Professional subjects from a personal perspective

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Catharine Cellier-Smart

Today’s interviewee is Catharine Cellier-Smart, a French to English translator who lives on beautiful Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean (jealous?).

Here are Catharine’s answers:

1. If you could change one thing about your freelance career up to this point, what would it be?

This is a difficult one which you might need to ask me again in a few years! Although I’ve many years experience translating, I’ve only been a full-time freelancer since last year, so I don’t think I have enough distance today to know what I’d want or need to change.

2. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?

Two things really – don’t be afraid to say no, and on a more practical, general business level – get everything down in writing. Also something basic I’ve observed over the years and that it’s good to bear in mind: business and emotions don’t mix.

3. If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?

I worked for many years in non-language related jobs but today I wouldn’t necessarily want to return to what I was doing before. I’d probably be happy working in something related to the web or social media, or – why not – as a scuba dive instructor, although I’m not quite sure I’ve got the calm temperament needed for that job!

Thanks, Catharine!

Catharine Cellier-Smart, TranslatorBackground: Freelance French to English translator Catharine is a native of London who has been living abroad since 1990. She holds a degree in European Studies from the University of Wolverhampton, and an MBA from the University of Reunion. After an initial period freelancing (translating, interpreting and teaching) in the early 1990s, she moved into non-language related work until 2008 when she moved to South Korea for three years. After almost 20 years of translating she finally became a full-time freelance translator and interpreter on her return to Reunion Island in 2011 ( Her specialisations include business, manufacturing, transportation, ecology & travel.

She can be found on Twitter at @Smart_Translate and blogs about language and translation at

The Beautiful Side of an Ugly Project?

I read a new post on the Freelance Folder recently, which details the ups and downs of accepting an ‘ugly’ job.

Turning down a complex or awkward project is a common occurrence for some freelancers, while others use the situation (and lack of competition) to raise their prices to offset the difficulties associated with the job. Although there will undoubtedly be times when you want to tear your hair out, the post suggests that you may find a silver lining or two when the work has been completed.

Silver Lining of Difficult Projects

Have a read of The Happy Truth About “Ugly” Projects and let me know your thoughts. Is it ever worth taking on this type of work? Do you revel in a challenge, or are some projects just a step too far?

My First Guest Post

Visitor, Guest Post by Speech Marks Translation

I was contacted by Dana of Dana Translation a while back, and she kindly invited me to write a guest blog post. I got to thinking about what I could address, and I considered the different ways in which we linguists build on our native language skills. The resulting post is The Magnificent Seven: Foolproof Ways to Improve Your Writing.

As always, I appreciate feedback. However, as this is my first foray into guest posting, I’d really love to know what you think.

Happy reading!

New in my Feed Reader

Here are two blogs I have discovered (or finally got around to adding to my feed reader) over the past few weeks:

Blogs to Read

*Prêt à Voyager  – Anne Ditmeyer

Anne’s blog is a mine of information for the francophiles among us. An American freelance graphic designer, blogger, editor and consultant, Anne lives in Paris and shares her travel tips, Parisian anecdotes and informal French lessons in such an engaging way that this blog just had to take the top spot in this round-up.

Moving away from France and to travel in general, the blog also features a section called Boarding Pass, which is an extensive archive of features exploring people’s travels and how they record their memories. I really enjoy this section, and highly recommend it for some travel inspiration!

Check out Prêt à Voyager here

*The Freelance Lifestyle Blog – Emma Cossey

Emma is a freelance blogger, writer and web editor based in the South of England. Her blog focuses on, you guessed it, the freelance lifestyle! What I really like about Emma’s blog is her Three Minute Podcasts, where she offers bite-sized tips and advice. There are currently four podcasts available, but no doubt more will be added.

Another useful and original aspect of this blog is Emma’s Weekly Freelance Challenge. This week’s challenge is to evaluate your current rates, and consider whether they are working for you. There is a lot of advice, links and a personal angle to the post, and the other challenges follow the same pattern.

Take a look at The Freelance Lifestyle here

Have you come across any interesting blogs this week?