Today’s 3 Questions are with one of my tweeting colleagues, Nelia Fahloun, who runs her own translation business with the beautiful name of Babeliane Traductions. Even the logo is pleasing to the eye: check it out. Nelia translates from English and Spanish to French, and specialises in the legal and marketing sectors.
Here is Nelia’s interview:
If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
Start this career earlier!! Actually, I am not really sure of that. The fact that I became a freelance translator after 10 years doing something totally different is probably the reason why my business is successful now. I am quite sure that it would not have worked out, or at least, not so well when I graduated at 21. My work experience brought me a lot in terms of interpersonal, negotiating and communication skills.
[When chatting later about her thoughts on age and experience, and when I mentioned my own age, Nelia elaborated on her initial thoughts.]
At 21, I was not confident enough to start a freelance career and I was not even sure of my abilities as a translator. I thought I would not be able to make a living out of it. Plus, it was in 2002 and I feel that a lot has changed since then, in terms of how the translation industry works, how the Internet has changed the profession, etc.
What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
“If you work all day and all night, but still cannot pay the bills, it means that your rates are not high enough”.
This actually works for any business, especially a freelance one, but it has helped set my rates at a reasonable level and it reminds me that I need to raise them or look for new clients that are willing to pay more, as my experience and skills increase.
If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
I would probably still work as an administrative assistant, with my former employer or in another company. But I know I would not be as happy as I am now.
Nelia Fahloun is an English and Spanish to French freelance translator. She studied English between 1998 and 2002 and went on to work as an administrative/financial assistant in the healthcare sector. She went back to university in 2009 and graduated from the University of Brest, France with an MA in Translation & Copywriting a year later. She started freelancing in October 2010 on top of her day job, before deciding to translate full-time since May 2012. She is a member of the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT).