negotiate until you both reach a win-win decision. That’s the fundamental basis to any solid, sustainable business relationships. Easier said than done? Maybe, especially for newbies. But, it’s necessary if you want to consider this activity on a long-term basis.

1383577362884taMy previous post was meant for junior translators fresh out of college who might be looking for some guidance on how to start out in the translation business. I think it is all the more important for them to be aware of this from the start. I’ve been working in the translation industry for almost three years now (which can still be considered junior!) and I’ve only stopped using the word « freelance » quite recently.

You are building a business, YOUR business. You get to decide what you’re selling and how you sell it. Your business is what you make of it. And the way you name it matters a great deal, all the more so as we, translators, are experts with words! What if we tasted our own medecine after all?