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/

Teleworking : How to Do It Right

Working from home, at a coffee shop or a coworking space is not uncommon among translators and technical writers, whether they are freelancers or not.


In general terms, working from home is more and more common. Indeed, the number of remote jobs keeps increasing, and the French Labor Law, which was enacted late 2016, promotes teleworking. In France, 17 % of employees were telecommuting in 2016, and 41 % wanted to do it fulltime.

This type of work enables employees to increase their well-being (according to 96 % of people surveyed), lower absenteeism (5.5 fewer off days per teleworker), gain in efficiency (+22 %), time (37 min dedicated to family and 45 min of sleep) and money (related to means of transport).

However, remote work cannot be improvised : it is essential to be prepared.

The right skills

The more time spent working from home, the more it is necessary to develop essential skills in order to feel fulfilled by this type of work.

Adrienne Jack from Lionbridge presents six skills required to get started :

  • Time management : learning how to value one’s time, and how to say “no”, combining one’s work and lifestyle.
  • Self-discipline : avoiding distractions, self-training, delivering the project on time.
  • Independence : not cutting oneself from the outside world and knowing instead when to meet others to develop one’s empathy.
  • Reliability : delivering quality work on a consistent basis, keeping managers updated on one’s progress, asking for feedback, offering help to colleagues when it is possible.
  • Flexibility : adapting to customers’ needs and urgencies.
  • Joy for the work : remote working does not make one enjoy working.

The right tools

Apart from owning a computer equipped with a good setup and the right software, it is also important to have a good internet connection with access to online resources, but also to facilitate the customer relationship and the delivery of information or projects.

In addition, some tools can make remote teamwork easier (such as Trello or the new open source platform Crust) and others simplify work organization.

For example, author and translator Lionel Davoust made an inventory of the most relevant tools on his blog to create a “toolbox”, ranging from spell checking software to applications allowing for faster typing, and including software to avoid distractions.

The choice of telework is not random. It isn’t a miracle but, if you are prepared enough, it can provide great opportunities.

Alexane Bébin

Translated by Sarah Deville

To be (or not to be) an effective translator

In a recent article, Jenie Gabriel from the translation agency Gengo has been suggesting seven practices to improve one’s efficiency :

  1. Work quality assurance
  2. Continuous proofreading and reviewing
  3. Good customer relationship management
  4. Learning from feedback
  5. Stepping out of the comfort zone
  6. Meticulous time management
  7. Continuous learning and improvement

What kind of efficiency are we dealing with ?

Upon reading this advice, we instantly realize that it is not about time-saving nor organization or customer relationships improvement tools. It is rather a question of work improving than of “work more to earn more”.

Jenie Gabriel quotes Aristotle : “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Therefore, translators must aim for excellence. Why is that ? For the love of the profession, or for work ethics ? Partly, but it is mostly to stand out.

In a world where language service providers must meet increasing needs, the supply also rises, but with very different quality levels.

These habits would therefore rather be a way of determining the difference between a trained and experienced expert and others. Between someone who, through the quality of its work, manages to develop a loyal customer base with interesting and profitable projects, and someone forced to translate whatever is given to him.

Being efficient is not a matter of word count, but rather of gaining more savoir-faire and quality. It is not only about translating, but also building a reputation and making sure there will be more translation projects tomorrow.

Yet, the excellency standard set by this advice—while it allows long-term efficiency to the company—seems to contradict the short-term need to translate fast (and well) and therefore to be cost-effective.

Develop the habit to be effective (and vice versa)

“Time is money.” You could think that the time spent waiting for proofreads, sending e-mails and calling customers is wasted for translation.

Of course, but that is when practice steps in : the daily tasks get faster to carry out. By making sure that they keep improving for each new project, translators make less mistakes and thus spend less time reviewing their work. They gain efficiency in their short-term work.

Excellence and habit go hand in hand, just like Isaac Newton said : “When two forces unite, their efficiency double.”

Alexane Bébin

Translated by Sarah Deville

Proofread by Kim Condron

 https ://www.marketingtipsfortranslators.com/seven-habits-of-highly-effective-translators/

Only Translating to One’s Mother Tongue : Compulsory Rule or Free Choice ?

Languages are the cornerstone of translators since they all use several of them for work. On this topic, the French Society of Translators (SFT) asserts that all translators must translate towards their mother tongue, not the other way around. But why is that ?

Source : allo-traducteur.fr

The advantages

Each language being inherently linked to its country’s culture, it seems normal that a native speaker can easily adapt a foreign language concept into their mother tongue. They are aware of all the cultural subtleties and stylistic nuances, so that they can transmit the original message more accurately.

Moreover, they can instantly gather expressions and wording from the richness of the vocabulary, , because these all belong to them from the moment they were born.

That is the reason why translation agencies always recommend customers to employ translators working in their native language. The SFT is again inflexible on this point :

“Translators who do not follow this basic rule will be more likely to overlook other criteria which are essential to the translation’s quality. If you want an international image, approximation is not allowed. In many cultures, people disapprove of their language being altered. Ask for a translator whose mother tongue is the same as the required target language.”

Is mastering one’s native language enough for a translator ?

The answer is assuredly negative. Translation is not only about transposing a text from one language to another. There are various factors to this process, namely the understanding of the original text.

Indeed, working towards one’s mother tongue does not guarantee that there will not be any mistakes from a rough reading of the original document. Translators must be skilled in all their working languages. If they are poorly skilled in foreign languages, they won’t be able to convey the original message accurately.

What happens in everyday life ?

When translators make their way into the job market, they must pick their working languages. Most translators generally choose to work towards their native language. Yet, others choose to expand the number of their working languages. In spite of the SFT and some translation agencies’ opinion, this decision does not follow any particular rule. It depends on the will and the professional coherence of each translator.

Francesca Laganella

Translated by Sarah Deville

Source : http ://eurologos-milano.com/perche-si-dovrebbe-tradurre-solo-verso-la-propria-lingua-madre/

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

Online Resources for Translators

In the technological era that we live in, more and more online tools are available to translators. The advantage of these tools is that they do not require the installation of a computer program since the data is stored on the Cloud most of the time. Moreover, they enable different people to work on a project simultaneously, regardless of the time or place. But how do these online options differ from their offline alternatives ?


CAT Tools

There are several computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) that are fully available online. These tools, such as WordFast Anywhere or Memsource, are often free and more adequate than their free offline counterparts. Therefore, the features of an application like OmegaT can pale in comparison to the ones of their competitors. It is true that these tools possess a wide range of functionalities, but they often require in-depth knowledge and tedious manipulations.

On the other hand, major tools like MemoQ and SDL Trados are renowned for their power and, in terms of CAT, are celebrated worldwide. Some of their features, at first seen as accessories, have gradually become essential for the comfort they provide to translators. For instance, the autocomplete functionality might seem anecdotal, but it saves time and speed to translators who cannot work without it.

On their part, the CAT environments seem to be a decent compromise between accessibility and automated features. Being easier to use than Trados or MemoQ, but simpler than tools like OmegaT, online versions seem to be a good way for beginner translators to discover CAT tools. However, experienced translators might probably opt for alternatives that are more expensive yet more powerful.

Dictionaries and Termbases

The situation of dictionaries and termbases is far easier to identify. Regarding information, the Internet is a great and inexhaustible source. So yes, you can use it for your research, but you must remain watchful.

For translators, the internationalization caused by the Internet mostly affects the different varieties of languages. Thus, termbases such as TradooIT and Termium provide perfectly reliable information… for the people of Quebec. This issue can be found in many other languages : for example, differences between British English and American English, between Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese or between Castilian Spanish and Rioplatense Spanish.

Thus, the main problem with online dictionaries and termbases is the source of information and its reliability. After all, choosing good sources is also one of the translators’ tasks.

David Loury

Translated by Sarah Deville

Source : http ://blog-de-traduccion.trustedtranslations.com/analisis-memsource-gestionar-proyectos-2018-04-20.html

The Literary Translator’s Hardships and Delights

Some texts are harder to translate than others. Some authors are tougher to adapt than others.

Are they complex or delightful ?

According to readers, the writing style of the author wholly contributes to the pleasure and richness of the act of reading. That also holds true for translators.


In a recent interview given to the ATLF (Association of Literary Translators of France), Nathalie Bru defines her work method along with her appreciation for Paul Beatty, the writer who led her to literary translation.

“Exulting while suffering atrociously.”

Nathalie Bru explains that she discovered this author while studying and that, being captivated by his work, she decided to overcome the obstacles by choosing it as the topic of her thesis. Believing Paul Beatty deserved to be better-known in France, she then presented her thesis to publishing houses.

She underlines the importance of distancing oneself from the text in order to translate it better, and the necessity to “absorb” the text to save its essence and meaning, rather than its form. Fidelity implies a precise knowledge of the French language so as to find a writing method meant to save the essence of the source material, instead of wanting to stick to the text at all costs. Nathalie Bru explains : “I let myself be carried along by the text as I see fit, as the text resonates with me. Then, I try to adapt this music to a French one that seems to be in keeping with my style, all the while letting myself be carried along as much as possible by my writing. Numerous adjustments obviously need to be made afterwards. (…)

With this kind of writing, trying to remain as faithful as possible to the original text paradoxically means taking more liberties than when translating more ‘typical’ texts.” Translators themselves have to create innovative structures and seek new sources to draw their inspiration from. Their colleagues, friends, and children become part of the creative process, putting their new ideas to the test.

This method is reminiscent to that of Andre Markowicz. When he translated Dostoïevski’s works, he chose to recreate the intensity of the author’s words, their musicality and their theatrical aspect. This decision caused quite a stir among purists.

Nathalie Bru mentions that a text filled with cultural references could raise. These types of texts require translators to ask themselves, both beforehand and while they translate,  if they fully comprehend each reference to transcribe them properly. Will the reader understand these references ? Did the writer intend for the reader to understand them or not ? Is their understanding essential to grasp the meaning of the text ? Do they need to be explained ? How can they be explained ? How can translators resist the urge to give readers all the clues -proof of the writer’s skill- they have happily gathered during their research ?

To quote Nathalie Bru, isn’t every literary translation “a work that is both exhilarating, exhausting, rewarding, at least culturally if not financially, and extremely frustrating” ?

Alexane Bébin

Translated by Céline ECHILLEY

Source : http ://www.atlf.org/jubiler-dans-datroces-souffrances-nathalie-bru-paul-beatty/