Professional subjects from a personal perspective

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Gillian Hargreaves

I am pleased to share my mini interview with Gillian Hargreaves today. Gillian translates from French, Spanish and Italian to English, has over 30 years of translation experience (wow!), and is a Fellow and founder member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

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

The one change I’d make to my freelance translation career to have stuck with it. I kept being drawn into sub-contracting, checking other people’s work and admin, and doing less and less actual translation. I spent 11 years as part owner of a translation company. But there came a point, a couple of years ago, when I realised that I wasn’t enjoying most of what I was doing and I decided to get back to freelancing and specifically translation. I get practically all my work from translation companies, so maybe I’m not earning as much as if I went after direct clients but I’m really enjoying what I do. Occasionally I get offered checking/editing/revision work and sometimes I accept it but most of my work is translation and no-one’s going to tempt me away from it now.

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

The best advice I’ve received (not really from one person, but from an amalgam of different sources) is to be confident of my own worth and not to sell myself short. This applies to rates, of course, but it also means not underplaying my qualifications and experience.

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

If I weren’t working as a translator I think I’d still be involved with written language, possibly as a proofreader/editor or maybe in typesetting or publishing. Alternatively, if I had more talent I’d have liked to be a professional musician or to have worked in the music industry.

Thanks, Gillian!

Gillian Hargreaves, TranslatorGillian has been working as a professional translator for over 30 years in various capacities: freelance, running her own agency as a sole trader, working as a staff translator and – until 2010 – owner/director of a successful specialist translation company. She has now returned to freelance work and is loving the flexibility it offers.

Take a look at her website here

Find her on Twitter as @ghargreaves

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Jehanne Henin

Today’s interview is with Jehanne Henin, who translates from English, Russian and Croatian (a new one on me – fascinating!). Jehanne has been freelancing for 6 years and has kindly agreed to be part of my series.

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

I wish I had learned sooner to “just say no” (to some projects, clients or unfavorable terms). I would also try harder to make more spare time to do some sport, have a social life and take care of myself.

[more on just saying no here]

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

This is a tough one. I’m always eager to learn from more experienced colleagues and, therefore, I read a lot of translators’ blogs and forums. Chris Durban, for example, is a great source of inspiration for me. If I had to pick one among the valuable pieces of advice I get from her and other translators, this would be to specialise and to strive to become the go-to expert in your chosen field. And to read, read, read!

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

I would have loved to be a doctor, but I didn’t think I had what it takes to be one. If I hadn’t chosen to quit my psychology studies to pursue a Master’s in translation, I’d probably have ended up as a psychologist or maybe as an accountant, as I also had an interest for economics.

Thanks, Jehanne!

Jehanne Henin, TranslatorJehanne Henin is an English, Russian and Croatian to French translator born and raised in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She holds a MA in Translation from the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels and has been a freelance translator since 2006. Her fields of expertise include EU affairs, environment and renewable energy. She is a member of the French Translators Association (SFT).

You can take a look at her website here and find her on Twitter as @JehanneHenin.

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Rebekka Wellmanns

I’m pleased to say that fellow Websites for Translators customer Rebekka Wellmans is my interviewee today.  Along with previous contributor Nicole Adams, we all had our websites designed by Meg and her team, with very different but excellent results! Rebekka translates from Spanish to English and writes her own blog, which I really enjoy.

Here are Rebekka’s 3 questions:

If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?
Do a lot more research! You can never be too prepared in a general or specific way.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?
It was a Chinese proverb: “Learning is like rowing upstream, not to advance is to drop back.” Our profession is definitely based on knowledge and experience and to quote Lanna Castellano “investing in ourselves”. I’ve really tried to take this to heart.

If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?
Probably accounting. I love being finicky with calculations.

Thanks, Rebekka!

Rebekka Wellmanns, Translator

 

Rebekka describes herself as follows: “Spanish to English translator of educational and musical texts. Newbie to freelance translation. Member of South African Translator’s Institute. Based in South Africa. Bookworm!”

Twitter: @WellRebekka

Website: http://welltranslations.net

1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Nelia Fahloun

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.

Thanks, Nelia!

Nelia Fahloun, TranslatorNelia 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).

Twitter: @Babeliane

Website: http://www.babeliane.com