Professional subjects from a personal perspective

The perks of being a wallflower

Please excuse the shamelessly ‘borrowed’ title. I couldn’t resist.

Speech Marks Translation Presentation

Me speaking at the Language Show Live in 2012. Not my most comfortable moment…
Photo by Ilenia Goffredo

A lot has been made of translators as introverts. There are notable exceptions to the rule but, generally speaking, there are a lot of us out there. Take the How I Work series on Adventures in Freelance Translation for example. The vast majority of interviewees identify themselves as introverts. Personally, I feel more comfortable and confident in one-on-one situations or small groups, and it seems that I’m far from the only one.

But is this such a bad thing?

Recently, it seems that the perceived negativity of introversion is melting away and more is being written about the benefits. Some of these benefits are discussed by digital marketing consultant Fran Swaine in her guest post for The Business of Introverts. Fran points out that being an introvert can result in excellent listening skills and the patience to respond to clients’ needs rather than selling before knowing what they are. This instils trust in potential clients and creates a positive foundation, on which to build long-term business relationships.

Further reading for introverts:
Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
Leise Menschen – starke Wirkung by Sylvia Löhken, as recommended by Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler

Blogs, posts and websites
•Susan Cain also has a website: The Power of Introverts, which offers articles and a forum.
Quietly Fabulous has blog posts, a great FAQ section and book suggestions.
The Business of Introverts hosts a kick-start course in addition to blog posts. Kathryn also welcomes contributions from fellow introverts wishing to share their story or give tips and advice.
•Fellow translator Rachel Ward has some sage advice for networking as an introvert.

How do you feel that being an introvert (or extrovert, for that matter) helps or hinders your business?

If you’re curious, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator lists 16 personality types, depending on how you see and deal with the outside world, and there is a short, informal quiz on Susan Cain’s website to help you determine if you’re an introvert or an extrovert.


2014: where do I go from here?

New Year’s Resolutions are everywhere at the moment, so I’ll make mine short and sweet:

1) Work with more local companies

Last year, I hired The Sketch Collective for professional photos and Rachel Bonness Design to design some marketing materials. I loved having the opportunity to meet in person to discuss my ideas, and supporting other young businesses was fantastic. Here are the results:

Speech Marks Translation marketing postcards

Graphic design by Rachel Bonness, photography by Thom Williams of The Sketch Collective

2) Attend client events

There are always plenty of translator only events to choose from, and they are both beneficial and enjoyable (see my post on the 2013 ITI Conference). In 2014, though, my goal is to change my focus to industry events, where I can maintain and improve subject knowledge, gain expert contacts for terminology queries and, ultimately, identify potential clients. If you’re joining me in looking for possible events, here are Judy and Dagmar Jenner’s top tips for visiting trade shows.

3) More CPD

2013 was all about maintaining (or attempting) a balance between my business and my degree. Now that my course is over – I’ll graduate in a few weeks’ time – I can give my business my full attention. One of my main aims for this year is to dedicate more time to new and existing skills with the help of in-person courses and online options from providers such as eCPD Webinars and Coursera.

4) Celebrate achievements and reward myself

Sometimes, we freelancers can be a little hard on ourselves. I, for one, can be a bit of a mean boss on occasion. In order to stay motivated, it’s really important to recognise and celebrate achievements. 2013 was the year that I finished my Master’s degree, worked with more direct clients than ever before and turned colleagues into true friends. What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a way to reward yourself for a job well done in 2013, take a look at Corinne McKay’s post on giving yourself a bonus.

What are your goals for this coming year?

How Many Things You Love Can You Share in 10 Minutes?

I’m a bit late joining in with this series of posts because December has been one of my busiest months this year.

If you don’t get updates from me on Facebook or Twitter, you might not know that I have been completing my Master’s degree for the past two years, so it’s a real joy to completely focus on my business from now on.

Anyway, here’s how it works: Olga Arakelyan came up with the idea of inviting fellow translators to list as many of their favourite things as they can in 10 minutes, and I thought it would be a nice way to end another year of blogging. I’ve got the timer on, so here goes:

• My boyfriend – I’m a very independent person, but I can’t imagine life without him
• Herefordshire – my boyfriend and I were both born and brought up here (although we met at university), and this is absolutely where we want to be.
• Swansea and the Gower Peninsula, where I lived for five years. I miss this:

Caswell Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales

• New York City, or rather the idea of it. I *will* get there one day!
• Paisley pattern
• Doctor Who – oh yes.
• Snuggling up and listening to rain against the window
• Cheese – pretty much any kind
• Typography – I have a ridiculous amount of free fonts on my computer
• All variants of mint green, aqua and teal (but you’d guessed that, right?)
• Ranunculus and peonies
• That gorgeous smell after it rains
• Fireworks
• German pretzels – the real, doughy ones
• Tartelettes aux framboises – I used to pick one up on my walk home from lectures in Geneva
• That feeling when a client gives you glowing feedback
• Invoicing – yes, really
• Planning trips all over the world that I can’t afford, either time-wise or money-wise

Right, my time’s up. I spent most of it trying to find the picture on my computer, but I hope you’ve got an idea of the kind of things that make me tick.

Thanks to Olga for coming up with this idea – it was fun!

I hope that you all have a wonderful festive period – if you celebrate this time of year – and have a brilliant start to 2014.

Joining the SfEP: why I added another professional association to my armoury

Joining professional associations always makes you feel proud and gives your professional profile a lot of credibility, but I have never seen the point in having reams of memberships and letters after my name. I have been selective in my memberships, but I have added another: the Society of Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).

I am now an associate member of the SfEP!

I am now an associate member of the SfEP!

Until last month, my only memberships were with the Institute of Linguists (ioL) and Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), which reflects the majority of my working experience (translation). I am proud of my memberships – full member of the ioL (MCIL) and Associate of the ITI – and I will be looking to upgrade my ITI membership to qualified (MITI) status in the near future.

However, when assessing my business goals and activities earlier this year (I try to do this at the beginning of each year, then at regular intervals), I decided that my professional memberships did not represent the range of services that I offer. As a result, I joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) a few weeks ago as an associate member, as this kind of work has made up a sizeable portion of my income in recent months.

So far, I have not yet had much time to assess the benefits of membership, but I am pleased to have gained a more representative range of professional memberships. My long-term plan is to reassess (I do this a lot) my memberships of professional organsisations in a year or two, and perhaps drop any that I feel are not paying off. I don’t necessarily mean this in the monetary sense, rather in terms of representing my skills and services and providing me with opportunities to further develop them.

So, to round up, these are my current credentials:

• MCIL (full member of ioL) – my only possible step up here is to upgrade to FCIL, which is unlikely in the near future
• Associate of SfEP – there is an advanced stage of membership (Ordinary), but it is unlikely that I will attain it, as translation is my primary area of work
• Associate of ITI – I am currently focusing my energies on applying for MITI status

What is your opinion of professional memberships? There is a definite divide in the people that I meet. Some do not see the benefit, citing the cost as a limiting factor, whereas others say that a professional membership has given their business a boost or even guided their careers as they moved up through the membership levels.

If you are interested in applying for membership of the ioL, ITI or SfEP, I have included the following links:

• Information about ioL membership
• Information about ITI membership
• Information about SfEP membership

There are quite a few articles about fellow translators gaining MITI status around now. Here are a few selected posts:

• Emma Goldsmith’s Signs and Symptoms of Translation – comparison of MITI and ioL’s Diploma in Translation
• Rose Newell – The Translator’s Teacup – detailed post, including a Q&A section with Elizabeth Dickson, ITI’s admissions officer
• Philippa Hammond – The Blogging Translator – post describing her experience of the MITI entrance exam back in 2011