Professional subjects from a personal perspective

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Lisa Carter

Today, I am pleased to share my interview with Lisa Carter, an award-winning Spanish to English translator, who also provides information and advice for literary translators via her blog and online courses.

If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
I’m really quite pleased with my freelance career thus far, but the one thing I wish I had started to do earlier is build strong partnerships with my colleagues. There are times when I’m at full capacity or a client wants work done into my source language (Spanish). I never want to let my clients down, so having a network of people whose work I truly trust — and who trust me in turn — is beneficial to everyone involved. As freelancers, we don’t have to be hermetically-sealed-self-contained units! Close collaboration can be very rewarding and I’m glad that lesson has finally sunk in for me.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
“Believe it and you’ll be it.” A friend said this to me years ago, when I confessed that what I really wanted was to be was a literary translator. I’m sure I dismissed this seemingly trite remark with a scowl, thought of all the challenges, muttered about it taking much more than belief. But the thought never left me. I began to take it to heart. My friend was right: every desire to accomplish something starts with the belief that you can do it. It’s the first and highest hurdle. Once you’re over it, that belief will give you the strength to get up and over the next hurdle, and the next. Proof positive: I have now published seven books in translation.

If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
I would most likely study culinary arts. Food is a huge part of my life: I wake up thinking about what I’ll eat, where, when and with whom! There’s nothing more satisfying than wandering through a market, finding the perfect spice, tasting new flavours, concocting in my newly-renovated kitchen and sharing meals with others. I’ve even owned a small restaurant and a bar. It’s awfully hard work and not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be, but I do still occasionally think about opening the perfect little Peruvian restaurant in Canada…

Thanks, Lisa!

Lisa Carter, TranslatorLisa Carter is a Spanish>English translator with nearly twenty years of experience, specializing in literary, legal and commercial banking texts. She has published six titles to date, with a seventh forthcoming in 2013. Her translation of El calígrafo de Voltaire [Voltaire᾿s Calligrapher], a novel by Argentine writer Pablo De Santis, was awarded the Alicia Gordon Award for Word Artistry in Translation or Interpretation, and she was nominated for the the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her translation of The Einstein Enigma: A Novel, by José Rodrigues Dos Santos.

You can find Lisa on her professional website at www.intralingo.com, where she blogs about literary translation and offers online courses for translators.

You can also follow her on Twitter at @intralingo.

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Joanna Machnica

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

I am not sure if there is anything I would change, to be honest. This is one of the advantages of being a freelancer – you are your own boss and you make your own decisions. I wish I had enough time to start a translator’s blog so if I could use a magic spell, I would make the day longer! I also wish I was a bit closer to London to be able to attend more events, but on the other hand I live in the Cotswolds, the most beautiful spot on Earth, and I would never swap it for any other place!

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

I think a good piece of advice for someone starting in the business would be to be patient and perseverant. It takes a while to understand how the business works. And nothing happens overnight. You need to be proactive to get noticed. To begin with, start networking and use social media (“leverage social media” I could say, “leverage” being for some reason one of the words I really dislike in source texts!). LinkedIn, for example, provided me with one of my best clients. Plus you get a chance to share experiences, views and opinions with other translators. It is interesting and it is fun! Another thing, do not neglect your first language, especially if you live in the source language country. Read, watch TV, keep developing!

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

I would love to be a graphic designer and design websites! I am not sure if I would be talented enough, but I would love to able to play with different fonts, colours and themes. It is in a way similar to a translator’s job: the final result – after a certain amount of fiddling, adjusting and editing – must bring huge satisfaction!

Thanks, Jo!

Joanna Machnica, Translator

Joanna Machnica is a translator working from English to Polish as Polished Translations. Jo is based in the beautiful English Costwolds, and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Anna Lycett

After a break from the 1 Linguist, 3 Questions series , I’m pleased to welcome Anna Lycett as my interviewee today.

Here are her answers:

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

I really don’t like it when some clients show a lack of respect for my time and effort, e.g. by not answering questions regarding project specification or acknowledging receipt of my work. If I am not clear on project requirements and I don’t get answers to my questions, how can I meet a deadline? On the one hand, people say that when you freelance, you can pick and choose who you work for. On the other, when times are a bit lean, in my experience this certainly is not the case!

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

There have been a few great pieces of advice that several wonderful people gave me and they could be summed up as follows: Don’t leave things to the last minute. Don’t give up in quiet times. Learn from your and other people’s mistakes. Oh, and have a good professional etiquette. If you don’t, the word will spread quickly and hit you right back. Luckily, I don’t think this has ever happened to me yet and I hope it never will.

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

I’m not sure but I’d probably build on my career in the online marketing industry (although my niche was language services anyway, just of a different kind!) or I’d start something afresh, maybe in journalism or art.

Thanks, Anna!

Anna Lycett, TranslatorFreelancing under the name KeyCheck Translation, translator between English and Polish (MA), philosopher (BA), online marketer (4 years) and blogger. Born in Warsaw, Poland and living in Leeds, UK. Specialising in marketing and SEO-translations, business, tourism, correspondence and art. In private time mother of one and wife of another one, photographer, crocheter, due to an injury no longer a traditional archer and martial artist.

Website: keychecktranslation.com 

Twitter: @keycheck_t9n

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Jayne Fox

Today’s interview is with Jayne Fox, a German to English translator who lives in New Zealand (about as far as you can get from this blogger!). Here are Jayne’s thoughts on our industry:

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

Being a freelance translator is such a great profession and I’m very happy with how things have progressed so far. I took a roundabout route into translation, via physics, English teaching, corporate training and documentation, which has been very useful for my translation work.

When I’m translating, I aim to make the text sound authentic – as though it had been written in English originally. I find that my wide-ranging experience is a big help in this, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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

The advice to specialise in a particular area of translation has been very helpful for me. My main focus is on business and IT, especially in technical contexts like power generation, and I also enjoy working in the health care field. This fits well with my interests and experience, which makes things easier for me and is good for my clients, too.

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

I enjoy technical writing so I would probably be working as a content writer or documenter. I would also love to write a series of easy-to-understand science books for children – perhaps that could be a project for my free time!

Thanks, Jayne!

Jayne Fox, TranslatorJayne Fox is  a German to English translator specialising in business and IT. Jayne’s background is in science, training, technical writing and management and she has been translating professionally since 1996. She blogs at BetweenTranslations and you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter