Working as a translator can sometimes be pretty lonely. A high-speed internet connection at home, a professional business e-mail account and a reliable computer is all that a qualified translator needs on a daily basis. If you’re not careful, you could easily turn into a kind of prisoner, feeling isolated from the rest of the working world in general.
It is important for translators to establish contacts. Keeping in touch with new developments and making an effort to form part of the community of translators in your part of the world is both stimulating and productive. The problem is that not all translators really know where to begin or how to make contacts effectively.
The following tips present some of the more useful strategies for translators, wherever you may be in the world. A daily dose of communication and interconnection is all that is needed to turn a worn-out and bogged-down translator into an energetic, cutting-edge expert. If you love translation but feel you need some guidance and support every now and then, the following ideas were concevied specifically to meet your needs.
Participate in translator websites
Translator websites can be one of the best ways for translators to get support from their peers, to learn about work opportunities and to keep developing their skills. Two of the best known websites are son Proz.com and Translators Cafe. These two sites are particularly popular thanks to the broad support and guidance that translators can find on their forum discussions and help pages. Proz operates with a points system, whereby translators who dedicate time regularly to helping their colleagues and contributing with forum posts earn more points. The more points a translator earns, the higher his or her profile in Proz will be.
Authentic and complete translator profiles are clearly the best way to secure more and better paid work, which is why it is a good idea to join these sites and to make a constant effort to keep active on them.
It is also a very good idea to join at least one translators association, especially if you are working as a freelancer, which is the case for most translators. You may sometimes need good legal advice or support prior to signing a contract or taking on a long-term project with a particular company or client. As a member of a translators association, you will always have somewhere to turn if you need this kind of support. You can also take advantage of the conferences, seminars and other activities organized by these associations. Some of the best known translators associations are the American Translators Association, the Organización Mexicana de Traductores, the Colegio de Traductores Públicos de Buenos Aires and the seven provincial associations affiliated with the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council.
A quick search on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and TermWiki will immediately bring up a long list of translators, translation companies, experts in translation or translation websites that you can join and follow. Once you start participating, you’ll be able to share publications of your work and posts on job opportunities that come up. The more active you are, the more people will share with you and promote the translation work that you do. Essentially, participating in social networks is one of the most economical and beneficial ways of disseminating information on your translating skills and finding out about professional opportunities the moment they become available.
Write a blog
As an expert in translation, you can share your experience with others. There is a big demand for freelance translators in every sector, especially in recent years, as international companies are also open to small enterprises. If you start writing a blog on translation and topics related to translation on a weekly basis (it is essential to post articles regularly), people interested in our industry or who are looking for translators will end up contacting you directly, or following your blog and all the interesting information it offers.
Find your field of specialization
This last tip is aimed expressly at translators looking for work and highlights the benefits of cutting out the middlemen and reach your potential client directly. Make a decision and choose the type of translation you want to specialize in, if you haven’t done so already. There is a huge difference between translators who specialize in medical translations and translators who specialize in legal texts. Translating tourist brochures is nothing at all like translating novels and other types of creative writing.
When you know what type of translation you want to dedicate most of your time to, go straight to the source with your resume and examples of your previous work and find out who needs a translator in the sector you’ve chosen. For example, if your idea of the job of your dreams is to translate for tourism and hostel websites, send your resume to as many hostels as possible and even visit some of them personally if you can.
Translated by Martin Boyd
Exequiela Goldini is an English-Spanish translator and owner of the translation agency Transpanish.