Today’s interviewee is Iwan Davies, a French and German to English translator, who runs Translutions with his wife Louisa. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) Council.
If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
I think I would have taken an office outside my home long before I actually did. Louisa and I finally decided in spring 2010 that we needed to find an office away from home, and we moved in here in August that year, but realistically it’s something we should have done long before. I know so many freelancers cite the ability to work from home as one of the best aspects of their work, but from a work/life balance point of view, I can promise you that a separate office in a different part of town does wonders! Obviously it needs a bit more coordination, but we found that the additional focus it gave us has actually resulted in us getting more work done. And home life is now much more balanced – we still work from home occasionally when needs must, but it’s no longer a given that every night after saying goodnight to the kids we go to the home office and do another couple of hours.
- What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
To take up the lease on the office! But also to make the most of any and all opportunities to get out and about and meet and network with fellow professionals. Again, a much-vaunted advantage of freelance life is that you can turn up to work in your dressing gown and never actually have to socialise or meet your colleagues. But we are social animals and that way lies madness, eventually.
- If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
I’d like to think I would be lifting the Web-Ellis Cup as captain of the Welsh national rugby team in the Rugby World Cup! But back in the real world I would probably be in the software industry – I’ve been an amateur computer programmer since I was young and while I’m no Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, I’d like to think I could have held my own. I’d have ended up on the consultancy or customer support side, though, simply because of a desire for social interaction.
Iwan Davies MITI is a freelance translator from German and French into English. Working with his wife Louisa through their company Translutions Limited, they support customers in the fields of IT, telecommunications, banking and finance throughout Europe. Away from the wordface he enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family (two girls) and following the fortunes of the Welsh national rugby team.
Find Iwan on Twitter at @iwandavies