Today’s 1 Linguist, 3 Questions is a real treat, as we have two people in one Q&A: Kate Larkin, a French, Italian and Spanish Translator at Bee Multilingual (check out the amazing website – one of my favourites!) and her alter ego, Lingo Woman, whose blog is a real hive (get it?) of techie tips for translators, advice for newcomers to freelancing and thoughts on the language services industry.
Here is Kate’s mini interview:
1. If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
In all honesty, I wouldn’t change a thing. It took me a long time to build up the courage to take the plunge and get into freelance translation full-time. I am somebody who needs to plan and research everything down to the last detail so that I’m prepared for every eventuality. In reality, however, you can never be fully prepared and this is something I’ve learnt over the course of the past two years since setting up full-time. It’s been a huge learning curve and I’ve learnt to appreciate the highs and the lows and everything in between. I wouldn’t change anything because without all of those experiences, be they failures or successes, I would not be where I am now.
2. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
A friend of mine (not a fellow translator) once gave me a fantastic piece of advice and I now swear by it in everything I do in relation to my work. I even have the saying framed on my office wall right above my desk so I never forget it. Here are her very wise words:
“Always under promise and over deliver”
When I first started out I was so eager to please clients that I often agreed to crazy deadlines. I literally spent months working all hours of the day, regularly pulling ‘all-nighters’ to get everything done. Needless to say, it’s not a healthy way to work and I soon realised that. Thanks to always keeping this excellent advice in mind, I’ve become much tougher when it comes to negotiating deadlines with clients. If I think it will be tight or the deadline won’t allow enough time for full research and a thorough proofreading at the end, I will now always say no. If I negotiate an extension on a deadline and deliver early, then all the better! I would have under promised and over delivered and that always makes for a happy client!
3. If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
That’s a tough one! Languages have always been my thing so it’s hard to imagine doing something that didn’t involve them in some way. I guess my second choice of career would have been something related to medicine in some way. I always wanted to be a doctor. Indeed, I specialise in medical translation for that very reason. I get to research and learn all about the field while doing something I love, translation! It’s the perfect combination for me.
Kate Larkin is a French, Italian and Spanish to English translator specialising in financial and technical texts. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and has over five years’ experience in freelance translation. She runs her own translation business (www.beemultilingual.com) and loves to share all things language and translation with the aid of her alter ego, Lingo Woman