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5 Networking Tips for Language Translators Who Hate Networking

Posted on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 @ 16:08 PM

language translatorSo you’re an introverted language translator who doesn’t like networking. Did we hear you say that it’s self-serving, shameless, superficial and uncomfortable? If we heard you right, keep reading because Devora Zack, author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking, has a few insights that may reframe the way you see this activity.

5 Networking Tips for Introverted Translators

Stop trying to be someone you’re not
There are several reasons introverts avoid networking, but one of the least obvious is the fact that they are following a set of networking rules created by extroverts. The first step is accepting that you are introverted; the second is playing by your own rules. You don’t have to perform, act falsely, or as Zach would say, “contradict the introvert’s natural sensibilities.” We’ll explain more below.

Talk is cheap. Follow-through is priceless
Extroverts are gregarious, at ease in front of a crowd, and have a knack for wooing new acquaintances. Nothing wrong with that, but talk is cheap if there’s no follow-through. What really matters is what happens in the 48 hours that follow the networking event. Did you—whether through email or phone—make a thoughtful, articulate follow-up with that new contact? Do you remember what you talked about with this person? Do you have something you can offer him or her, or are you simply riding coattails?

Make the time you are networking count
Networking is about quality, not quantity. Instead of exhausting your energy trying to connect with everyone in the room, make a solid connection with five people. If you’re an introvert, you’ll like this next part: Instead of attending five conferences a year, put all of your energy into networking at one event.

Volunteer for a job
If you’re one of those introverts that thrives when there’s structure, make arrangements to help out at the event ahead of time. A job will give you the opportunity to work closely with others and provide you with a specific reason to interact.

The first date vs. the high school reunion
We like to think of networking as a first date, not a high school reunion. Feel free to disagree with us, but high school reunions are painfully superficial. There may be a few good conversations, but a good many of them center on who has aged well, who hasn’t, who has the best job, the happiest home, the most hair, the trimmest waist and so on.

First dates are fresh beginnings. You aren’t there to prove that you’re not the same guy who split his pants in gym class or fumbled the ball at the homecoming game in 1989. You’re both there to see what you have in common, what you want out of life, and whether or not the other person fits into those goals.

Networkers aren’t looking for life partners, but they should be evaluating professional chemistry. And when you look at it like that, networking gets a heck of a lot easier.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators, networking for translators

5 questions to ask yourself before becoming a freelance translator

Posted on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

freelance translatorYou may have fantasized about quitting your job and starting a translation business, but before you take the plunge or do anything drastic, you may want to ask yourself the following five questions.  

5 questions to ask yourself before becoming a freelance translator

Are you linguistically and culturally literate?
There are two types of fluency and language translators must be versed in both. First, there’s language fluency: the ability to speak, read and understand another language as though it was your native tongue.

Second, but equally important, is a translator’s cultural fluency. Language does not live inside a vacuum; it is constantly changing and evolving with the culture that speaks it. Translators need to be language experts, of course, but they also need to speak the cultural language and be able to translate and accurately convey all of its diverse and complicated nuances.

Be honest with yourself: Are you motivated to run your own business?
Odds of you finding an in-house position at a translation agency are slim, particularly in the States, which, as translator and author Corinne McCay points out, “is heavily geared toward independent contractors.”

As a business owner, you’ll have to wear many hats. In addition to translating and managing the expectations of your clients, you’ll also be in charge of marketing your business, managing the finances of it and the list goes on and on.

What is your translation specialty?
As with most professions, it helps to have a diverse skill set. Many of us envisioned ourselves seated in a high-back leather chair, plugging away at translating a classic novel for a big New York publishing firm. Few—if any—translators earn their living translating literature.

Like any profession, translators are more likely to succeed when they have a broad skill set, when they can genre hop and translate in variety of fields. You don’t need a law degree to work in legal translation any more than you need a medical degree to translate medical documents. What you must have, however, is a natural curiosity and a drive to acquire the language used in those fields.

Did you plan for your startup phase?
One of the great myths about freelance translation is that it’s quick money. Building a steady stream of clients and earning your reputation takes time, so plan on making a gradual transition from your day job to translation—or look for creative ways to supplement your freelance income.

Since you already speak another language, use that skill as a source of income. There are several online communities where you can teach language learners and many of them do not require teaching certificates. To learn more about these communities, click here.  

Do you have the training?
Here’s one final thought: Before becoming a freelance translator, honestly ask yourself whether or not you have the necessary experience that will help distinguish you from all the other freelance translators. One way to do this is through Marygrove College’s online program in Modern Language Translation. In our program, students will not only study the linguistic and cultural aspects of language transfer, but they will take a hands-on approach to translating journalistic, commercial, legal, and scientific texts.

To learn more about our Modern Language Translation program, browse our website, email us at [email protected], or call 855-628-6279 to speak to one of our Admissions Representatives.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators

3 Ways Language Translators Can Supplement Their Income

Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

Maybe you want to supplement your income. Or maybe you’d like to keep your language skills sharp or simply need a change of pace, but don’t want to completely give up language translation. If you know your languages fluently, have the drive to try something new, and want to interact with language learners, we’ve found three websites where you can put your skills to good use.

3 Ways Language Translators Can Supplement Their Income

language translatorsitalki is a language-learning community that connects teachers and language learners through Skype. Here’s the deal: If you want to work as a professional teacher, you’ll either have to:

1) teach at a school or language institute,
2) have a university degree in education, or
3) have a teaching certificate (i.e. TESOL).

If you do not meet these qualifications, you can become a community tutor. All you need is a passion for language and a willingness to help language learners practice. Tutors earn up to $16 an hour. Professional teachers earn up to $20 an hour.

language translatorsVerbal Planet is a lot like italki. You decide how much you want to charge for your lessons, create your own schedule and manage it with your online work planner. You’ll need a Paypal account since you are paid directly by your students.

Here are a few more perks: The service is completely free; there is no membership fee; 100 percent of what you earn is yours.

Verbalplanet asks that you register only if you have teaching experience and “relevant qualifications.”

language translators 3We’d like to tell you more about Myngle, but this is the best we can do: To teach language learners through Myngle, you’ll need Skype and a Paypal account. Here’s where things get cloudy…

Myngle collects payments from students and delivers payments to your PayPal account once a month. Whether you are paid hourly or salary is unclear; it’s also unclear how much of a cut Myngle takes from your lessons, but they do mention a commission deduction.  

If you are interested in teaching with Myngle, keep in mind that you’ll have to pass a Myngle selection and training program.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, language translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators

Procrastination Nation: 4 Remedies for Language Translators

Posted on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

If you’re anything like the language translators we know, you are bombarded by distractions all day long. Distractions come in many forms, but none is more insidious and time swallowing than the Internet. If you lack the discipline to keep your Internet browser locked away while you translate, we’ve got four apps that will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

Procrastination Nation: 4 Remedies for Language Translators

language translators 1Freedom seems a rather ironic name for an app that locks your PC or MAC away from the Internet for up to eight hours a day, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, this little app has the blessing of writers that include Zadie Smith, Naomi Klein, Miranda July, Nick Hornby and others. Should language translators experience an emergency or feel an uncontrollable urge to cheat their Internet detox, they can always reboot to disable this $10 app.

language translators 2SelfControl is a free Mac OS X (10.5 or above) app that allows language translators to block websites, mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Simply set the period of time to block, add sites to your blacklist, and click "Start." But keep in mind that you won’t be able to cheat like you can with Freedom. Once you’ve set the time, it can’t be disabled. 

language translators 3Disabling the Internet entirely feels a bit drastic? Then Anti-Social may be your best Internet anodyne. For $15, this Mac app will only block the websites of your choosing. Set Anti-Social blocks for as little as 15 minutes—or as many as eight hours—but don’t expect to cheat once you’ve set your time. Like SelfControl, this app can’t be turned off.  

language translators 4If you’re a language translator who prefers to be shamed into reformation, go with Rescue Time. This app automatically records the amount of time you spend on websites and apps; then it groups data into a digestible report so you can see what you’ve been doing all day. You can also set goals and Rescue Time will show you how close you are to meeting them. You can download the app for free with limited features. 

If you’re looking for other ways to reform your procrastination habits, check out our other blogs, Write Room: A Distraction-Free Writing App for Language Translators, 5 Time Management Tips Every Freelance Translator Should Know and 5 More Time Management Secrets for Translators.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators, time management for translators

5 ways to tastefully promote your language translation business

Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 15:06 PM

translation businessLanguage translators must consistently churn out quality translations, but equally important to their success is how well they market themselves and connect with others in the field. Below you’ll find five simple steps you can take to successfully (and tastefully) promote your translation business.

Never appear desperate
We’ve yet to meet a language translator who hasn’t experienced financial famine. The difference between how the savvy and inexperienced translator recovers from business lull is that the former knows not to advertise it to potential clients. You may be pining for work, but prospective clients don’t need to know that. Clients want to hire successful translators, not those who appear desperate.

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: start a blog
Language translators are in the position to make or break the reputation of their clients. One way to showcase your expertise to clients (whose credibility lies in your hands) is by writing about it on your own blog.

Write about your business, your experience in the field, and offer tips to other translators. This is one of the best ways to drum up business, establish relationships with other people in the field, and highlight your knowledge and experience. If you’re looking for a free blogging platform, we highly recommend Weebly.  

Turn your blog entries into an E-book
Publishing an E-book is another way to bolster your credibility in the translation business and also earn a little extra money. Writing a book may sound lofty, but it’s easier than you might think. Think about it this way: If you write only two one-page blog entries a week for a year, you’ll have over 100 pages. If you write quality content, there’s no reason not to republish these blogs in E-book form.

If you’re looking for sample E-book on translation, check out Mark Daniels’s book, How to Become a Translator: Breaking into the freelance translation business. If you want to learn more about publishing your own E-book on Amazon, click here.

Present your own webinars
Companies have long been using webinars to market their services, organize meetings and train their employees. Webinars have the potential to reach thousands of people instantly while providing a permanent, accessible presentation that you can offer as a free download on your blog! If you’re looking for an affordable webinar platform, check out Anymeeting or Onwebinar.

Create Podcasts
Web users are hungry for free content, especially the kind that they can take with them. Another way to showcase your expertise and market your translation business is by creating short podcasts that your audience can download and take with them. Not sure where to get started? Check out this useful blog on How Stuff Works.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, language translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators, translation business

Language translators can learn a lot from Jerry Seinfeld

Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

language translatorsA successful translation business certainly hinges on the quality of our work, but equally important is making the time to increase our visibility. Building up a roster of steady clients takes time and without an online presence, it’ll take even longer. We know this.

We also know that increasing our online visibility means blogging, leaving comments on other language translation blogs, Tweeting, using Facebook and LinkedIn. But how do we find the time and energy to do all of this when we’re so busy trying to do our job: translate?

Language translators can learn a lot from Jerry Seinfeld

We recently discovered a productivity secret called “Don’t break the chain.” Strangely enough, we have to thank comedian Jerry Seinfeld for this one. Here’s how it works:

First, set your goal(s)—and make sure they are feasible. Write them down and hang the list in a prominent place on the wall. Next to your list of goals, you’ll hang a wall calendar.

Every day that you accomplish all of your goals you get to put a big X over that day on your calendar. If you are consistent, the Xs turn into a chain that continues to grow as long as you continue to meet your goals. The goal is never to break the chain.

Seeing this chain grow is rewarding; it feels good to flip through the pages and reflect on all of your progress. And once your chain is a few weeks long, you’ll notice that you are less tempted to cheat or skip a day.  

While we prefer hanging a hard copy calendar on the wall—there’s a satisfaction in taking a Sharpie and making dark hard lines on it at the end of the day—you can find a digital Don’t-Break-the-Chain Calendar here.

If you’re looking for a few more productivity tips for language translators, check out two of our other blogs, 5 Time Management Tips Every Freelance Translator Should Know and 10 Networking Tips for the Freelance Translator.

Photo Credit: Alan Light

 

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Topics: Modern Language Translation, Translation and interpretation studies, time management tips for translators, Translation Classes Online, translation business

Rituals and routines: tips for language translators

Posted on Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

language translatorWe wish creativity and motivation were formulaic, but every writer—or in our case, language translator—has to find his or her own way of tapping into them. We’ve always been fascinated by the creative rituals of others, so we thought we’d share a few of our own. While we can’t guarantee that these will work for you, we hope that you’ll at least find them interesting.

Dress the part
A colleague of ours—and a fellow translator who used to work a nine-to-five—recently told us an amusing story. Before she exited the corporate world and went freelance, she was expected to show up every morning in a two-piece business suit. And each morning as she slipped into it, she resented it. The first thing she did after going freelance was wad up her power suits, throw them in a black trash bag and drop them off at the local Salvation Army.

Here’s the funny thing: Working from home in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt was liberating, but she believed that—in some strange, psychological way—the new wardrobe impacted her output and quality of work. Although you won’t find her in a business suit, the wardrobe that replaced it isn’t a far cry from the one hanging on the racks in the Salvation Army. Her conclusion: “Dressing up” is a necessary ritual and when she doesn’t do it, her work suffers.

Warm up and stretch your mental muscles
You’ll never go to a professional sporting event and find an empty field. Hours before the action begins, the athletes can be found running, taping their wrists, stretching, strategizing, throwing, etc. Language translators are linguistic athletes and as with physical activity, we’ve found that warming up and stretching is a necessary part of our routine.  

Before we dive into the rigors of our daily work, we log into our Penzu account, an online journal platform that actually looks like a real journal. We may only write 100 words, but we never scrutinize it, never revise and never care how it sounds. We simply write enough to stretch our mind and ease into the day’s work.

Find an accountability partner
Our friends, spouses and partners may sympathize with the stress that comes with being a language translator, but they’ll never fully understand it. We’ve found it necessary to have an accountability partner—that is, a fellow language translator we “check in” with at least once a day. Our partner is someone we call or email in the morning and let them know what we’re going to be working on for the next four or five hours. Around lunchtime, we speak over the phone and give a brief “account” of what we’ve accomplished.

It may sound like a strange practice, but we’ve found it works wonders for our productivity and mental health.

You have a bedtime routine. Why don’t you have a translating routine?
We recently read a biography on novelist Stephen King. Amongst other things, we learned a bit about his philosophy on creative routines. For him, creative routines are no “different than a bedtime routine.” Here’s a quote from the book:

“Do you go to bed a different way every night? Is there a certain side you sleep on? I mean I brush my teeth, I wash my hands. Why would anybody wash their hands before they go to bed? I don’t know. And the pillows are supposed to be pointed a certain way. The open side of the pillowcase is supposed to be pointed in toward the other side of the bed. I don’t know why.”

Put together a morning ritual and follow it the same way every day. Like pulling back the covers on your bed before getting into it, the final step of your creative routine may make beginning your translation work a painless, almost reflexive final step.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: writing strategies, writing skills, Modern Language Translation, Translation and interpretation studies, time management tips for translators, Translation Classes Online, language translators, writing rituals, creative rituals

5 Myths of the Freelance Translator

Posted on Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 09:05 AM

freelance translatorYou may have fantasized about quitting your job and starting a translation business, a new career that, at least in your dream, allows you to meander downstairs long after your spouse has fought traffic and punched the time card. There’s no doubt about it, becoming a freelance translator is liberating in many ways, but before you decide to go solo, we’d like to debunk five freelancing myths.

5 Myths of the Freelance Translator

Freelance translators don’t have a boss
Indeed, you don’t have a boss; you’ve got dozens of them now. You’ve also got more than a few employees to keep in line: the copywriter (you), blogger (you), networker (you), IT specialist (you), marketer (you), collections agent (also you), and the list goes on. Then there are all of the clients you have to answer to. True, you no longer have to spend eight hours in a cubicle, but you’ll still spend eight hours (at the very least) in a place where you can get work done.

Working from home is liberating
Yes and no. Many freelance translators relish the fact that they don’t have to put on a tie, iron their pants and tuck their shirts in, but working from home has several landmines you’ll have to negotiate. If you have kids or pets, expect interruptions. Also keep in mind that you’ll need the will and tenacity of a saint. Our homes are full of distractions and unlike the office, no one is counting how many visits you make to the water cooler or how long you were gone on lunch break. You’ll have to keep yourself in check in order meet deadlines and keep clients happy.

Freelance translators have more free time
This is also half true. Unlike nine-to-fivers, you don’t have to spent an hour getting ready in the morning; you don’t have to fight traffic or wait for the train; you don’t have to take a mandatory lunch break when you’d rather work through your lunch and go home early. Now for the “but.”

Your schedule is not entirely your own. We suspect that many of your clients will be scattered throughout the country, maybe even the globe. Most businesses operate on a nine-to-five schedule, so you’ll need to be available. And keep in mind, if you’re working with international clients, or even clients located throughout the country, you’ll have to account for different time zones.

Freelance translators don’t have to “deal” with people
Freelancing is independent work, but misanthropes are rarely successful freelance translators. You own your own business now—which means that you must be the marketer, the relationship builder, the lead nurturer. When you aren’t translating, you’ll be talking to new clients, updating your own personal blog or website and networking with other translators through Linked In and other social-media platforms. You may not have to deal with a boss looking over your shoulder, but you’ll still have to deal with people.

Freelancing is quick money
This is one we borrowed from thebigwordblog. Contrary to what many folks think, freelance translation is not quick money. You’re going to have to work hard to find clients and build a reputation for yourself. Also keep in mind that building a steady stream of clients is going to take time, so chances are that money is going to be tight for the first year.

Think of a game plan and stick to a schedule. In addition to this, find time to brainstorm your brand, create it and begin to market it. The first few jobs you take on will most likely not be high-paying ones, but they should be credible.

Here’s one final thought: Before becoming a freelance translator, honestly ask yourself whether or not you have the necessary experience that will help distinguish you from all the other freelance translators. One way to do this is through Marygrove College’s online program in Modern Language Translation. In our program, students will not only study the linguistic and cultural aspects of language transfer, but they will take a hands-on approach to translating journalistic, commercial, legal, and scientific texts.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators

Show. Don’t Tell: a better way to market your translation business

Posted on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 15:04 PM

translation businessLanguage translators are in the business of intangibles: We sell words, but we also guarantee that those words will uphold the credibility and reputation of our clients. That’s no small responsibility. So how do those of us in the translation business take potential clients beyond our word and show them that we will deliver? How do we separate ourselves from the millions of folks out there who call themselves translators simply because they speak two languages “fluently?”

Show. Don’t Tell: a better way to market your translation business

You can market your translation business through email, but let’s face it, emails are ugly and clunky. Email does allow you to attach a resume and cover letter, or provide links to articles you’ve translated—but accessing these documents is a hassle for your potential client. We suggest that you skip the email attachments once and for all and start showcasing yourself, your reputation and your work on your own website.

 That sounds expensive and complicated, doesn’t it? That’s true, having a sleek, professional-looking website would have cost a translation business hundreds, even thousands of dollars a few years ago, but thanks to micro-publishing sites like Populr, you can create your own website—and do it for free.

Populr allows you to build what they call “POPs.” This is just another name for a mini, one-page “website” that will house digital media—text, photos, video, sound—and present it in a way that makes you look as good as your translation business is.

Populr is also a useful marketing tool for your translation business. For example, when you send a “POP” to clients, Populr actually tracks when they open the page, and what they accessed while they were on it. You can also share your POPs through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.

A basic plan won’t cost you anything, but if you want a domain name that matches your translation business, or want more sophisticated features, you can always browse their upgrade costs and features here.  

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, Spanish Translation Course, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation Classes Online, language translators, apps for translators, translation business

How Do I Set My Rates? Hourly rate calculator for language translators

Posted on Thu, Apr 04, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

language translatorsHow do I set my rates? Should I charge by the word or by the hour? These are two questions most anyone new to the language translation profession would ask themselves. 

Generally speaking, language translators are paid by the word, but there are some cases where you might choose instead to bill by the hour.

One advantage of charging by the hour instead of by the word is that there’s little risk of losing money. Here’s an example Corinne McKay gives in one of her blogs: Say you charge $50 an hour and spend ten hours translating a document, you’ll earn $500. However, if you charge 20 cents a word, estimating that you’ll be able to translate 600 words an hour, but find that you can actually only translate 250 words an hour, ouch…you’re going to lose money.

If you’re new to the translation profession and still trying to figure out whether to charge by the hour or the word, the easiest way to remove the anxiety from this decision is to gather some objective data. To help you do this, stop by Freelance Switch, an hourly rate calculator. It’s simple to use and should only take five to ten minutes to complete.

language translators2

 Freelance Switch takes into account real-life factors—office rent, hardware and software costs, legal fees, daily expenses, vacation time, travel expenses, etc.—to help you determine your ideal hourly rate and your break-even hourly rate. Of course the app can only provide you with a loose approximation since it cannot factor in such things as your skill or experience level, demand and industry standards.

Also worth keeping in mind when trying to figure out how much to charge for a translation is that it is best to think about the whole, as opposed to the parts of a translation. If a translation job has complex structure and obscure vocabulary the translator needs to factor in the time it will take to research words and expressions, how much time it will take to produce a quality product as opposed to how fast words can be put together.

If you’re a freelance translator and looking for tips on how to brand yourself or better manage your time, check out two of our blogs, 5 Do's and Don'ts When Branding Yourself for a Translation Agency and 5 Time Management Secrets Everyone in the Translation Profession Should Know.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, Spanish Translation Course, French Translation Certification, freelance translation, freelance translator, Translation and interpretation studies, Translation Classes Online

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