Professional subjects from a personal perspective

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.Allegiant film download

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

Reflections on the ITI Conference

ITI Conference 2013, name tag

As you may know, I attended my first ITI Conference recently. As you may also know, if you are a fellow fan of Twitter, there was a dedicated hashtag for the event: #ITIConf13. If you didn’t have the time to keep up with all of the tweets from the conference (and there were a lot), you can search for the hashtag to catch up now.

As a newbie, I was a bit apprehensive, but the friendly atmosphere is one of the lasting impressions that I will take away from the event. One of my aims as an attendee was to put a lot of faces to Twitter handles, and I was delighted to meet so many of my colleagues in one place. The only downside was not having a lot of time to talk, as the programme was jam-packed with talks, consultations, a pop-up photography studio and even a choir. My choice of sessions covered specialisation, workflow, accuracy in translation, professional development and technology – a great mix of topics, which provided a lot of food for thought (and a to-do list!).

A particular highlight for me was meeting and listening to both Chris Durban and Jost Zetzsche, the latter of which delivered an extremely enjoyable and inspiring keynote speech, which really highlighted the great value of our profession. One quotation, which I considered to be particularly significant, and one which I tweeted at the time, is the following: “we don’t just create words, we create worlds”.

After two hectic days of networking, attending seminars and celebrating the profession that we love, I headed homewards with my ITI canvas bag laden with notes, business cards and even some caramels (a kind gift from a friend and colleague). I’ve been busy implementing advice and ideas ever since!

To read more about the conference from colleagues’ perspectives, Catherine of Lingua Greca has blogged about her highlights and José of Bluebird Translations also wrote a post about his experience. In addition, Alison Hughes has written a poem about the experience. Take a look and get a taste of the atmosphere.

If you’re heading to an industry event soon, these posts might be handy:

* WantWordstips for networking at events: before, during and after
* Drew’s Marketing Minute6 steps to success for conferences and networking events
*Thoughts on Translation – audio blog: finding direct clients through industry conferences