Archive for the ‘Professional development’ Category

I just wrapped up the “beta” session of my new online course Beyond the Basics of Freelancing and it went well; this class has been bumping around in my head for years and it felt good to finally launch it with a full session of ten great translators! We focused on various topics for the intermediate/advanced freelancer, such as writing different marketing materials for agencies and direct clients, identifying potential direct clients and ways to make contact with them, and how to set rates for various freelance services. Here’s some feedback from the participants:

Corinne is a blessing to all of us translators that have not reached terminal velocity yet. She is very knowledgeable about all aspects of a freelance translator’s challenges and has great passion for helping her students. Her books are great, but her online course is even better, because you take a feeling of “I can do this!” from it. I had a big increase in income the year after I took Corinne’s course and I attribute a large portion of that success to Corinne. I could not think of a better way to give your freelancing career a big boost than taking her course. Very inspirational, very valuable information, great program all-round!

Corinne’s course arrived just at the right moment in my freelance translation career, at this crossroads where you know you have to move up in terms of client base, rates and overall income, but you just don’t know where to start or how to do. Corinne has been a source of inspiration and motivation, as well as a role model, throughout the course and I will do my best to follow her advice – I want to be just as happy with my career as she is!

I feel very proud of being a follower of this “beta” session of Beyond the Basics course. The course was extremely well-structured, the topics were of great use to me and to my ongoing full-time freelance activity. Corinne is a passionate and skilled professional and teacher, she is always available and is a volcano of ideas and energies. This course helped me increasing my self-confidence and faith in what I do, it helped me out of the same ideas I sometimes indulge into and opened up a variety of options I would have never thought could be possible in translating and in marketing strategies. We are important as freelancers, as translators and as interpreters, we need to believe in this and to do our best to let the others understand that as well. I warmly advise everyone to follow the course.

The next session of the course starts on May 14 ($325; $50 discount for ATA members), so please hop on over to my business website to read a full description or to sign up.

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This course inspired me to take many steps necessary to transform from a dabbling newbie into a serious professional,” reports a participant in my online course Getting Started as a Freelance Translator. The next session starts on April 2, and I have five spots left (maximum of 10 students per session). In this four-week, fully-online course, beginning translators get my individualized feedback on their translation-targeted resume and cover letter, marketing plan, rates and billable hours sheet and online presence. We also do a one-hour question and answer conference call every week, and every student receives a copy of my books How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Thoughts on Translation.

The course registration fee is US $305 ($50 discount for ATA members) and you can read more about the course or register on my website.

If you’re interested in a more advanced course, for freelancers who have an established business and want to take it up a notch, the next session of Beyond the Basics of Freelancing starts on May 14.

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If you missed yesterday’s Speaking of Translation conference call, “Speaking of Interpreting,” in which Eve Bodeux and I interviewed InterpretAmerica co-Presidents Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen, we’ve posted a free recording for your listening pleasure. We asked Barry and Katharine to tell us about the current state of the interpreting profession, what’s ahead in the next 3-5 years, what role remote interpreting is playing in the industry, and what a new interpreter needs to do to succeed in the business. It was a great interview, so hop on over and check it out!

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At 12 noon New York time today (Wednesday, March 12), Eve Bodeux and I will be interviewing InterpretAmerica co-Presidents Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen on the topic “Speaking of Interpreting,” for our free Speaking of Translation call series. Katharine and Barry will fill us in on the current state of the interpreting profession, what’s on the horizon, and what a new interpreter needs to do to succeed in the business. The live call is limited to 100 callers, and we’ll post a free recording afterward.

To connect to the live interview in the USA and Canada, call 1-888-947-3988 and enter the code: 261313. From other countries, use the Skype “Call Phones” feature, or visit http://numbers.zipdx.com/ for international access numbers. Note! If you are calling from outside the US, please double-check the time, as some countries have switched to Summer time and some have not.

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I love it when fun things go viral. Earlier today, I submitted a proposal for the 2014 ATA conference, then commented on Twitter that we need an “I Submitted” badge for the ATA conference, like the “I Voted” stickers that polling places in the U.S. give out. French/Hungarian>English translator Carolyn Yohn ran with the idea, and soon changed her Twitter profile picture to:

Cute, don’t you think? And there’s still time to earn your own badge, since the proposal submission deadline is March 10! If you’re looking for tips on how to write your session proposal, you can view the free webinar that I presented for ATA, “How to write a winning session proposal.” Thanks, Carolyn, for this fun meme!

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Next Wednesday, March 12 at 12 noon New York time, Eve Bodeux and I will host a free Speaking of Translation conference call, on the topic “Speaking of Interpreting.” We’re crossing the aisle to interview two of the most dynamic interpreters in the business today: InterpretAmerica Co-Presidents Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen. Katharine and Barry will give us their insights on the current status of the interpreting profession, what’s coming on the horizon (new developments in remote interpreting, where will we find interpreters for minority languages?), and their tips for new interpreters wanting to break into the industry. Don’t miss it! The live call is limited to 100 callers, but we’ll post a recording afterward.

Here’s the live call access information.

In addition, I had a burst of energy this morning and reorganized the Speaking of Translation recordings, so that each one has its own page. You can listen and learn about the following topics in our archive:
Finding direct clients through industry conferences
The freelance juggling act: balancing work, family and the rest of life
Insider tips for a successful freelance business
International payments: an overview, with Eve Bodeux
Jost Zetzsche solves your translation technology problems
How to take a freelance sabbatical abroad, Part I and Part II

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If you’re not yet listening to English>Swedish translator Tess Whitty’s new podcast Marketing tips for translators, I highly recommend it! Last night while cooking dinner, I listened to Tess interviewing Karen Tkaczyk about the pros, cons and best practices of working in a highly specialized field (for Karen, French to English chemistry translation). Definitely check it out!

Eve Bodeux and I just scheduled our next Speaking of Translation conference call/podcast. On the topic of “Speaking of Interpreting,” we’ll be interviewing Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen, Co-Presidents of InterpretAmerica. We’re really excited to “cross the aisle” for this (free) call, with a podcast recording available afterward. Barry and Katharine will fill us in on the current state of interpreting in the US, what they see in the near future, what interpreters and translators can learn from each other, and what a new interpreter needs to do to succeed. All of the access information is on our website, and we’ll post a recording afterward.

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I’m excited to announce that my new course, Beyond the Basics of Freelancing, is now open for registration! For a while, I’ve been wanting to offer a more advanced course as a sequel to Getting Started as a Freelance Translator (running since 2006!), and I’ve finally forced myself to work on the course materials. The first session of Beyond the Basics will start on February 26, and then I’ll probably offer another session in May.

Every student will receive copies of my books How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Thoughts on Translation, a one-hour individual consultation call with me, and individualized feedback on: your current and potential marketing materials; a profile of your ideal client, and a list of direct clients you’d like to market to; a plan for raising your profile in the translation industry and meeting your potential direct clients on their turf; a financial plan for your translation business, and a plan of action for the next six months so that you can reach these goals. In addition, we’ll do a one-hour question and answer conference call every week (one of the most popular features of Getting Started as a Freelance Translator!). The cost is the same as for my Getting Started course, US $305 with a $50 discount for members of the American Translators Association. You can read the details about both courses on my website. Hope to see some of you there!

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Congratulations to English-Swedish translator Tess Whitty on the launch of her new podcast, Marketing tips for translators! Tess has a degree in marketing, and in each episode of her podcast she’ll be interviewing a guest about a niche aspect of marketing for translators. Tess has four episodes currently available:

Right this minute, I’m sitting in the New Orleans airport, listening to Tess’ interview with Anne about LinkedIn tips, and it’s really great material. I’m looking forward to listening to Marta’s interview on the plane! Tess’ hosting style is very natural and conversational, and she’s targeted guests who are very passionate about their topics. You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (I just did this, so I can attest that it works). Thanks Tess for this great initiative, and here’s to a long and happy life for this new podcast!

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About 11 years ago, I went on my first informational interview with a translation company. The project manager’s first question, “What are your languages?” was one that I expected. Her second question, “And what are your specializations?” caught me completely off guard. Specializations?? You mean it’s not enough that I speak another language? Well, as it turns out, language skills alone are not enough to make a successful career as a translator, so here are some thoughts on identifying and pursuing translation specializations.

First, here’s a tip from veteran translator Jill Sommer. Pick an area that you enjoy researching. You’re going to be doing a lot of reading in your specialization, so make sure that you find it interesting. You also want to make sure that your target specialization generates enough paying work for you to have a viable business. Lots of people start out focusing on their avocational interests: weaving, violin-making and the like. There’s undoubtedly work in those areas, but it’s probably not enough, or not well-paying enough, to keep you busy full-time. If you want to work with direct clients, there’s work in pretty much any specialization you can imagine. If you want to work with agencies, you really have to target one of their core areas, for example financial, medical, legal, pharmaceutical, IT, patents, etc. It’s also helpful to identify some of your non-specializations: areas in which you definitely do not want to translate.

It seems to me that some specializations are increasingly dominated by people with significant work experience in the domain. For example in the US, I meet more and more lawyers who either hated practicing law or couldn’t find a satisfying job and thus turned to translation as an alternative. For dense medical texts, you really need a strong medical background to produce a good translation. But many translators are self-taught in their areas of specialization: they pick an area that looks interesting, start with work that isn’t too technical, and learn as they go along.

In some sense, you also want to follow the money. I tell all of my translation students that somewhere, there is an intersection between what you want to translate and what clients will pay good money for. If your passion is art, there may be a well-paying niche translating for art museums that loan and borrow works of art internationally. If your passion is weaving, maybe you can work for textile companies that want to sell their products overseas. In one sense, it’s smart to focus on an industry (law, pharmaceuticals) in which clients have to translate in order to do business. But in another sense, it’s smart to focus on an industry (corporate communications, hospitality) in which clients hope that a really good translation will bring them more business.

Finally, if you’re interested in working with direct clients, don’t fear niche markets. As French to English chemistry translator Karen Tkaczyk will tell you, all you need is enough work for one person! I’ve met successful translators who specialize in horses, philately, fisheries and recycling. And if you want to expand your knowledge in your specialization, a MOOC provider such as Coursera is a good place to start. You can read about my experience in a Coursera epidemiology class here.

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