Tuesday, 17 January 2017

5 Things I’d do differently if I were starting out as a translator again today

If I were starting out as a translator again today, I would…

1) …not give my work email address to family members or friends.

Nowadays I receive only critical, strictly work-related email during the day. But believe me: achieving this clear-cut separation between work and personal email has taken me a very long time. Ruthless email management has become vital to helping me focus properly on work projects and minimise email distraction.

2) … not ignore all the fantastic features that translation software offers.

I bought Trados back in 2007 and as a translation newbie I would invest in translation software straight away again. However, I would not stop at just grasping its basic features, but endeavour to learn about every single aspect so as to benefit more from access to terminology, automation, and efficiency. As I am about to switch (from an outdated version) to the latest MemoQ release, this is something at the top of my to-do list!

3) …not accept translations that I feel uncomfortable with.

For newcomers to the profession it is natural to also take on projects they’re not completely familiar with. It is, after all, a way of putting out your feelers and assessing which subject areas are up your street and which aren’t. Speaking for myself, though, I would not accept any texts if it were crystal-clear beforehand that I was not happy with the subject, or just because somebody was desperate to place a project.

We should consciously enjoy work-free time!

4) …not worry during slack periods, but enjoy time off!

I have been a translator for 10 years, so slack periods with no assignments in my order book have long been a thing of the past. Clearly, marketing is very important. However, if I were a fledgling translator again, I would not engage in marketing as frantically as I used to during slack periods. Nor would I worry about whether new projects would be landing on my desk again soon. Instead, I would consciously enjoy work-free time!

5) …not start a translation blog.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading other translators’ blogs because I can learn so much from them and because they always tend to be very well-written! Also, I derive a lot of personal satisfaction from blogging myself. However, I’ve come round to the belief that maintaining a blog on translation-related issues isn’t essential to building a successful translation business. There are other, less time-consuming (more minimal!) ways to achieve this.

Given my blog theme, it is hardly surprising that the thinking behind this post is based largely on minimalist aims: the minimisation of screen time; less time spent on tasks; as well as more efficiency and joy!