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.
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