Stop me if this sounds familiar:
I really needed work, so I decided to take whatever came through the door. I decided that applying to mega-agencies/advertising on Fiverr/racing to the bottom on translation job boards was the fastest way to get full-time freelance work. But now I’m stuck; I have to translate 10-12 hours a day to earn a decent living at these rates. I can’t ever take a day off. If I get sick, I’m in danger of not being able to pay my rent, and I have no money to spend on better equipment or professional development. Low-rate work feels like a treadmill that I’ll never get off. HELP.
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OK…that’s not the only reason you need a translation partner, it’s just me learning how to use Canva, but worry-free vacations are a good reason to have a translation partner! I get this question a lot, so let’s talk about it.

Why do you need a translation partner?
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The next session of my online course Beyond the Basics of Freelancing starts Wednesday (August 19) and I have two spots left. This is one of my full-featured, flagship courses (along with Getting Started as a Freelance Translator), and it runs for four weeks. It’s designed for experienced translators who want to earn more money, enjoy their work more, market to higher-quality agencies and direct clients, or pursue more targeted specializations.
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The Thoughts on Translation household just returned from two glorious, computer-free weeks of vacation which we spent mountain biking in southwestern Colorado. If you have zero interest in mountain biking or the Colorado mountains, it’s OK to stop reading here, and be assured that the discussion will return to translation as of my next post!

We spent the first week in Crested Butte, where we enjoyed some of our favorite, classic trails such as Strand Hill, Snodgrass/Lupine and the 401, and added a new favorite classic, Teocalli Ridge. We then headed off on a true Western adventure, riding a six-day loop (four days of riding and two rest days) through the San Juan mountains, from Lake City to Silverton to Telluride to Ouray to Lake City. Other than the route we chose for the first day, I would highly recommend this loop if you’re into beautiful dirt road and singletrack riding in an alpine environment. We carried all of our own stuff and stayed in hotels/condos to minimize the load. This worked out really well (other than the fact that I can no longer keep up with my almost-teenage daughter…) and we were really lucky with the weather, as it rained only on our rest days.

On day 1, we made the (in hindsight, questionable) decision to ride section 23 of the Colorado Trail rather than riding from Lake City to Silverton on the dirt road over Cinnamon Pass. “We’ve already done that! The Colorado Trail looks so wild and gorgeous!”…shoot me with a tranquilizer dart if I ever say that again, as the ride that we thought would take about six hours took almost 12. Granted, it was gorgeous. If it had taken six hours, or if we had had camping gear and thus could have stopped when we wanted to, it would have been on my A list of not-to-be-missed rides. But when the ride stops being fun at about 1:00 and you’re not off your bike until 6:30, the beauty and novelty of the trail is somewhat (or maybe completely) outweighed by exhaustion and the ever-fading supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups. Still, it was stunning; but unless you’re really, really fast and strong or you’re into 12-hour rides, I would highly recommend skipping this section in favor of riding over Cinnamon Pass.

Day two: Silverton to Telluride, over Ophir Pass. We had done this stage before and it’s relatively mellow. Well, compared to day one, the Iditarod would probably feel mellow, but day two was a steady but doable climb up to Ophir Pass, a fast descent down the other side, and then a fun spin up the Galloping Goose singletrack trail into Telluride. This took about five hours total, so probably about four hours of actual riding. Then we rested and ate (and ate and ate) in Telluride for a day: no sightings of Oprah or any Kardashians.

Day three: Telluride to Ouray, over Last Dollar Pass. This was a relatively long day, with about seven hours of riding, and the section on the road (from the Dallas Divide to Ridgway) isn’t super pleasant, although it’s downhill and there’s a big shoulder. Blessedly, there’s a fabulous ice cream place right at the turnoff to the dirt road from Ridgway to Ouray, which a) allows for a root beer float recharge and b) avoids having to ride on the main road from Ridgway to Ouray. Then we rested and ate (see above) in Ouray for a day.

Day four: Ouray to Lake City over Engineer Pass. We rode this on the Alpine Loop, a popular Jeep and ATV route through the San Juans. It was surprisingly beautiful, winding up a narrow canyon past some old mines and very beautiful valleys. The climb took about six hours at a fairly moderate pace; the summit is 12,800 feet (read: no air) so my daughter and I walked the last mile or so while my husband cranked it out on his bike. We had a totally clear blue-sky day, and the downhill into Lake City is pretty smooth and fast, so by 3:00 we were (wait for it…) drinking root beer floats at the San Juan Soda Fountain.

The Tour de San Juans is a really fun and challenging loop if you like high-altitude riding, you have good weather, you’re into gorgeous alpine scenery and you’re either in very, very good shape or willing to do some hike-a-bike. We decided that the flexibility of camping wasn’t worth the extra weight and hassle of carrying camping gear and food, and in the end (despite the marathon first day) we were very happy with the decision to stay in hotels and condos instead. Definitely a true mountain adventure for those who want something off the beaten path!


It’s that time again, and the American Translators Association’s 56th annual conference is open for registration! We’ll be meeting from November 4-7 in sunny Miami, Florida, and the program looks fantastic. We received a huge number of session proposals for the 175 slots this year, which is usually an indicator of a well-attended conference (last year in Chicago was our second-largest conference ever).

You can read all about the conference and register at the link above. A few special features to mention:

  • Wednesday’s preconference day is always a great chance to get some in-depth training before the conference starts. This year we’re once again offering Tool Training (for SDL Trados Studio, memoQ and Deja Vu), and a number of preconference seminars (including a not-to-be-missed French to English seminar on French cultural literacy, presented by Angela Benoit and Eve Bodeux).
  • I’m also really excited about the Book Splash, where various ATA authors will be exhibiting and selling their books (I’m hoping to debut the third edition of How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator).
  • If you’re attending the conference for the first time, I highly recommend signing up for the very helpful Newbies and Buddies program. This pairs up first-time attendees with seasoned attendees before the opening reception, so that you have someone to help you navigate the conference.
  • And, oh happy day, this year we have free wifi throughout the conference space.

One final item: if you meet the requirements for ATA Voting Membership, please complete the free, fast, fully online process today so that you can vote in the 2015 ATA elections. We have a great slate of candidates (I will humbly mention that I’m honored to have been nominated for President-elect), including six people running for three Director spots, but you can’t vote for any of them if you’re not an ATA Voting Member. And you can vote by online proxy even if you’re not attending the conference.

Hoping to see lots of you in Miami in November!

The next session of my online course Beyond the Basics of Freelancing starts on August 19, and I have several spots available. This is a four-week online course for experienced translators who want to earn more money, work with higher-quality agencies and/or direct clients, focus their specializations or get more enjoyment out of their work.

Everyone in the class receives individualized feedback from me on four homework assignments (your resume/professional profile and cover letter, marketing plan, rate sheet and online presence) and we do four question and answer conference calls for the whole group, plus an hour-long individual consulting call for each student. It’s a great class if you need a nudge to reach your business goals in the second half of this year.

A recent participant commented that, “Though I was more or less satisfied with my business, it had plateaued and I wasn’t sure how to up my game. Corinne’s class was exactly what I needed. She asked questions that forced me to focus on the most important aspects of my business and acted as a sounding board for marketing ideas. I especially appreciated that the class included ample opportunity to ask specific questions about nearly anything. I learned a great deal from Corinne and from the other students and came away from the class with a concrete plan and timeline for the next 6-12 months to take my business to the next level.”

Registration is $350, with a $50 discount for ATA members. You can read the full course description or register on my website.

A small tip here, but a really helpful one (for me, at least!). If you’re translating documents that include country names, city names, adjectives for residents of a certain country, etc., the CIA World Factbook is a great resource. It’s produced by the US Central Intelligence Agency, and includes data on “on every country, dependency, and geographic entity in the world” (their description).

So, for example, if you’re translating a document about the country known in French as Côte d’Ivoire, and you’re wondering how to properly title the country in English (Côte d’Ivoire, Cote d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast or The Ivory Coast), CIA World Factbook will tell you. Correct answer: Cote d’Ivoire. Or if you need the word for “people from Madagascar” (Malagasy), or the portion of the island of Hispaniola that Haiti takes up (one third), the Factbook will tell you that too. Excellent resource.


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