Professional subjects from a personal perspective
Speech Marks Translation is taking a break!
I’m off to the coast with my family for a few days after an extremely busy few weeks, so there may not be any posts for a little while. Here are a few links to keep you going while I’m gone:
* If you’re off on holiday soon, but are worried about being able to access your work emails, take a look at Corinne McKay’s advice on using Gmail with your own domain
* Corinne also provides some food for thought with respect to personal and business development and your goals for 2012 – how are you faring at this halfway point? (My answers are in the comments section)
* Lucy Brooks of eCPD Webinars (check them out!) outlines the many benefits of joining and being active in professional associations. I am a proud member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (see the proof here!) and an Associate of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, and I have found the e-groups in particular to be a valuable source of ideas and advice.
* I was delighted to see that there are two new posts over at The Freelancery. I have talked about Walt’s advice before, and this time he gives his thoughts on turning down a client that you don’t want and approaching clients you don’t know (check out the tips from Chris Durban in the comments!). Great advice, as always.
Margaret Hiley was one of the first translators that I contacted on Twitter and I am delighted to include her interview in the 1 Linguist, 3 questions series. Margaret works with German and English and provides translation, editing and proofreading, specifically in academic, creative and cultural fields.
1. If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
It’s hard to say – the wonderful thing about freelancing is that everything is a learning experience that helps you and your business develop! I would try not to take some of the more discouraging aspects of starting out (e.g. not hearing back from agencies you sent your CV to, or a potential client failing to respond after you’ve sent a price quote) so personally. These things say nothing about your value as an individual (or indeed about your skill as a translator!), they are just part of business!
2. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
You are your business – as your own most valuable asset, you need to take care of yourself. This simple rule covers all sorts of issues, from maintaining a healthy work-life balance and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing to not working with individuals who don’t respect or value your work.
3. If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
Hmmm, I love writing and language so would probably be working with writing in some form or other, perhaps as an editor or university writing consultant. Or maybe as a novelist! But I’d definitely still want to be a freelancer – there’s no other life for me!
Margaret was born in the UK and grew up in England, Canada and Germany. As a native speaker of both English and German, she started translating during her undergraduate degree (it seemed a logical way to earn some pocket money!), but after completing her PhD first worked for several years as a university lecturer before returning to translation as a freelancer. Given her background in academia, she specialises in translating academic texts in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as texts for the creative and cultural industries, mainly from German into English. She is based in Rutland, England.
I have had a busy few weeks, so this morning I went for a manicure. One of the many benefits of being my own boss (there are approximately 8,579…) is being able to take the time to reward yourself every now and then.
While I was taking my time choosing my nail colour, I chatted to my beauty therapist and got around to talking about my business and recent website launch. I asked her about her company and we both discussed our legal structure, accounting processes and methods of finding clients. I eventually picked a colour (dark cherry, if you’re interested!), and she did a great job, which means that I recommend her: the most valuable client acquisition tool.
The lesson (or idea) here is to talk about yourself and your business to virtually anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter if the person you talk to is involved in a completely different field; you never know what they can do for you, and you for them. Maybe they’re looking for a copywriter, maybe you could learn from their advertising methods. Maybe you could both help each other out in some way.
I have talked about translation and my business with a myriad of people, from my dentist to the florist I bought a bouquet from last week. If you think it could pay off, leave your business card with them. You never know what might come of it.
What is the most unusual method by which you have acquired a client?
Today, I’m delighted to present Judy Jenner as my interviewee. Judy runs Twin Translations and the Translation Times blog with her twin sister Dagmar and is a great inspiration to me. I hope you find Judy’s comments as thought-provoking as I have.
- If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
I worked as in-house translation department manager for many years before joining my twin in our translation business. During my years as an in-house translator, I was a member of the ATA, but wasn’t very active. Looking back, I wish I’d gotten more involved early on. The one thing I wish we had had back in 2002 when we were thinking about starting our translation business would be a book about how to get started. They did not exist back then, so gathering information was a tremendous undertaking. Luckily for new linguists, these books do exist now, especially Corinne McKay’s “How to succeed as a freelance translator,” which I consider the bible for freelance translators.
- What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
Business in general: my mentor when I was getting my MBA was the CEO of a major Las Vegas casino and he told me to “surround myself with good people.” He was referring to offline, but this can also be applied to online, and I think it’s great advice. Another great piece of advice came courtesy of my favorite professor in business school. He had a big sign on his door that read “goals without plans are just dreams.” I’ve always focused on having a plan. In terms of translation industry advice, the best advice I ever got was to become active within our professional associations. It’s been rewarding, challenging, and I’ve met a lot of great people.
- If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
I would either be a starving writer, work in e-commerce or work for a non-profit that tries to make significant changes in the world.
Judy A. Jenner is a Spanish and German business and legal translator and court-certified Spanish interpreter. She holds an MBA in marketing and runs her boutique translation and interpreting business, Twin Translations, with her twin sister, Dagmar. She was born in Austria and grew up in Mexico City. A former in-house translation department manager, she is the president of the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association. She writes the award-winning translation blog, Translation Times, pens the “Entrepreneurial Linguist” column for The ATA Chronicle, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops around the world. Judy co-authored “The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation” and teaches for the online division of the University of California-San Diego’s Certificate in Spanish/English Translation Studies. She serves on the advisory board of the same program.
[Photo by Ulf Buchholz]
You can follow Judy on Twitter at @language_news