Tag Archives: Business

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Alison Hughes

12 Jun

Today’s 3 questions are with Alison Hughes, a French to English translator who is based near Glasgow and specialises in creative texts.

Here are her answers:

  • If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be? 

In an ideal world, I would have had a more structured approach and possibly specialised earlier. However, as with a lot of other female translators, I started out freelance with a 5 year old and a very young baby so it just wasn’t possible. In a way it is also nice to specialise later in my career because I feel I have the confidence that comes with experience.

  • What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general? 

This probably came from a tweet I read as recently as last Sunday. Think of how much your work is worth to the customer (and not how long it takes you to do it/how many words it is) and charge accordingly. OK so this is probably another “ideal world” situation but there are some customers it could be appropriate for and is a confidence booster in cases where you refuse to let agencies beat you down on price.

  • If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing? 

That’s easy – something to do with food. I’m coeliac and have to follow a strict gluten free diet. A couple of years ago I was looking into setting up a business called Good Life Gluten Free to advise restaurants how to cater for the GF diet and also a website with gluten free ideas. Again, circumstances weren’t right at the time and it didn’t get past a prototype of the website and business cards. The opportunity has gone as there are now many resources but running a dedicated GF cafe with my sister is a tempting proposition.

Thanks, Alison!

Alison Hughes Translator

Alison Hughes is a French to English translator specialising in marketing and creative texts. She is also the coordinator of the Media Arts and Tourism Network of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). You can take a look at her website here and follow her on Twitter @AHcreattrans.

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Percy Balemans

7 Jun

Today’s 3 Questions are with Percy Balemans, a German and English to Dutch translator with her own blog at Translating is an Art.

  • If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?

Nothing really. I’ve tried quite a few things in my career up until now, from working as an in-house translator for an agency to leaving the translation industry altogether and gaining experience in areas as diverse as technical writing, copywriting, system administration, website development and even teaching scuba diving courses. Looking back it almost feels as if all these different experiences have prepared me for my freelance translation career and I’m quite happy with what I’m doing right now. I would say that maybe the best preparation for a freelance career is to gain experience in other ways first.

  • What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?

Specialize and market yourself as the expert in that particular subject area. Freelancers often seem to be afraid to specialize, probably because they think they will “miss out” on jobs. But in my experience, most clients, especially direct clients, prefer someone who really knows what they are talking about in their area of specialization than someone who claims to be able to do any kind of translation, and in five or six language combinations too. It may not be easy at first to find a subject area that suits you, but that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with trying out a couple of things before you settle on one or two subjects you like and that suit you.

  • If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?

I’ve been away from the translation industry for almost 15 years, so I have tried other things, although they were mostly language-related as well. Having done other things, I now know that translation is what I really want to do.

Thanks, Percy!

Percy Balemans, Translator

Percy is a  English-Dutch/German-Dutch translator specialising in advertising (transcreation) and creative translations, mainly on the subjects of fashion, art and travel and tourism. Visit her website for more information: www.pb-translations.com.

You can also follow Percy on Twitter at @pbtranslations

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Valeria Aliperta

4 Jun

The first in my series of short interviews with fellow translators is with Valeria Aliperta, a translator, interpreter and Italian tutor, who works with English, French, Spanish and her native Italian.

Here are her answers:

  • If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?

I’ll probably had moved to London earlier! I’m happy with every bit of it but always eager to improve as I like challenges. Also would have taken more CPD courses/events but time is never enough!

  • What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?

Always be nice to everybody, always be clear/honest in what you want/give, always bring business cards with you. This is what I’d say to people myself, too!

  • If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?

A hard one. I’ve always loved languages so I never really thought of a plan B. Based on current passions/experiences, I think marketing and advertising or fashion would be my choice. In any case, something that involves communication.

Thanks, Val!

Valeria AlipertaValeria Aliperta (Ass. ITI MCIL DPSI) holds a BA in Translation Studies, a MA in Conference Interpreting and runs her own business, Rainy London Translations in London. Both a conference interpreter and a translator, she works from English, Spanish and French into Italian but also project manages other combinations. Her main fields of expertise are IT & web, fashion, design, marketing, legal and advertising.

She has a soft spot for blogging, technology and social media and that’s also why she writes a blog http://rainylondontranslations.posterous.com/. She is a regular contributor to the ITI Bulletin and her brand has been mentioned in several marketing and media presentations in webinars and events.

You can reach her via info@rainylondontranslations.com or on Twitter @rainylondon.

Introducing 1 Linguist, 3 Questions

1 Jun

Microphone - Translator Interview Blog Series

Inspired in no small part by this set of interviews carried out by Sarah Dillon on her fantastic industry blog There’s Something About Translation, I have recently been in contact with a number of my fellow linguists, in order to produce a set of brief but brilliant insights into their lives as freelance translators and interpreters. I hope that these short interviews are interesting and inspiring for newcomers to the industry, and thought-provoking for the more established among us.

The questions are the following:

  1. If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
  2. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
  3. If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?

Many thanks to all who responded – stay tuned for the series!

If you would like to contribute to the series, please get in touch!

10 Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business

31 May

LinkedIn Chocolates - Freelance Translation and Business

[Image by Nan Palmero via Wikipedia Commons (I can never resist chocolate!)]

I was interested to read this post on the Social Media Examiner today, which offered its top 10 tips for building your business using LinkedIn. I was pleased to discover that I am already doing most of the things advised, although I am still too shy to put a video of myself anywhere online!

Do you have any ideas to add?

The Freelance Translator’s Reading List

3 May

Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in the number of books written by, and for, freelance translators and writers.

I have built up a collection (and wish list) of freelancing, language and translation books. Here are some of them:

I have read:

  • In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation – Mona Baker
  • Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language – David Crystal
  • Words Words Words – David Crystal
  • The Entrepreneurial Linguist by Judy and Dagmar Jenner
  • The Brilliant Freelancer – Leif Kendall
  • How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation – Lynne Truss

I’d love to read:

  • That a Fish In Your Ear? – David Bellos
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • The Prosperous Translator – Chris Durban
  • Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation – Alejandro Moreno-Ramos

I also remember reading about a fun children’s book on punctuation on Brave New Words, the treasure trove of resources provided by B.J. Epstein. The book is called Alfie the Apostrophe, the post can be read here, and information about the book and its author can be found here.

I think that’s enough to get us all thinking and reading for now!

Can anyone give me a review of one of the books on my to-read list? I’ve heard great things!

Just Say No

4 Apr

In the past two days, I have received 3 potentially lucrative job offers. I have only accepted one. I have the time to fit all of the jobs in, so why did I turn two down? I primarily work in a number of specialist areas and, although I assess every offer individually, there are some subject areas (well, many actually) that are beyond me. This knowledge of your own capabilities is essential in maintaining your reputation and, ultimately, that of your client.

When starting out, it can be very difficult to turn down work, especially when the offers aren’t exactly flooding in, but it is vital to know and respect your limitations. Everyone has them. I, and I’m sure many translators before me, have learnt this lesson the hard way  (perhaps more than once) but it is a valuable one.

You wouldn’t want all the effort you have put into acquiring and building on specialist knowledge go to waste, would you? If you take on something you can’t handle, it will show. Honesty is the best policy, and your client will respect that.

If the project is outside of your comfort zone, recommend a trusted colleague, or direct the client to the directory of a professional organisation. This cements your position as an active member in the translation community and hopefully sends some work in the direction of one of your fellow linguists. You never know, they may have the opportunity to return the favour – or to send you a small treat as a token of their gratitude 😉