Reviewing Translation Books

Are you looking to start your small translation business? Or are you trying to gain more direct clients but don’t know how? These two books will give you great insight in that regard (and more).

The book I would recommend to a translator in his/her first year of business would be:

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne Mckay

After reading it, I can say that it’s a great book for beginning translators. Once you’ve finished your startup phase, you might want to pick a book that goes even further. But, with that one you can take away interesting advice and relevant input for a one-person business, regardless of how long you’ve been practising. It’s easy to read and very informative, although I’d note that it’s really focused on the US market and US specificities. Nonetheless, it’s often easily transposable to other contexts.

In conclusion, it is your go-to book if you are launching your activity or in your first year of business. Then, it’s time to take it up a notch and move on to:

The Entrepreneurial Linguist | The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation by Judy & Dagmar Jenner.

I really enjoyed this book written by the famous Jenner Twins. It covers a wide array of topics from marketing advice to strategies enabling you to acquire more clients, as well as ideas for professional development. I thought the many illustrations based on their own experiences (negotiation, networking, association volunteering, etc) were extremely relevant. Besides, they offer a very positive, dynamic outlook on the possibilities that await you if you’re willing to put in the hard work. After reading it, you will feel pumped up and ready to take on the translation world. As the Jenner twins work only with direct clients, their view of the industry is refreshing and very stimulating. After finishing it, I was bursting with ideas allowing me to grow my own business. Try it, you won’t put it down.

Making Time for Professional Development (Part 2)

Following up on this major topic, I’d like to add that it is also professionally and personally essential to set aside some time to attend a translation-related conference each year. At least,that’s the goal I set for myself. Last year, I went to Geneva to attend a conference entitled « Traduire pour le grand public ». It was so enriching to meet with and hear from fellow translators.

You’ll get to exchange face to face with fellow translators and even potential clients. It’s a great opportunity to network and « put yourself out there » in the real world to start making a name for yourself.

Take advantage of local meetups organised by the different official organisations (if you live in Europe, you’ll see there are plenty of opportunities to socialise with your peers thanks to the numerous professional bodies).

13942303150imlvBeing an independent professional means you need to do every job (CEO, CFO, accountant, community management, administrative officer, etc.) Some people think that people who work from home have it easy. If only they knew!

It’s a demanding job that requires discipline, rigour and passion. You don’t keep track of time and yet, you need to make sure you have enough of it to cover every aspect of this immensely rewarding profession!

Let’s be poetic for a minute: Your translating business is like a tree, you need to nurture it properly so that it can grow strong for years to come!

Looking forward to meeting all of you during a conference somewhere on the planet!

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.