A Beacon In a Sea of Clients

Even though becoming a freelance translator is synonymous with freedom, it also involves somewhat of an instability. Every freelance translator fears not having (enough) clients. This fear is even more present when one has just graduated from school and is faced with diving into the working world.

So what should you do ?

The answer is simple : canvassing.


Messages in a bottle

Even though it seems like a basic thing, the first step of canvassing is sending emails.

The issue lies in this method’s rate of success : for every 25 emails sent, how many will be read at all ? How many of them will be saved ? How many will lead to employment ?

The answer fluctuates between hearing back from possible clients and nothing at all.

In her book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer, Jennifer Goforth Gregory tries to answer these questions to help translators approach canvassing calmly : they shouldn’t be afraid of quantity. If the number of answers is low, they just need to send more emails. According to her own experience, getting at least one positive answer for every 50 emails and at least one client for every 100 emails is doable. As such, it can lead to a pretty astounding number of emails. However, translators should remember that this is only a point of reference : it is possible to find clients quickly but they shouldn’t give up and keep at it, even if a good number of their emails remain unanswered.

How many clients ?

Many translators think that anywhere between 20 to 30 clients is enough, but they shouldn’t stop there. Given the nature of the job, it is crucial that translators keep canvassing at the pace of one or two emails a day in order to maintain some leeway. Building up their client base takes time and for every client lost translators should double their efforts with canvassing. This holds even more true for newcomers : the first few weeks of being freelance should mostly revolve around establishing contact.

Managing their image

There can be several reasons as to why your emails remain unanswered. It is very important to check their content and the way the email, the resume, or cover letter was written. Despite how tedious it might be, systematically tailoring your emails to each client can prove to be effective. Translators should also remain aware of what is possible for them : limiting themselves to only a few domains can be another reason why they find few clients.

To conclude, to be a freelance translator is to be a driving force in your own success, or at least, your visibility. Even if the main goal is getting clients, becoming an « option for a future translation » is just as important. Canvassing is a crucial phase for any freelance translator and can be a source of anxiety. There aren’t any risks at offering your services, so dive in !

Clément Lagarde

Revissed by Fanchon Morin

Translated by Céline ECHILLEY


Source  : http ://www.thoughtsontranslation.com/2018/08/13/much-marketing-enough/

How to Properly Choose a Sworn Translator

Every year, a growing number of French natives decide to move abroad. If you have also made that choice, your receiving country’s civil service can ask for a number of required documents, such as a birth, marriage or divorce certificate. If the country does not speak French, one issue remains : you need these documents translated. Even if you consider yourself bilingual, you cannot translate these documents yourself. Any translator won’t be able to do it : a sworn translator is required.


Credit : pexel.com

What is a sworn translator ?

A sworn translator will perform a certified translation of any of your documents and will guarantee its legal value. Not everyone can pretend to be a sworn translator. In France, sworn translators are recognized as judiciary experts by courts. They are required to obtain a master’s degree and to have a solid working experience before they can present themselves in Court. They are also required to have a clean criminal record.

Each region’s Court of Appeals establishes a directory of every sworn translator, which you are free to consult if you ever find yourself in need of one.

How should you proceed ?

Once you have found a skilled sworn translator, don’t hesitate to ask for a sample of their work. If everything seems in order, you can ask for a quote. The translator establishes a price depending on the number of pages in the document (each page can be billed between $45 and $136 – rate for the 12/4/18) and the language pair. The rarer the pair, the more expensive the translation becomes.

Once a price has been agreed upon and the translation is finished, the latter needs to be legalized. The legal validation process – also called an apostille depending on the country which have signed this global convention – certifies that the documents are authentic. It is one of the sworn translator’s prerogatives.

Indeed, the translator’s stamp and signature will both appear of the original document and its translated copy. After this, they need to be validated by the town hall, the chamber of commerce or a notary.

What if you are in a hurry ?

If you do not wish to worry about all these formalities, the easiest solution would be to contact a translation agency. Currently, there are agencies which operate online and to which you can directly send your documents in a PDF format. They will then find a sworn translator for you, even though it will cost you more.

Dorian Baret

Translated by Céline ECHILLEY

Translation : A Gateway to Multiculturalism

Translation has always been a way to communicate for people from different cultures and with different backgrounds. However, translation is not only useful to this purpose : it also creates a relationship between cultures in a cosmopolitan world. Indeed, it is the translator’s responsibility to make the transition from one culture to another while enriching his translation with reference points and context, thus giving it a high quality and relevance.


The Translator : A Cultural Agent

In this practice, the translator is seen as a cultural agent since he is a mediator between cultures. Indeed, it is up to him to transcribe the cultural references as best as possible by adapting them and using detours when they are impossible to translate into the target language.

For this exercise, the cultural agent must consider the social practices and norms, national identities or institutions, the customs and practices of each country, power relations as well as the policies that influence translation in one way or another.

Thus, the translator establishes an important link between the two languages in order to defend cultural diversity. It is therefore essential because, without translation, we would be thrown into a world filled with misunderstanding, fear of the “other” and conflicts.

Translation of Terms with a High Cultural Content

It is not only a matter of translating words, but rather translating concepts specific to civilizations have their own way of thinking. These “culture-bound terms” are very difficult to translate since it is a question of preserving their identity while keeping in mind that it will not necessarily be possible to preserve the whole concept.

These terms most often illustrate : a different material culture such as architecture, clothing, gastronomy, units of measurement ; a well-defined sociocultural system such as religion, customs, school and administrative systems, politics and the military field. This type of content is generally found in the legal and humanity fields.

How will our cultural agent then translate this kind of text ? He will have to make a choice among the following four options : borrowing, literal translation-which could also be called loan translation- cultural equivalence and periphrasis, otherwise referred to as explanatory translation. Each of these processes has its own specificities and must be chosen according to the target audience, the field of the text along with its style.

Therefore, the translator will have to face a dilemma often encountered with this type of content, which is none other than making a choice between translating and explaining. Whatever his choice maybe, he should have thought about it at length, since the slightest error could lead to a misunderstanding of the text and thus the transition between the two cultures will not be able to work properly.

Ellenita Gomez

Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Professional Procrastination

You need to call a potential client. Your phone is within reach, you are ready to take up this challenge and secure victory. Or rather you were. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, you feel motivated to do something else entirely.

Does that ring a bell ? If you too have avoided your phone during the moment of truth, don’t worry : you are not alone. What’s more, according to Jesús Prieto, there might be a solution in order to avoid making the same mistake twice.


Let’s continue with this scenario : you found someone’s contact details that could end up being part of your portfolio, and you set aside an hour to contact that person. However, on the scheduled time, you are attracted by infinitely more interesting options. Checking your Facebook wall or your Twitter feed for example. Or reading some news, because you need to keep up-to-date, right ? Or you could even clean your computer because a translator cannot work properly with a slow computer. Actually, why not feed your fish ? After all, you can’t let them die, can you ?

Nevertheless, this simple distraction that was supposed to last only five minutes, ended up taking at least one hour. This hour that for all intents and purposes was part of your “work day”.

And what about this potential client ? Still waiting, you will call him later.

If this describes you, you probably want to find a solution against this seemingly irrepressible need that won’t let you have a truly successful career. And well, a cure does exist, but like every problem, you first have to identify the cause.

It turns out that the solution is obvious.

You don’t want to search for new clients.

That’s right. You know that you should do it, but you don’t have any desire to do so. That’s what leads you to fall in the trap of procrastination.

So what do you find so annoying about the idea of contacting a new client ? There are several reasons, but the negative biases certainly are the main one. You might think :  “I don’t know how to look for new clients”, “every client is already taken” or even that “I’m bad at finding new clients”. This kind of thoughts often results from a bad experience but if you obsess over it, you will never be able to succeed.

As a matter of fact, knowing how to find new clients is not an ability you possess when you are born : experience was the word for freelancers who managed to learn it, and to get this experience you need to act. There is no secret. Thankfully, there is a method, a “cure” for this phobia that strikes so many.

Do you want to know what it is ? Then, simply answer this question : what is the worst thing that could happen if you contacted a potential client ?

… That he replies “no”.

Be it a “I already have someone” or a “not right now”, this scares you. Is that so much of a problem ? Some clients have heard about you now, and even if they don’t ask for your services right now, they might do soon.

You planted the seed, and your mission will be to keep an eye on it. Some won’t grow and others will take years before they bear their fruits, you are right. But focus on the most promising clients, because they will be the first ones to call you back.

Like Thomas Alva Edison, you need to believe that each defeat takes you one step closer to ultimate success. In other words : each “no” gets you closer to the “yes” you are looking for.

Don’t throw in the towel and, more importantly, never think that you won’t be able to make it.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark, and the translator filled his portfolio.

Stefany Sifontes

Translated by Nathan Hermance

Web Editor : a Sought-after Profile

What is a Web Editor ?

A web editor is a professional whose job is to provide written content for online websites. The written content must comply with the Internet’s communication standards : in other words, it must be clear, concise, dynamic, and consider the interactive aspect of the web. The contents created by editors comply with the search engines’ and the silent partner’s requirements.


Web editors can work as freelancers or in an agency. They often work alone but, on some specific requests, they can also join forces with other editors. Editors follow the client’s guidelines to write. They always start their job with an information search in order to stay relevant in his content. Editors then conceive a text with a clear message that will be optimized for natural referencing.

An Expanding Sector

For several years, we have been told that content takes priority on the web. These days, numerous websites owner are soughing after web editors. The web editing market skyrocketed in 2016. Joblift found in one of its studies that the number of web editing assignments increased by 157 % in the freelance business.

In France, there are currently millions of websites, hundreds of which are created daily. Thousands of website owners are looking for web editors to promote their website and write content. Sought-after in both full-time jobs and part-time jobs, web editors can be in charge of writing several types of contents : blog articles, news articles, corporate content, tutorials, e-books or even press releases. This profession suits all tastes.

Dominic Dearlove

Translated by David Loury


It is almost compulsory for a translator to translate into their native language for practical reasons, like being better able to come up with meaningful and idiomatic phrases. Therefore, it is essential, especially for a purely French translator, to be aware of the existence of different dialects of the French language.


Of course, Belgians do speak the same language as their French neighbors. Moreover, all the different regional accents in France, no matter how disturbing they might be sometimes, include and respect the same grammatical rules.

So far, so good. However, there is a French-speaking community, far from its motherland, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean : the Quebeckers.

People from Quebec speak with a frustrating accent eating up half of all their sounds, leading any European French-speaker to want to give them French lessons. But, let’s keep it peaceful. After all, it is said that diversity makes the world richer. Furthermore, this particular accent is no doubt very charming if you take a little time to get used to it. You will even find some musicality in it which will not be a problem for the translator, as any cinema or television production is dubbed into the most neutral French accent there is.

Unfortunately, the accent is not the only divergence between French from France and French from Quebec. Indeed, not only do the Quebeckers have a tenacious accent understandable exclusively to experts, but they also have their own vocabulary, which must be taken into account by the translator when fulfilling their task. “My girlfriend” for instance, which will be translated into ma petite amie (my little girlfriend) into French from France, will be translated into ma blonde (my blond woman) in Quebec. Over the centuries, influence from the English language has brought a lot of changes, and expressions such as “to have fun”, which in French means s’amuser, in Quebec they say avoir du fun which is an exact mirroring of the English version.

But let’s not forget some subtle differences which ought to be acknowledged. Amongst the numerous examples, there is the date format. In French from France, the exact format is DD/MM/YYYY while in Quebec you must write it YYYY/MM/DD ; the usage of the pronouns, lui meaning “him” is replaced with y in Quebec. Punctuation has even more subtle variances in spacing changing from one dialect to another. Last but not least, there is a real difference in writing the acronyms ™ and ® which respectively translate into MC (Trademark) and MD (registered mark).

There are so many elements in localization, a major step of translation, which requires awareness from the translator in order to produce a good quality work in the suitable dialect. Furthermore, there are some less-well-known French-speaking dialects in Canada, but they are much closer to Quebecois than to French from France. Knowing all this, a translator would surely avoid major localization mistakes by distinguishing European French (France, Belgium, Switzerland) from Canadian French.

As for you, fellow translators, even if French from France is the official dialect in the world of translation, it is easy to educate yourself a little in the Canadian ways in order to avoid offending our Quebecker friends and to offer them an adapted content to make them feel at home.

F. Huynh-Tan

Translated by Gildas Mergny

Source : https ://www.sajan.com/french-translation-need-know-language-spotlight-series/

Questions to Ask Clients before Accepting a Project

Every translation is different : number of words, levels of technicality and writing, covered topics, format process and so on. All these possibilities raise questions that need to be answered. When a client asks you for a quotation, you must never forget to ask them questions that are required in order to organize your project.


It is often believed that price is set on a specific word basis, yet this price is highly variable depending on different factors : the source language, the technicality of the text, the deadline, etc. The rarer the source language, the more technical text and the shorter the deadline, the more expensive the translation. Some projects are not worth it and will only be a waste of time. That is why, before accepting a project, essential questions need to be asked to the client :

  • What is the number of words ?

  • What is the deadline for your project ?

  • What is the technicality of the text ?

  • What is the format of the source document ?

  • Is it a written or an audio document ? Is a transcription necessary ?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will be able to find out if it is worth taking on the project, and most importantly, how much you will be charging the client for it. Most of the time, clients will try to negotiate or fix their own price. Many people are not aware of how much work and time is involved in a translation. Ask yourself if this price seems fair to you. Do not accept to lower the price, which could not only make you work at a loss or for a paltry sum but also make all your colleagues an enemy. It is important to “educate” your client to respect you not only as a professional, who not only uses their linguistic knowledge, but also as a human being, who has needs and desires, such as sleep, among other things. However, is it important to build customer loyalty : if you have to accept a binding project to a respectable extent from a client who can provide you with interesting translation projects on a regular basis, don’t think about it too long.

If business is going well, you can also take into account other personal factors : what do you need or want most : a professional life or the latest iPhone ? Do you consider this translation interesting ? Is your customer well known ? Can they continuously provide you with an actual volume of work that will become profitable ? Asking the right questions can bring you an appreciable peace of mind !

Camille Rigaud

Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Source : https ://enlalunadebabel.com/2016/12/07/el-encargo-de-traduccion-que-preguntar-antes-de-aceptar/

A Few Things to Bear in Mind Before Becoming a Freelance Translator

Working as a freelance translator does have its advantages : you get to decide on your working hours, your rates and your projects. Nevertheless, it is difficult to start out and to succeed without encountering some difficulty. Here are a few things to consider in order to avoid being completely unprepared.


Your Work-space

Working from home can be quite convenient. You can put a load in the machine between translations, do some housework, keep an eye on the kids and check their homework… Some translators are accustomed to dealing with these situations, but this is not the case for everyone. Others may well find themselves in over their heads and thus unable to progress in their work, which may end up costing them dearly. It is therefore advisable to have an office that is dedicated to your work so as to be able to make the separation between your work and your personal life.

The First Few Months

The start of your career as a freelance translator will prove difficult as it relates to finding work. No one knows who you are, you haven’t yet built up a customer network, and there are already a great many translators present on the market, among other things. Don’t let this deter you ; you will find a solution to these challenges faster than you would have imagined. Still, you need to have some savings set aside to make up for the lack of income during this period and to pay your regular expenses such as rent, food, etc.

Your Customer Network

How do you build a customer network ? There are so many ways to gain visibility, one of which will be the gateway to your success. These include : having a website, posting ads on social networks, canvassing businesses and even dropping off flyers in certain establishments. Make use of past experiences, projects you have previously worked on and your rates. As far as rates go, at least in the initial stages, why not provide a complimentary service like proof-reading, DTP, etc., according to your capabilities ? How about proposing a lower rate for your first collaboration ? Just remember never to work for free, as all jobs need to be paid if even just a little.

Your invoices

As a freelance translator, it is important to hold on to all your work-related bills and receipts, whether it be income or expense : project invoices, sales receipts for software or dictionary purchases etc., transportation bills if a client wishes to meet with you… You can save these on your computer, as having it in digital format is practical, and/or in an organized binder. These can serve as a future reference, particularly for tax returns as some of these may be tax deductible expenses.

Every translator has a different experience when they decide to go freelance, be it good or bad. Try however to take these points into consideration to make your journey a bit easier.

Avatar Marie Moriceau

Source : http ://translatorthoughts.com/2016/12/a-free-lesson-in-freelancing/



Translated by Giselle Dunbar

What’s Next If Not Translation ?

Despite being one of the oldest professions in the world, working as a translator is today still a very relevant job. However, there has been a constant decrease in the number of translators on the job market. The reason for this is mainly because of too low a remuneration for the workload demanded. But don’t panic ! Being a translator requires both analytic and linguistic skills. These skills are in high demand in various sectors. So, if you eventually decide that this job was not meant for you, there are several sectors in which you can do a unique job.
Continue reading What’s Next If Not Translation  ?

A Personal Choice – Translation into One or into Several Languages

Upon entering the work force, the decision needs to be made as to the language combination that will be used. This is the reason for which translators currently working into their native language represent a gross majority of the translation market as opposed to professionals translating into a foreign language. The question remains however, should translators work solely into their native tongue ?


Educational Training

Translators, whether they are still in training or have already received their educational qualifications, must make a choice sooner or later regarding their language combinations. This means choosing to translate solely into their native language, or rather into a foreign language.

Translation courses enable students to become more adept in the field while progressively becoming more familiar with a range of subject areas. Continuous translation practice, be it into a student’s native language or a foreign language, allows the students to better identify the type of author or translator that they are. Today, foreign languages and the field of translation go hand in hand. For this reason, it is indispensable to master at least one if not two foreign languages.

When learning to become a translator, different areas of specialisation may be presented in the texts that are studied. The reason for this is that a professional translator not only needs to master foreign languages, but also needs to have one or several areas of specialization, be it legal, business, or medical etc.

Over the course of their studies, certain courses and experiences help to adequately prepare translators for the professional world. Unfortunately however, an amateur translator may find themselves in an unfamiliar and potentially destabilising situation. This is why a professional translator must sometimes adapt to the diverse projects with which they are entrusted.

Professional Experience

Working in translation requires decision-making. An agency might not have the budget necessary to hire translators for each target language and so may require that translators master several languages and be able to translate not only into their native language, but also into foreign languages. All this is a matter of having the means, but also a matter of the quality that is required. Generally, a translator who works only into their native language is able to produce a better quality translation than one who works into several languages.

Nevertheless, no matter the choice, a professional translator who works both from and into their native language will always have just as much a place on the market as one who translates only into their native language.

Advantages of Translating into One’s Native Language

According to the SFT (The French National Translators’ Union) :

“A ‘good’ professional translator is a true author […] But the most important thing is their aptitude in establishing the right parallels between two languages, in conveying the essence of the message in their own language, using the appropriate terminology and style.”

Indeed, a translation must not only be linguistically and grammatically correct, but it must also convey the original message. To do this, a translator needs to know the cultural and linguistic references of the country for which the message is intended.

A translator can use their native language and the various language styles (word play, expressions, nuances, synonyms, etc.) to be a source of inspiration, enabling them to then convey the initial message. The text that is produced can therefore bring a personal touch, while still staying true to the message and the quality of the original text. Even in the event of having a high proficiency in the target language, a native translator, having been immersed in the language and culture, is by default more able to feed off the riches of their mother tongue than one who is a non-native.

A Personal Choice

Following their translations studies, students will need to make some choices as it relates to their professional path. Quite often, the question of language choices and their willingness or lack thereof to translate only into their native language arises.

This often difficult decision should essentially be based on your abilities and your personal vision. It is therefore up to you to base your decision on your perception of the working world and make your way towards the path you wish to take. Whatever the case, no matter how different, each individual has a place in the translation sector.

Avatar Christelle Dilling

Sources :

https ://karenrueckert.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/translating-in-one-direction-or-both-your-choice-to-make/

http ://pcollustraductions.com/pourquoi-le-traducteur-traduit-il-vers-sa-langue-maternelle/ 

Translated by Giselle Dunbar