Monday, September 26, 2016

Translators: Be Realistic about How Many Clients You Need

If you’re just starting out in the world a freelance translating, your first obstacle is probably going to be trying to find your first elusive clients. Perhaps some of you are already at the stage whereby you feel that the lack of progress you’re making is because most clients won’t pay your rates, or your experience is that the potential clients you’ve approached are not looking for someone who needs your language/specialization. 

Maybe the potential client’s you’ve contacted our looking for experienced translators capable of translating large projects on short notice. Whatever your experience is to date, remember that you’re not alone in these experiences. Most translators have felt exactly the same way when trying to get their freelance translation business off the ground.

You’re Missing One Very Important Point!

As beginner translators we can get very caught up in the fact that we need to get out there and find ourselves some new translation clients that we forget about the reality of our business. The truth is you don’t need a lot of clients! You need, perhaps, between five and eight regular clients, and some other clients to fill in the gaps. 

Once your business is up and running you’ll realize that around two-thirds of your income will come from your top few clients. Of course you can’t become too reliant on any one client, because life happens and clients do disappear for any number of reasons; however, your top clients are the ones that keep you busy: they already know and trust you, and there’s less administrative time with these clients because you’ve worked so well together in the past.

Change Your Thinking!

Once you understand this, set about changing your thinking about the number of clients you actually need to run a successful freelance translation business. Think small! Think a few, high-quality, well-paying clients rather than thinking big and becoming so discouraged. If you apply to twenty potential clients and one client turns out to be a good, loyal client, then you’ve been highly successful. Keep marketing your translation business until such time as you’ve achieved anywhere between three and ten clients, and you’ll find that these clients will keep your incredibly busy.

There Are Potential Clients Out There Waiting to Hear from You!

Did you know that there are more than 47,000 law firms in the United States? If you’re a legal translator and 99% of these law firms already have a regular translator, or perhaps they have no translation needs or don’t need your language pair, that leaves 470 clients just waiting to hear from you! And still, with that number, you need to hope that at least 99.9% of these law firms don’t need your services, because that still leaves 47 clients - which is way too many for any translator to handle. You get the point! 

You don’t need a lot of translation clients: you only need a few loyal and good quality clients to run a successful freelance translation business. That being said, always keep in mind that translation clients come and go, so you still need to maintain some sort of marketing strategy. Your business can’t be allowed to fail simply because you lost one or two of your best translation clients.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Explaining ‘Post-Editing’

As much as translators sometimes wish it wasn’t true, there’s been enormous technological progress made in the field of translation. Before 1970, machine translation was almost unheard of, but what initially began as an experiment has today become a reality in the world of translation.

Translators are quietly confident that machine translations won’t replace human translations, certainly not in the short term anyway, but we can’t pretend that this technology doesn’t exist. It does exist, and more and more translators, agencies, and clients are using machine translations.

And this is where the term ‘post-editing’ has come from. Post-editing can be defined as the process of editing an automated translation. Today translators can use Google Translate and work with a bilingual document using Trados: a translation memory can be created, and this will be of great assistance for future reference and future translations. As the user runs the commands, the automatic translation will be displayed segment by segment. Enter the editor! The editor’s job is vitally important when using machine translations because the translated text will require human interpretation.

The Post-Editing Process

What should we expect from the post-editing process? Well, from a completed translation document’s point of view, the task of post-editing must be approached as one would approach a regular editing task. The editor will take the automatically translated text and perfect and polish it the same way they would a translation completed by a human translator. Just because a translation has been completed using AT tools, it doesn’t mean that the editor can lower the quality of their work. In fact, it’s quite the contrary! With automatic translations, it’s probably even more important that the editor pays very close attention to the translated text because we must realize that a machine has no analysis capabilities.

When Should Post-Editing Be Used?

Automatic translation is probably best suited for texts that are scientific or technical in nature; texts with a limited vocabulary. And when we say ‘limited,' we’re referring to the number of meanings that a specific word might have. It’s certainly true that both the scientific and technical fields are becoming more complex; however, the greater the technical complexity in the document, the more specific the word translation must be, so we must assume that it’s more likely that the machine will select the right word.

Texts Not Recommended for Machine Translation

The least-recommended texts for machine translation are probably literary works, such as poems, novels, and so on, because, in literature, the author's intention is an essential element; and also because these type of texts require the translator to have great interpretive qualities. In these instances, the post-editing process would become so complicated and so large that the whole document would probably have to be re-translated.

So, for translators to stay current and up-to-date, and to ensure they continue adapting to the reality of today’s translation industry, it’s important that they accept (and even welcome) the fact that machine translation is a trend that’s growing, particularly in the area of industrial relations.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Communication Is Everything!

There are probably not many translators out there who remember when the world of translation was a lonely place indeed; when the only communication a translator had with another translator was either in person or over the phone.

The World of Translation Is an Entirely Different World Today

Then came the Foreign Language Education Forum (FLEFO) which provided translators with instant access to their colleagues, across national borders and across oceans; followed by the newsgroup sci.lang.translation and the mailing list Lantra-L. Fortunately, today, translators are linked via mailing lists, numerous websites, and social networking sites. Having this wide variety of tools allows translators to, not only exchange experiences and information about certain clients but to consult translators all over the world about an idiom or a certain technical term. Now, translators are available to their colleagues to both offer and receive advice from other colleagues on how to handle translation problems and other business situations.

Services Available to Translators

In the past, translators were on their own when it came to clients who refused to pay for completed translation projects, but today there are facilities and sites dedicated solely to defending the business interests of translators, regardless of their specialization or their language combination. And, of course, there are dozens of mailing lists catering to translators working in certain areas of expertise (medicine, law, patents, and so on) and in certain languages. Payment Practices has become a lifesaver to many translators, and client rating sites such as the Translator Client Review List and ProZ can be used for both denouncing a client who’s reneged on paying for services completed or for obtaining information about a specific client prior to accepting a translation project.

All Power to Translators – Worldwide!

One cannot overestimate the power this gives the tens of thousands of translators worldwide, in being able to communicate with each other, to exchange valuable information, and being able to act on this information by deciding how to deal with a certain client. A translator located in Thailand could well be offered a translation project from France, but refuse the job simply because they consulted Payment Practices and discovered that a translation colleague based in Argentina recently had a negative experience with that client! And isn’t that the great thing of globalization!

Because we now have access to the internet (and thus the world), any company or individual who mistreats a translator or fails to pay for services rendered can’t expect to stay in business for very long.  Today, clients aren’t simply dealing with an individual translator – they’re dealing with the global translation community, and this community is linked electronically and thus capable of exchanging information within seconds.

So, if you’re a professional translator and you’ve yet to make yourself aware of these invaluable services, then you’re putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage in the business world because today’s business world is the world that ignores distance and national borders.

Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Become a Professional Translator

Many professional translators and translation agencies are asked what qualifications are required in order to become a professional translator. Is being bilingual enough? The answer to this question is ‘No, it’s not enough! Of course being bilingual is a great skill, but being fluent in another language means that you’re able to speak, comprehend, read, and write in that language at a high level – in fact, you must have as much knowledge of the language as an educated native speaker. Being fluent in the language is just one step to becoming a professional translator. And, just like every other profession, it requires experience, lots of practice, and ongoing training. The path to success is different for everyone, but here are some guidelines that may help –

Having Credentials Helps!

If you want to become a professional translator you need to get some sort of certification or accreditation, because credentials provide the documentation that’s required to prove that you have the skills to translate professionally. If you do some research, you’ll find that there are many universities out there offering advanced degrees and professional certifications in translation. Find out if your state offers accreditation programs for translators, because being certified through one of these organizations will ensure a listing on their website directories – and it’s here that your potential clients will find you. Understand that certification is not a prerequisite to becoming a successful translator, but it’s a really good place to start!

Take a Language Proficiency Test

There are language proficiency tests you can take to show potential clients that you’re fluent in your second language, and of course, it looks great on your resume. A well-known proficiency test is the DLPT (Defence Language Proficiency Test). This test is used by the Department of Defence in the United States in order to assess the language proficiency of native English speakers in a specific foreign language. Again, go online and find a language proficiency test that best suits your situation.

Get as Much Experience as You Can

In order to climb the ladder of success, you have to gain experience. Most people began their work career working entry-level jobs and doing internships, and becoming a professional translator is no exception. It’s absolutely vital that you gain as much experience as you can so you can get recommendations and show samples of your work to potential clients. If possible, take classes in translation, and look for work opportunities on campus, volunteer work, or wherever you can gain some experience.

Start Marketing Yourself

Now that you’ve got your credentials and you’re getting lots of translating experience, you need to start marketing yourself and your translation skills to government agencies, language agencies, police stations, hospitals, law firms, and any other business you can think of that may be able to use your services. In general, translators work for their clients on a contract basis, and not as full-time employees. Make sure your resume is up-to-date, and you have your rates list ready. Not having an established rates list is the first tell-tale sign that you’re not a professional, so make sure this doesn’t give you away! If you’re not sure what to charge, either contact other translators or check out professional translators’ websites to see what they charge. Many professional translators have their own website, with an active blog, and you might like to consider joining an active community of online language professionals.

Never Stop Learning!

Have you considered specializing in a specific subject? Are you keeping up with industry trends? Are you familiar with and comfortable using translation memory software? Translating is a very competitive industry, but many others have achieved success and you can too. Just remember to always keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date, and never stop learning!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Why Do Some Freelance Translators Make It and Others Don’t?

In this post, we’ll take a look at translators who are still in the freelance launch phase and try to identify the pitfalls that cause so much worry and stress when just starting out in the business.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Expecting Too Much from a Half-Hearted Marketing Effort

Unless you already have direct clients to kick-start your translation business, then sending out a few applications to translation companies is not going to be enough. Sorry, but it’s going to take a lot more than that! You’ve decided to become a freelance translator, so your job now is to market, market, market and continue marketing until the day you decide you no longer wish to be a freelance translator - because the marketing of your translation business should never end!

Don’t Expect a Short Start-Up Phase

You’re starting a new business and you’re going to be looking for clients - this all takes time. Don’t make the mistake of expecting the start-up phase of your freelance translation business to be just a couple of months. You need to start marketing (looking for work), then you need time to do the work and time to get paid; so realistically, six months would be the very minimum to expect for start-up. It could well be a year or longer!

You Must Have Strong Language Skills

Many professionals believe that it’s difficult to develop the cultural and linguistic competence professional translators need without spending time in your source language country.

You Need to Be Prepared to Put Yourself Out There

As with any other business, people can’t possibly know about you and hire your services if they can’t find you! You can’t be shy about this: you have to put yourself out there. People can’t refer clients to you if they don’t know what you do, so let people know who you are both in person and online.

Get Your Rates Up as Quickly as Possible

A trap for new translators is getting stuck on the low-rate treadmill. Obviously, no-one sets out to be underpaid, and we know that working is certainly better than not working, plus, when you’re trying to break into an industry you have to start somewhere. The intention is usually to start low then trade up to better-paying clients, but the problem arises: when and how do you do this? Some translators keep working long hours at low rates, just to pay the bills, and because they’re not confident of retaining their clients, they stick with their low-paying clients.

Being Self-Employed Is Not Always a Walk in the Park!

You may have heard the saying about the entrepreneur working 60 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else. Even though working a lot of overtime is not advisable, the essence of this statement is quite true. Yes, working for yourself is indeed a lot of work, but people who choose to be freelancers prefer to take responsibility for their own future by making their own decisions. Being a freelance translator does not suit everyone, but for those who do choose this path, it can provide an amazing lifestyle. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Marketing Strategies for Sustaining a Freelance Translation Business

Marketing is an integral part of a translator’s life, and marketing strategies are vitally important to the success of any freelance translation business. Errors in marketing and lack of marketing can have the same result - no work!

Below we’ve listed some common, but critical, marketing errors by freelance translators: errors that can break a freelance business –

No Marketing!

Even when there’s a downturn in the economy it seems that the translation business still does very well, and most qualified professionals don’t need to look for work. However, most translators rely on a steady flow of work from their regular clients, each of whom provides a certain percentage of their yearly income. Now, what would happen if one or more of these relationships failed? Any number of scenarios could result in the loss of a client. Your clients’ business could fail, or your translation services may no longer be required because they’ve either found someone cheaper or perhaps it’s a cost-cutting exercise on the part of the business. 

Translators must have a plan to cover unexpected client losses. It’s not realistic to assume that you’ll be translating indefinitely for your current client base. You need to consider who your next translation clients will be, and how you intend marketing to them.

Most Translators Discover Their Loyal Direct Clients Through Either Personal Referrals Or In-Person Meetings

If you’ve met a client in person and been able to build a relationship with them, you’re obviously going to have a better rapport with that client. And, as in any other business, the clients that either offers a large volume of work or pay very well, meaning your high-value clients, are the ones who are more likely to trust someone they’ve met in person. It’s very important that you put yourself out there and talk to real, live people. Why not attend a tradeshow for your specialization or go to a freelancers group potluck? 

You could join your local Chamber of Commerce or attend an ATA conference – however you decide to network, realize that this is the most effective way of attracting good clients.

Don’t Try And Compete On Price Alone

To start with, quality conscious clients are likely to be skeptical if you’re charging low rates: they’ll wonder why you’re willing to work so hard for so little. In addition, most people work better when they feel they’re being well paid for their services, and of course, the reverse is also true. The other problem with setting low prices is that it creates a negative dynamic between the translator and the client, where the client is likely to consider the translator as simply a commodity provider; meaning that your hard work is not valued. Translators also need to remember that there will always be another translator prepared to work for less money; so, instead of competing on price, you need to charge what you believe your expertise is worth. What you should be competing on, however, is quality and customer service. These are what your clients are looking for!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Translators: Learning to Trust Your Instincts with New Clients

Learning how to vet job offers and prospective clients can be difficult for a new translator: it’s not always easy to know straight off if a job offer or a new client is legitimate, and of course there’s no true way of really knowing. And yes, even very experienced translators can get scammed! And sometimes you can be unsure about a potential client, but once you get over some initial hiccups they turn out to become one of your most loyal clients.

Below we’ve listed some tips on learning to trust your instincts and how to determine whether a job or a client is legitimate.

Check a Translation Industry Client Rating List

Our first piece of advice is very important! Use a translation industry client rating list and check to see if your potential client has been rated. So, first step: check the rating list as soon as you’ve been contacted by a new client: these are invaluable resources for translators, and you’ll generally find that clients who are non-payers will have been rated on these lists. If you don’t yet belong to a translation industry client rating list, check out Payment Practices, and of course there are others.

Ask Your Prospective Client for References

In our opinion, it’s quite acceptable to ask your potential client for references from other translators they may have used in the past; remembering that you should also be prepared to offer the client the same information. Ask the client if they belong to any professional associations for translators. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee legitimacy, but it does indicate that the client is prepared to invest their money and time in joining such an association.

Make Sure You Get All Contact Information

Never accept instructions from a client without first obtaining full contact information from the client: this should include their physical address, email address, and their phone number; and don’t forget to get the full name and contact information of the person who will be handling your account.

Ask for Payment in Advance

Another option is to ask for payment in advance, and this advice is generally for people who don’t really need the work that’s being offered. You might request full or partial payment in advance, but remember that some clients won’t agree to this proposition because they now run the risk of receiving no translation at all or an unacceptable translation. If you’re not prepared to take any risk at all with a new client, then ask them to pay in advance: it can and does happen that a client can disappear after they’ve received the translation and leave no forwarding phone number or address, leaving you high and dry when it comes to payment.

What Does Your Gut Feeling Tell You?

In our opinion, we should all use our intuition a lot more than we do. ‘Trusting our instincts’, ‘having a gut feeling’, and so on: we all get these feelings and sometimes we simply ignore them because they’re going against what we really want to do. But, remember that you’re a professional and your time and effort is worth a lot more than completing a translation for someone who has no intention of paying for your services. Follow the above tips and let the client know that you’re checking rating lists, asking for references, and working out payment terms and conditions upfront. If they’re not prepared for this, they’ll more than likely move on to a more gullible, unsuspecting translator. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Which Is Best? Being Paid by the Word or the Hour?

There are cases where translators bill by the hour, but generally, the norm is for translators to charge on a per-word basis.

Below we’ve listed our thoughts on the differences between charging by the hour and charging by the word –

There Are Advantages to Pricing Translations by the Word

·         If you charge by the number of source words, then everyone involved in the translation process, including the client, knows up-front just how much the project will cost – right down to the very last cent. No-one has to estimate how many hours the project will take and no-one has to deal with any unexpected overruns.

·         Pricing on a per word basis encourages translators to improve their technology and skills: it may also improve translation technology innovations because translators would be more likely to invest in tools that allow them to translate faster.

·         An efficient and skilled translator would probably be able to earn more charging by the word than a client would be happy to pay by the hour.

·         Pricing on a per-word basis allows translation clients to quickly and easily compare quotations, rather than having to determine between a translator who quotes a higher per hour figure and claims to work quickly from one who has a lower per-hour charge-out rate but works slower.

Disadvantages of Pricing by the Word

One of the disadvantages of pricing by the word is that the translator is agreeing to work for a flat and fixed rate, which means that when you come to a document that’s barely legible because it’s been scanned and photocopied many times before you receive it or the handwriting is barely legible, you’re now stuck with the per-word rate you agreed to. Once you’ve experienced this a few times you’ll probably decide it’s time to rethink your charge-out rate and introduce a higher rate!

So, Is It Better to Price by the Hour?

It all depends! From the translator’s point of view, the main advantage of pricing by the hour is that the translator has no risk of loss: if you charge (let’s say) $40 per hour and you work for 10 hours, then you know you’ll receive $400. On the other hand, if you charge (let’s say) $.20 per word and believe you’re capable of translating 600 words per hour, but the complexity of the particular document means that you actually translate 250 words per hour, then your anticipated finances have just taken a hit.

As you can see, the pricing structure for translation is all a matter of preference; however, the main reasons pricing by the word is still favored are –

·         The client is fully aware how much the translation will cost; and

·         Generally, the more efficient and experienced translators are capable of earning more on a per-word basis than what clients would be prepared to pay by the hour. One word of warning here, though, is that translators should be sure that everyone agrees in advance whether the billable word count is determined by the source document or the target document.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goal Setting for Translators

It’s interesting that many freelance translators don’t set goals for their business, yet we know that goal-setting is a vitally important element of running any business – and yes, that includes running a freelance translation business too! When you work day-in-day-out without any goal in mind, this type of passive attitude can only lead to low job satisfaction and job stress, and it’s no wonder! You feel like you’re at the mercy of your clients and that they’re dictating how, when, and what rate you work at; instead of having the satisfaction of knowing that you’re actively progressing towards achieving your goals.

Let’s have a look at some suggestions for setting and achieving your goals –

Define Your Likes and Dislikes

Ask yourself what you enjoy and what you dislike about being a freelance translator, and make sure you write your answers down. Do you hate the stress of rush projects, but you love the flexibility of your job? Be honest about your specialization: do you find it boring? Or do you love your specialization, but you’re not feeling challenged at the moment? Once you’ve completed your list, find ways to shift your work towards the aspect’s you enjoy. Making this kind of inventory can be eye-opening, because suddenly the answers will be clear.

Rank Your Clients

Divide your clients into groups – Group A, Group B, and Group C. Your Group A clients should be your drop everything clients. These are the clients that are easy to work with, they’re the clients who pay well, and their translation projects are interesting. Unfortunately, most Group A clients don’t require your services on a regular basis, so unless you have a lot of these clients you still need another source of income. Group B Clients are your bread-and-butter clients – they’re the foundation of your business. It’s these clients that keep your Inbox filled with work; they usually pay on time, and their work can be either tedious or interesting. Group C clients are those clients who may offer a particularly interesting project, but you only work with them when business has been slow or you have some other motivation.

Now that you’ve ranked your clients, work out how you can identify more Group A clients. What are the specific characteristics of these clients? Once you have the answer to this question, you can then search the Internet for more potential clients like them. An additional benefit is that you’ll also discover some characteristics of your business. Group A clients are probably going to be direct clients because, once a translator has reached a certain level in the industry, they will have moved beyond translation agencies maximum rates. Any translator who’s reached that level won’t be able to increase their income without moving towards working with direct clients, and that will involve undertaking one hour translation reviews.

Make Sure the Goals You Set Are Specific and Achievable

Being specific and being achievable are the two characteristics that make goals worthwhile. Instead of setting vague goals like: ‘To be less stressed’ or ‘To make more money’, set yourself actual goals that you can reach, and be specific. These need to be measurable objectives. As an example, your goal might be to find one new direct client in a specialization you’re really interested in; or perhaps to find three new direct clients that pay more than your current per-word rate within the next three months. It may be that you set a goal of increasing your income by 30% in the next financial year, or that in six months’ time you won’t be working any more than one night per week. Of course, these are just suggestions, but whatever your goal is, write it down and make sure it’s specific - and achievable! Good luck!

Monday, May 16, 2016

How to Know When Enough Is Enough

Anyone running their own business will tell you there’s that certain task they’re required to do to ensure the efficient running of their business that they keep putting off because they simply dislike the task or they’re not very good at doing it. And of course, this is where outsourcing comes in. Sometimes it simply makes good business sense to outsource a task while you carry on doing what you’re really good at.

Making Smart Business Decisions

Some freelance translators are quite capable of doing their own accounting, and some are not! And then there are others who are very capable of handling their own accounting but choose not to because it’s a time-consuming task and they feel their time is better spent doing what they excel at, and that’s translating documents. If you really love running your own freelance translation business and everything is going exceptionally well for you in terms of work coming in, accounts being paid, and so on; however, there’s that one task that really bugs you, like proofreading, editing, accounting, or whatever that task may be, then it might be time to consider outsourcing that task.

It’s Not Easy Letting Go

Understandably, it can be very hard to let go of the control reigns and allow what is literally an outsider into your business life but, once you’ve found the ideal person to handle that specific task, you’ll look back and wonder why it took you so long to make this decision. And it may be that the first person you choose is not a good fit for you, so continue looking until you find the right person. Just because you run your own business it doesn’t mean you’re an expert at absolutely everything, and perhaps your expertise lies in your translation skills but not in proofreading or editing. And that’s okay! Find someone whose expertise does lie in that area and together you’ll boost your business’s profit; in addition to the fact that you’ve now excused yourself from the task you don’t enjoy doing, allowing you to continue to enjoy running your own business.

Accounting for any business, whether large or small, can be quite complicated and there are rules and regulations that must be adhered to. If all of this sounds daunting to you, then look for someone who is qualified to handle this important task for you. Outsourcing an important aspect of any business, such as accounting, is simply a smart business decision.

Helping Each Other in the Translation Industry

Again, outsourcing any task should pass the two main outsourcing qualification tests: Is this a task you don’t enjoy doing, and will the outsourcing pay for itself?

If you have any suggestions for translators out there on other tasks that perhaps you outsource, or are considering outsourcing or looking for one hour translation reviews, we’d love to from you. We’re all in this translation industry together, and it’s our opinion that we should do whatever we can to help each other successfully run our freelance translation businesses. The translation industry is a relatively small one, so let’s work together and make it a great one!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Your Freelance Translation Business and Coping with Email Overload

If you’re struggling with email overload and wondering why on earth it takes so long to get through what should be a relatively simple task, then you’re certainly not alone. Checking emails and responding to them (even if it simply means deleting them) takes time; valuable time out of your busy schedule.

Today, it seems that most of us suffer from email overload, so here are some tips on how to reconfigure your email set-up. The sources of our email are almost too many to count – there’s email from our family and friends of course, but we also receive emails from professional groups we belong to, our social media sites, not to mention accounts requiring payment, travel sites, one hour translation reviews, and others too numerous to mention.

So, let’s get started!  To begin with we need to create a better method for dealing with our email; plus we must have the right mindset about an email that lands in our Inbox. If checking our email means that we delete the majority of emails at first glance, then it means we need to start by filtering and unsubscribing from unwanted emails. This is something we should do on a regular basis because our need for emails we subscribe to is always changing, so we must adjust to these changes. For example: if we’re planning a cruise then we may subscribe to various travel emails which are pertinent to our up-coming trip; however, once the trip is over these emails may no longer be required, so it’s time to go through your Inbox again and work out what’s wanted and what’s not. Do this by checking each email and assigning it to one of the following categories –

·         This is important email: I need to read it the moment it arrives. This will usually be messages from either colleagues or clients;
·         This email is not so urgent: I’ll read it later, but it’s not important. Maybe an email newsletter or a group you belong to; or
·         This should be deleted: I’m not interested!

The emails that fit into the second category can be filtered to bypass your Inbox. If you use Gmail you can create labels, which means that you can bypass the Inbox when you label something: you don’t need to see that message until the time comes when you choose to. If an email fits into the third category you should unsubscribe from it – it’s the only way to reduce your email volume. Following these three points will cut your inbox volume down by around 60%.

The second part of the email equation is the concept of emails. The only way to really reduce the amount of time spent on emails is to answer messages straight away. This may not work if an email requires specific research or thought before replying; however, it will work with the majority of emails. Generally, emails should be processed instead of simply being read. An effective method of dealing with emails is the ‘one touch method’, meaning that you only touch an email once – you deal with it or you delete it – but either way it’s taken care of once and for all. It’s a great concept!

We would love to hear your thoughts on how you cope with email overload. If you have any specific strategies that work and would like to share these with your fellow translators, then we’d certainly love to hear from you.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Translators: Tips for Rate Negotiations

Rate negotiations for translation can sometimes become an uncomfortable part of your chosen freelance translation career; it’s very much like bargaining when traveling in different countries! However, in order to achieve an acceptable rate for your work, you must accept that negotiation is a reality in the translation business and that there are negotiation tactics to be learned.

The purpose of this article is to assist people who are new to the translation industry in gaining the upper hand. There are strategic methods for approaching the subject of translation rates, and it will definitely be to your advantage once you’ve become comfortable with these strategies.

The First Strategy Is to Base Your Rate and Negotiations on Your Client’s Perception of Value

Freelance translators often make the mistake of pricing their work based on their own perceptions of what they believe their services are worth. This is not the right approach: you must do exactly the opposite! You should price your services according to your client’s perceived value. When it comes to rate negotiation, yours is not the most important opinion – it’s what your client thinks that’s important. Therefore, with your next request for rate negotiation, stop and analyze the nature of the project and the client’s situation. The value of the project to your client should determine the rate you charge, perhaps more so than any other factor. You’ll be in the driver’s seat when determining your translation rate when you understand how your services will benefit your client and ultimately affect their bottom line.

Does this translation fall into any of the following scenarios?

·         An urgent project: If you receive a translation request at 4pm on a Friday afternoon with a delivery deadline of the following Monday afternoon, it’s expected that there’ll be a surcharge of between 30% and 70% for weekend work.

·         Projects that directly affect the bottom line: Some translation projects can make or break a company’s bottom line, and these might include contracts and bid proposals for potentially lucrative deals. For such important projects, you’ll find that clients will accept higher rates.

·         Disruption: If the client’s usual translator is unavailable, on holiday, or sick, this may be your opportunity to negotiate a higher rate for your translation services. However, you need to be aware that your client has been placed in this situation.

The Second Strategy Is to Start High, then Negotiate Lower

Perhaps you’re already aware of your client’s price limits so you may want to employ the ‘start high, then go lower’ tactic; meaning that you make your first offer as high as possible, hopefully without completely alienating the client! Unless you’re well and truly out of the ballpark, it’s highly unlikely that your client will reject your rate outright. Who knows, the client may accept your bid believing that it appears reasonable, which means that you’ll receive a higher price for your services. In any case, using the ‘split the difference’ method is a great tactic for achieving a reasonable rate. Generally, the client will bring you down to a number that you would have been happy to accept anyway, which means that the client is happy with their negotiation skills and you’re happy with the agreed-upon rate.

Of course, these rate negotiations won’t always work in your favor. As a freelance translator, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how to price your services, and what methods to use in achieving your desired income. Remember that if you bargain too aggressively it could result in the loss of good one hour translation reviews; however, if you’re too soft in your negotiations it could cost you a lot of money. Our feeling is that if you lose a client who doesn’t honor the value of your work it could well be a blessing in disguise: by refusing difficult and low-paying projects you’re leaving the door wide open for projects that are worthy of your time and effort.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Life as a Translator - What you need to know

Life as a Translator - What You Need to Know

In part 1 of 2 of this this post Mike looks into the realities of working as a translator 

If you are thinking about entering the translation industry, this is an exciting time to do so. The benefits of working as a translator are varied, and it can be a rewarding, challenging and fun job. People who are natural linguists, have lived in different countries or perhaps studied languages at university could pass the first test of being a translator - that's the technical ability side. The other side that you must consider is the nature of the working life, which is equally important. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are New Budget Players Changing the Translation Industry?

I was doing some online research for my next blog piece the other day, when I noticed an interesting trend. I kept typing various 'keyword phrases' associated with the translation industry and the same Google ads kept appearing for a certain budget-end provider. This prompted me to scrap my old idea and write this. Is the translation services industry due for a shake-up and are budget-end providers going to do just that?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Translation Vs Interpretation: How to Choose Your Profession

Translation Vs InterpretationThe translation services industry is a broad space that has evolved a great deal in recent years. New technology and in-house software have created efficiency gains for companies that are passed down to customers. One of the constants though has been the reliance on human translation methods and human interpretation for the best results. This post outlines the unique skills required to be successful at each for anyone considering joining the industry.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Is Translation Really Art or Maths?

I am often asked this question in my travels and line of work. The answer appears obvious to the traditionalists, it’s art, but for others translation is a line of code and an algorithm on a screen and that’s pure maths, not art. So why should we even concern ourselves with this debate, why does it matter? Well, the answer to this question provides an insight into the industry that we work in. The purists may not be happy with the answer.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Tools of the Translation Industry Trade | Tech Insight

There are an ever increasing array of sophisticated tools that online translation companies have at their disposal these days. Technology is now paired with human translation to provide more efficient processes, greater accuracy and consistency across projects.There is some confusion among the public about some of these tools and people are unsure about what the impact is on the end result for their translations. Today we are going to clear up the difference between machine translation and translation memory in an effort to shed more light on the translation technology used in the market.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fast Translation Services Are Expected and Not Asked For

Fast online translation services
The online translation services industry is constantly progressing. In the past, offering general translation and interpreting services was perfectly acceptable, but nowadays customers expect an expert service delivered at great speed. The latter has become an increasingly important factor for companies wanting to keep up with the competition and meet the demands of an increasingly globalized corporate customer base.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Become a Better Translator

Whether you are just starting your career as a translator or have 10 years of experience, it's important to continue to develop yourself professionally in order to progress in the industry. There are two ways of approaching this: you can develop your translation skills and/or you can refine your approach to work. Both are equally important, so let's take a look at each.