ZOYA KATSOEVA – RUSSIAN TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/06

NAME: Zoya Katsoeva
PROFESSION: Translator
WORK LANGUAGES: English, Russian
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Moscow, Russia

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I work as an independent translator focusing on audiovisual translation (I’ve already translated and edited hundreds of thousands of subtitles). I as well specialize at business and psychological translation and human resources. My clients are mostly translation agencies from around the globe: USA, UK, Spain, etc.
Zoya Katsoeva
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
I work from home, so my translating activity can vary from day to day. Sometimes I get lots of short-term jobs from different clients, sometimes I work on a huge continuous project. Typically a particular assignment defines my day: I can start early in the morning and keep working till late at night, but normally I would love to have mornings for my family and myself, to focus on my job after noon, when it’s quiet and nothing distracts me from what I do. While working I take pauses to think over difficult parts of my current translation, choosing the best ways to express the ideas. During these breaks I reply to my clients’ emails and plan new projects, or just walk my dog.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I love my profession; I love to be involved in this wonderful world of film translation. I really enjoy thinking that I help to deliver interesting and useful movies and texts to the Russian-speaking audience. The importance of this job is what inspires me to do my best to maintain the high quality of translations.
As a freelance translator I also do enjoy freedom: freedom to choose the clients and the projects to work with, freedom to plan my day and week.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Job of an independent contractor job doesn’t come with fixed wages and paid vacations, but this is the price of the freedom. At the end of the day the toughest thing that comes to mind about this job is choosing between the projects when all of them are so exciting!

How long have you been working as a translator?
I have worked as a translator from 2015. My first jobs were website articles, and then I moved to translating a psychological and philosophical book. Later on I received my first offer for subtitles translation, and it has become my main specialization.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Initially I received a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and I worked with children with special needs for several years. In the linguistic field I have worked since 2009 – as a copywriter, editor, and a linguistic reviewer. In 2015 I started studying to become a translator: I’ve successfully passed the CAE, and then completed two translation courses. After that I had tons of practice, and consider my experience to be my main teacher. I’m also planning to pass ATA certification exam one day.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I loved languages from my early days; I admire English as a language that unites the world. I’m learning a second foreign language now, it’s also my passion. Languages and translation were always my hobby, until one day I realized that I didn’t have any reasons not to make it my job. And I began studying, gaining experience and working as a translator.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
I work as a translator, editor, QCer and linguistic reviewer, but the whole set is about translations. And I hope to continue working in this field.

For more information, feel free to explore Zoya’s website, her LinkedIn profile or her Twitter account.

Alexandra
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

Publicités

MARIA ELENA BELLI – CONFERENCE INTERPRETER – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/05

NAME: Maria Elena Belli
PROFESSION: Conference interpreter
WORK LANGUAGES: Italian (mother tongue), English, French, German
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Luxembourg (residence). Work: Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg and Rome.

What kind of interpreting work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I provide different kinds of interpreting services: from simultaneous interpreting to consecutive, liaison and chuchotage.
Each interpreting technique is suitable for a certain kind of event and environment, therefore I provide simultaneous interpreting services mainly for the EU institutions and conferences organised by associations and private clients, consecutive for court cases and business meetings, liaison and chuchotage for all those circumstances where there isn’t any technical equipment available and the number of attendees requesting the interpreting service is very limited (usually one or two).Maria Elena Belli interpreter
I have a wide range of different clients and I can say that each one of them makes me experience a different aspect of my profession. Simultaneous interpreting can involve subjects of general interest that sometimes we can discover through the eyes of the experts (for example the Brexit issue, threats to democracy and the digital revolution) or very specific topics, almost unknown to us before the conference (such as in the medical field).
As far as consecutive and liaison interpreting is concerned, I usually use them during court cases and private meetings, where we as interpreters can create strong bonds with the people we get in touch with (for me this is particularly the case when I work at the court, when I get to know the details of a case or a story).
Also, as an Italian mother tongue interpreter, I sometimes work for religious congregations: very interesting and challenges experiences, due to the specificity of the language and the environment.

Can you provide a brief description of your typical work day?
It is very difficult to describe a typical work day for an interpreter, due to the heterogeneity of the assignments, locations and work environments.
Nevertheless, there are a few, important moments in each working day, such as:
– the arrival to the premises of the event: for me it’s very important to arrive in advance, to check the technical equipment and to have a briefing with the client. If possible, even a chat with the main speaker(s) might be useful, to get used to accents.
– meeting the colleague if it’s the first time we work together: having the time for a chat and a short briefing with the colleague is very important to create a good work environment and to organise the work.
– lunch/breaks: it’s an important moment for our networking;
– end of the day and going back home: I usually try to gather the new terminology (if any) I collected during the day.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I particularly enjoy the variety of topics and environments we are exposed to and I realize that this is both a positive aspect of our profession and a challenge. Nevertheless, challenges allow us to grow professionally and personally and to nurture the curiosity that is a precondition for our job.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
I don’t like the lack of knowledge surrounding our profession: sometimes clients don’t exactly understand our requests and we have to explain them which are the necessary conditions for us to provide a professional service.

How long have you been working as an interpreter?
I have been working as an interpreter for 10 years.

Did you in fact study to become an interpreter?
Yes, I attended an MA in conference interpreting.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as an interpreter?
I have mainly worked as an interpreter since I started. I have always been interested in foreign languages and the idea of helping people communicate with each other fascinated me since the very beginning of my studies.
Therefore, after my high school diploma in foreign languages, I continued with a Bachelor in foreign languages at the University « L’Orientale » in Naples.
After having obtained my bachelor, I decided that the time had come to fulfil my dream and I took the test to be admitted to the MA in conference interpreting at the UNINT in Rome.
I can say that the day I have got my result was, together with the day of the final exam, one of the happiest of my life. Day by day, spending hours in the booth, I was more and more convinced that this was my job and I can say that with interpreting, that’s the only way to understand it.

Is interpreting your sole professional occupation? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
I also translate, mainly legal documents: this gives me the opportunity to know more about the legal field and, often, to get new clients for my interpreting activity.

For more information, feel free to explore Maria Elena’s website.

Alexandra
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

MEGHAN MCCALLUM – FRENCH TO ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/04

Hello everybody,
We have the great fortune this month to read the 50th guest article on the blog!
Meghan McCallum, an ATA-certified French to English translator, answered our questions, for our greatest pleasure.

NAME: Meghan McCallum
PROFESSION: Freelance translator
WORK LANGUAGES: French to English
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?

My translation work is primarily in corporate communications, human resources, marketing and personal finance. For example, one day I might translate a company’s internal newsletter, and the next I could be working on an employment contract or a pamphlet about an employee savings plan. Another day I might translate an individual’s bank statements. I also enjoy translating marketing content, for example applications and websites for e-commerce and tourism. I recently translated a book about a video game, which was a lot of fun as well.
Meghan McCallum
My clients are primarily translation agencies, and I occasionally work with direct clients. These agencies usually have repeating projects from the same clients or the same groups of clients that need translations in my fields of expertise. I enjoy these repeat projects because it allows me to further my knowledge and experience in certain fields and brands.

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?

My first priority in the morning is to respond to client e-mails. Since I work from French to English, I may have messages from France that arrived during the night, so I aim to respond to those as soon as I can. Once time-sensitive e-mails are taken care of, I plan out my schedule for any new projects I have taken on. Then I spend the majority of my day translating! At the end of the day, or if I need a break from translating a larger project, I’ll respond to other e-mails that come through during the day or any other non-urgent messages.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?

I really enjoy the creativity, flexibility and variety in my work. I’m able to choose projects that interest me, and I can be somewhat flexible with my schedule as well. And of course no two projects are the same! Every day is an opportunity to work on something new, and also to learn. Above all, a professional translator is a professional writer. I’ve always loved writing, and I’m so happy to have made a career with it.

As a freelancer, I also have the opportunity to take on projects that I wouldn’t be able to in a more traditional corporate environment. For example, for the past two years I have led a two-day translation workshop for students in the Professional French Masters Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I also recently helped co-facilitate a four-day software training course for microfinance delegates in Senegal.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?

There’s really not much I don’t enjoy. There is a bit of uncertainty being a freelancer, in terms of what your next job is going to be, so that can be a challenge for someone who likes to plan everything in advance. But once you get used to giving up a bit of that control, it becomes less worrisome. I’ve learned to embrace the spontaneity inherent to freelancing.

How long have you been working as a translator?

I first started translating and working in language services in 2009, when I was a graduate student in translation at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. I then worked for a translation agency for a few years after graduation. Then I became a full-time freelance translator in January 2015.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?

I didn’t have a clear career path in mind until very late in my senior year as an undergraduate student. I was about to graduate with a double major in French and English, but wasn’t quite sure what to do next. After some research, I decided that translation might be a good fit for me since I could combine my love of writing with my French skills.

I very much enjoyed my graduate program, and ended up getting my master’s degree with a concentration in French to English translation. I felt that this program really helped prepare me for the next step, which was going out and starting a career in the field.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?

After completing my master’s degree, I worked for a translation agency for just under five years. I was a project manager for the first year, and then worked as a French quality manager. When I started at the agency, I had a plan to work there for several years to really learn the ropes of the business side of translation. During these years at the agency, I really learned a lot from all the different pieces of the business, from CAT tools to sales to desktop publishing to quality assurance. Once I put in this time, I felt I was ready to continue on to my next step: freelancing.

For more information, feel free to explore Meghan’s website, her Twitter account, or her LinkedIn profile.

Alexandra
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

CARLES SERRAT PÉREZ – SPANISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/03

NOMBRE: Carles Serrat Pérez
PROFESIÓN: Traductor
IDIOMAS DE TRABAJO : Inglés y francés al español y al catalán
LUGAR DE RESIDENCIA Y DE TRABAJO: Barcelona

¿Qué tipos de trabajos de traducción realizas y quiénes son tus clientes?

Trabajo principalmente con la traducción audiovisual y la traducción literaria, aunque la gran mayoría de los proyectos que recibo tienen que ver con lo audiovisual. Mis especializaciones dentro de este campo son la traducción para subtítulos (además del pautado o spotting, es decir, ajustar los tiempos de entrada y salida de los subtítulos para que vayan sincronizados con el audio), la subtitulación para sordos y con discapacidad auditiva o SPS, la traducción para doblaje y la audiodescripción.

Mis clientes básicamente se tratan de distribuidoras, estudios de doblaje o laboratorios audiovisuales y de posproducción que quieren localizar sus productos del inglés o del francés (mis idiomas de trabajos) al español o al catalán, ya sean series de televisión, películas, documentales o cortos y que se pueden proyectar tanto en filmotecas, en festivales de cine o de cortos, en la web, o en plataformas VOD.
Carles Serrat Pérez
¿Puedes hacer una breve descripción de una jornada laboral típica?

Lo primero que hago cuando me levanto, a las nueve de la mañana, es encender el ordenador y prepararme un buen café, ya que al igual que muchos autónomos, necesito mi dosis matutina de cafeína para ponerme a trabajar. A continuación, compruebo el correo para ver si me han enviado encargos nuevos y respondo a los mensajes, especialmente a aquellos que sean urgentes, entro en las redes sociales (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) y comparto las publicaciones, noticias o curiosidades que me parecen interesantes para mis compañeros traductores. Suelo trabajar hasta el mediodía y hago una pausa para ir al gimnasio.

He descubierto que cuando vuelvo del gimnasio, me siento renovado y lleno de energía, y además me ayuda a lidiar mejor con los dolores típicos de los traductores autónomos (especialmente si se tratan de las cervicales o de nudos en la espalda). Como suelo llegar a casa a la hora de comer, aprovecho para descansar un poco y retomo otra vez la traducción hasta las nueve de la noche. Antes de terminar la jornada laboral, vuelvo a comprobar el correo y respondo algunos mensajes más.

¿Qué te gusta en tu trabajo?

Lo que más me gusta de la traducción es que es variable, siempre te sorprende. En mi caso, un día puedo traducir un documental sobre un activista famoso, y al día siguiente traducir una película infantil de animación. Además, te permite estar informado de todo y conocer una gran multitud de temas distintos (los traductores somos unos buenos rivales del Trivial 😉).

Otro aspecto que me gusta de ser autónomo es que puedes organizarte el día y la semana según te convenga, dependiendo de la cantidad de trabajo que tengas. Eso te da una cierta flexibilidad para afrontar imprevistos o para dedicarle más horas a ese encargo que tienes que entregar mañana. Eso sí, a pesar de que puedas sentirte solo, gracias a las redes sociales sabes que muchos traductores te hacen compañía.

¿Qué es lo que no te gusta?

Las fechas de entrega y las tarifas o presupuestos destinados a la traducción, ya que muchas de ellas son inasumibles para un traductor que se considere profesional y, además, porque se trata de un trabajo poco valorado y reconocido. La contabilidad es otro aspecto de ser autónomo que no me gusta, y por eso suelo externalizar a un gestor todo lo que tenga que ver con la facturación y los impuestos (por suerte, es muy agradable y no se queja demasiado por las muchas preguntas que le hago a veces).

¿Cuándo empezaste a trabajar como traductor?
En enero de este año, hizo ya dos años.

¿Esta actividad profesional corresponde a tus estudios iniciales?
Sí. Me gradué en Traducción e Interpretación de inglés y francés por Universidad de Vic – Universidad Central de Cataluña (UVIC-UCC) y he hecho cursos relacionados con la traducción desde entonces, tanto presenciales como virtuales.

¿Cuál es tu recorrido profesional? ¿Por qué trabajas ahora como traductor?

Los idiomas siempre han sido mi fuerte, y desde que era un niño he estado rodeado de ellos, aunque al principio solo eran español y catalán y, más tarde, inglés y francés. Mi primera incursión en el mundo de las letras y la cultura fue cuando cursaba Bachillerato, ya que tuve la oportunidad de trabajar como auxiliar de bibliotecario en la biblioteca de mi ciudad natal durante un periodo de tres meses. Ahí, mientras ordenaba libros y me leía otros tantos, decidí que mi trabajo tendría que estar relacionado con ese mundillo.

Tuve claro que quería dedicarme a ser traductor, cuando hice unas prácticas universitarias en Londres con Curri Barceló de la agencia de traducción LocaliseMe, especializada en localización de videojuegos. Cuando terminé la carrera, empecé a trabajar como profesor de clases particulares de inglés y francés, aunque enviaba constantemente correos electrónicos y currículos a agencias y portales de traducción para conseguir trabajo de traductor, ya fuera en plantilla o como autónomo. Un par de meses después, empecé a trabajar como traductor autónomo hasta el día de hoy. Me apasiona mi trabajo: conseguir salvar las diferencias culturales para que el producto audiovisual produzca los mismos efectos en el público meta que en los espectadores de la versión original es lo que me motiva día a día.

Para más información, podéis consultar el perfil de Carles Serrat Pérez en LinkedIn, en Twitter, o en Facebook.

Alexandra
Traductora español – francés e inglés – francés / Intérprete español – francés
Profesora de francés para extranjeros / Profesora de español
(clases presenciales en Biarritz – Francia, y clases online por Skype)

Hispafra

MARIÁN AMIGUETI – GERMAN & ENGLISH INTO SPANISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/02

NAME: Marián Amigueti
PROFESSION: Translator, copyeditor
WORK LANGUAGES: German and English into Spanish
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Madrid

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?

I mostly translate web content on Engineering, Marketing, and Life Sciences. My speciality is Electromedicine with a touch of Marketing.

I also like translating web content, documentation and marketing materials on Tourism and Human Resources. I work with specialised central European translation companies and some selected direct clients.

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?

My work routine has changed a little over the last year. I have now two little girls (1 and 5-year old) and my husband and I have organized our work day to spend quality time with them.
Marián Amigueti
A typical working day for me starts at 7:00 am. I am mainly focused with ongoing projects at that time. For me it is wonderful to work with no interruptions. By 8:40 I check my emails and re-arrange later tasks if needed.

At 9:00 I stop to prepare my baby girl for nursery school while my husband takes our daughter to school. Then we have breakfast, and from 10 till 11 I go to Pilates class. At 11:30 I go back to work, check my emails, book tasks in my calendar and then continue with translation work until 2:30 pm.

Then I pick my baby from the nursery and have lunch with my husband. In days with high workload I keep on working until 4 or 5 pm and my husband takes care of the girls. We both work 2 more hours after the girls go to sleep.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?

I truly enjoy freedom and flexibility. I enjoy my tailored-made working day. I love to adjust the week to my convenience, by joining a face-to-face German conversation discussion group a Thursday morning in the centre of Madrid, for instance. I agree very reasonable deadlines with my clients and it is something I really appreciate.

Furthermore, I enjoy editing texts to be published. On the business side, I particularly find marketing and prospecting attractive.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?

I would say bureaucracy (therefore I have externalized the accountancy, 😉) and educating direct clients that do not see an effective international linguistic strategy as a very profitable investment for them.

How long have you been working as a translator?

I have been working as a translator for 15 years, though not always full-time.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?

Yes, and yes. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpretation at the University of Granada, I have lived in Ireland, and I have completed my education with a Master’s in Tradumática (Computer-assisted Translation) at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, a professional edition training course on Spanish, and an online copywriting course in Spanish.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?

My career path is quite versatile. I gained experience in an export department in Barcelona, and then as a Project Manager and technical translator in a German translation firm with office in Madrid.

From there, I freelanced as an independent language professional for several years, before returning in-house to work as a multilingual assistant in a prestigious Swiss attorneys-at-law firm.

I then went on to join a team of project managers in a well-established translation and language services firm. Here I became familiar with numerous tools, ISO quality, tight deadlines, platforms and procedures involved in translation management.

My decision to work as a translator started very early, as I was fascinated by languages, music, exploring the world and interacting with people from diverse cultures. Deciphering the lyrics and melodies of the music my father listened to at home also kept me captivated.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?

I am also a Spanish consultant. From time to time, I teach edition of Spanish texts and German-Spanish translation techniques to private students. I also help connect trusted translators and international clients.

For more information, feel free to explore Marián’s website, website 2, her Twitter’s account, or her Facebook page.

Alexandra
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

NICKY STEWART-SCHMIDT – FRENCH/ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2018/01

Dear readers,

We start the year with Nicky Stewart-Schmidt, who answered the guest article’s questions, for our great pleasure.

NAME: Nicky Stewart-Schmidt
PROFESSION: Translator, Writer
WORK LANGUAGES: English and French
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: France, in the countryside South of Paris

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?

I have quite varied topics, often related to companies I have worked for.
The most frequent topics, and probably my favourite would be on Theme parks, Tourism and Human Resources.
I try to nurture my network of ex-colleagues as I worked for many years at Disneyland Paris and for the Accor hotel group. Keeping the contacts not only helps me find translation contracts, but also often means I’m working on topics that I really know and understand.
I work 99% of the time with direct clients, in other words I’m not working through an agency. The advantages are that I choose my rates and don’t need to use CAT tools. The disadvantage is that I don’t have many regular jobs, I can’t really plan in advance.

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?

I’ll begin by saying that after many years of working from home, about 15 months ago I rented an office 5 minutes drive from my home. This was necessary for me at that time for a few reasons:
– I was finding it more and more difficult to be in “work” mode and wasn’t networking enough to keep a steady work flow
– I also run a sports club in my “free” time, and it was tempting to do all the fun sports tasks rather than working
– My husband is now freelancing from home and a house is only so big
Nicky Stewart Schmidt
I would have two sorts of work days.
When I’m in the middle of a translation job, I’d be at my desk from 9h until around 12h30, go home for lunch with my husband most days (we get to chat about things that we don’t manage at dinner with the children around) and then return to my office at 14h until between 17h and 19h depending on how much procrastinating I’ve been doing and how near the deadline is.

On other work days I may be doing accounts, sending invoices or building my professional network. This could involve attending seminars organised locally, working for a local business network I help to run, lunching, coffeeing, emailing etc. On these days I generally wouldn’t work very long hours. I’d probably manage a bit of shopping, a work-out…

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?

I love constantly learning new things. When I start a translation on a topic I’m not fully at ease with, the going is really slow, but as I get further into the subject I generally begin to enjoy it, and often feel a little sad when it’s over.
I also love being my own boss and working when and where I want to.
NO COMMUTING!!!

Which aspects do you least enjoy?

I don’t feel as though I suffer from solitude. But as a pretty sociable person who loves a laugh, when I recently did an in-house job for a few months, I did really enjoy the company. Meeting new people, being part of a team, etc. So I guess working alone all the time would be a negative point in a way. It’s not lonely, but it’s not much fun either.

How long have you been working as a translator?

I started in 2007, so 11 years now.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?

No and No.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?

I’m Irish, so French was a second language for me. I spent a year in Paris just after school and really wanted to live here. I trained as a Bilingual Executive Assistant to get myself back to Paris as quickly as possible and to start earning a decent salary.
I did various small contracts and then got into the opening team of Disneyland Paris (EuroDisney as it was then). I worked 5 glorious years there, starting as Executive Assistant and finishing up as Event Coordinator.
I then worked for 9 years in Internal Communications for the Accor Hotel Group.
All of my jobs involved some translation, but I didn’t really enjoy it because it tended to be people asking me for favours all the time on top of my own tasks. Translation had a negative element to it for me.
After my third child was born I found myself without a job and as I live 30 kms from Paris and was used to having interesting jobs with decent pay rates, it was really hard to find something suitable nearby, especially as I was looking for part time.
A Belgian translator friend/neighbour encouraged me to try translation. I can’t remember clearly, but I think that back then I had been contacted by some colleagues who needed translations, so I wasn’t really starting from nothing.
I sent a presentation email to the 100 people in my Field Hockey club, and it snowballed out of control and I was really busy in the first few years.
I’ve come to love.
Over the years I’ve sometimes looked into finding other work (during slow periods). But I’ve never found anything I’d prefer to do, or that would earn more money without working/commuting really, really long hours.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?

I’ve had a few in-house jobs over the years.
Interpreting for meetings.
Copywriting.
Teaching.
There’s always a language element involved.

For more information, feel free to explore Nicky’s website, or her LinkedIn’s profile.

Alexandra
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

KAROLIEN VAN ECK – PORTUGUESE/DUTCH – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/12

NAME: Karolien van Eck
PROFESSION: Translator & interpreter
WORK LANGUAGES: Portuguese and Dutch
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Portugal

What kind of translation / interpretation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
My work is mostly (90%) legal translation, in all its diversity: civil / commercial and criminal law. Since my language pair is quite special (2 minor languages, or at least in Europa that is), I don’t feel the need to specialize further, although I have preference for certain project over others, of course.
My clients are also divers; I do a lot of work for end clients (private persons and companies), some of them “one-timers” and others recurring, and I also have some agency clients. I work alone, but I have a small group of reliable colleagues that provide (almost) the same market as I do, so we exchange work, ask each other for revision of our projects and so on.

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
A typical work day is … spent mostly behind the PC. I’m online about 12 hours a day; I think it’s important to be contactable and accessible.
I normally start working at 8.30 am, because in the Netherlands it’s 1 hour later, so the first e-mails will have arrived by that time. The morning is for planning, proofreading yesterday’s translations, delivering, invoicing, social media, etcetera. And twice a week I go to the gym between 9.30 am and 11.00 am. karolien van eck
In the afternoon I take care of the bigger projects. Luckily, I have no problem limiting my attention to the most urgent messages or quickly interrupt what I’m doing and getting on later. Two or three times a week you can find me in the public notary office (for certification of my work under Portuguese law), and also the post office is my “second home”.
I’m married and our youngest son (17y) still lives with us. Normally we schedule our days and meals around the projects we have in hands. Both my husband and I are freelancers so normally there’s no tight schedule, other than our own agendas. Sometimes in the middle of the week we decide to spend an afternoon near the sea, and we go out for lunch or dinner quit often. Since we have family and friends in – ate least – two countries (my husband is Portuguese and I’m Dutch) we do a lot of travelling between Portugal and the Netherlands. And recently we fell in love with the Azores…

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
The diversity and the freedom of planning my own working days and weeks. I always find something I love in (almost) every project. A special (small) group of my clients are Dutch prisoners in Portuguese jails – after they’re sentenced, they can apply for transference to the Netherlands and at that point they need their process documents translated into Dutch; those jobs always give some good stories to tell at parties 😀
And I love to attend conferences and meetings with fellow translators. I find it very important to share experience and knowledge and to learn from and with each other, so I try to participate in at least one or two conferences or other forms of knowledge sharing a year.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
The loneliness and the long hours sitting behind my screen. I’m rather a control freak about my work and I find it hard to unwind when not all is done as I planned to. And of course there’s some typical jobs I would rather do without (like the translation of school diplomas, for instance)! Normally I’ll not accept them, but sometimes I know the client has not much alternatives, so I try to attend…

How long have you been working as a translator / interpreter?
About 25 years now… wow, that is a long time! I graduated in 1992 and soon after that I started translating, the first years in combination with a part time job and later full time, in combination with family & children.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Yes, completely, I graduated at Utrecht University (I hold a Master degree in Translation). And since I’m a very curious person, I love to get informed about the most various subject matters I translate.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator / interpreter?
It all came quite logically after my studies. I’m very happy working as a freelancer. Years ago, I had my own language school, providing translations in other language pairs as well, and language teaching. But I found it difficult to be responsible for other people’s work, so I sold it and went back to my home office, and I’m very happy since that!

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
I am a fulltime translator. I also accept some interpretation assignments, although I have no background or specialized studies. It’s just that in Portugal there are very few colleagues who accept interpretation jobs, and so, after several agencies insisted (a lot!), I started to take on jobs and have been doing well.

For more information, feel free to explore Karolien’s website, her Twitter account, or her Facebook page.

Alexandra
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

RUI SOUSA – PORTUGUESE TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/11

Dear readers,
This month for your reading pleasure, we have an interview with Rui Sousa, a Portuguese translator based in Porto.

NAME: Rui Sousa
PROFESSION: Professional Translator, Speaker and Trainer
WORK LANGUAGES: English, French, Spanish into European Portuguese
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Porto, Portugal

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
My areas of expertise in translation are IT, Consumer Electronics, Technology, Marketing, Digital Marketing/Social Media, Business, Tourism and Travel, and Sports. My types of clients are mainly translation agencies. I tend to pursue small/medium-sized translation agencies committed to quality and that take a personalized and friendly approach with their translators. I also work with some direct clients and individuals from different settings since I believe in the power of word of mouth in our industry.

Rui Sousa

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
My typical day usually starts at around 10am, after having my breakfast. I am not a morning person, so I don’t like to get up very early (except of course when I am working on tight deadlines!). During the morning I normally check all my emails, take care of quotes, check my social media and read online newspapers and translation blogs. Since I am much more productive in the afternoon, I dedicate this part of the day to more demanding tasks, like translating and proofreading. In the evening (until 7pm) I deal with some admin tasks and APTRAD duties. For those of you who don’t know it, APTRAD is the new Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters. It was founded in 2015 and I am proudly one of its founders and vice-president.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
They are so many! I really enjoy learning those kind of things I would probably never heard of if I wasn’t translating them. I also love to get in touch with people, particularly talking to clients and looking for new opportunities of collaboration (I really love when I get a new client in one of my areas of specialization). Of course, translation events are a big plus, catching up with fellow translators, meeting new ones and talking to potential customers, while simultaneously learning new ways to improve our business. What I really like the most, however, is having the opportunity to rule my own business and manage all aspects related to it. I created my brand, Mind Words, in partnership with my colleague Luísa Matos and we work together since 2013.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Clients that see translation as the less important part of their investment, unfriendly and unhelpful PMs, agencies that use the “Dear asset” or “Dear resource” approach, and unreasonable deadlines defined by people who simply don’t know our trade.

How long have you been working as a translator?
Since 2006, the year I graduated.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Yes, I did. I graduated in Translation Studies in 2006 and since then I already worked as an in-house translator, in-house PM and freelance translator.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I have always been into languages and cultures but I was never drawn into a teaching career or academic life. That’s why translation seemed a good choice at that time. Over 10 years later, I am sure that I’ve chosen the best profession in the world! Don’t you agree? 

Is translation your sole professional work?
Yes, I am a full-time translator. I also work to make our profession stronger in Portugal and abroad with APTRAD. Last year I have also embarked in an adventure as an author together with two colleagues. We wrote an eBook about project management for freelance translators and you can take a look here.
Summing up, different types of work but all of them translation related.

For more information, feel free to explore Mind Words website, Rui’s Twitter account, or his LinkedIn profile.

Alexandra
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

MARY THEODOSIADOU – GREEK TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/10

Dear readers,
We have the great fortune this month to meet Mary Theodosiadou, a Greek translator and reviser specializing in European Union affairs.

NAME: Mary Theodosiadou
PROFESSION: Translator/Reviser
WORK LANGUAGES: Greek – English – French
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Athens, Greece

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I specialize in the translation and revision of European Union documents (European Commission, European Parliament, EUROPA, EURES, EU-OSHA, CEDEFOP etc.). I did my traineeship at the Press Office of the Permanent Representation of Greece to the Council of Europe and since 2003 I have undertaken translation work for both individuals and translation agencies in Greece and abroad. My other areas of expertise and subject fields include Law, Economics, Business, Commerce, Advertising, Tourism and Travel, Sports and Information Technology.
For the past 8 years, I have been working in-house as a translator/reviser for a Greek translation agency.
Mary Theodosiadou
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?

I don’t actually have to get up until 8am, but my cat, Zizou, makes sure that I’m awake at 7am at the latest -there’s no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast 😉
I really enjoy my morning time to myself. I read the news, I check my messages and go through my social media feeds, while listening to my favourite music. My typical work day at the office starts at 10am and finishes at around 6pm. My work there consists mostly of reviewing translated documents. I do most of my other translation work at home during weekends.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
Research. It allows me to expand my knowledge in so many areas, in both my source and target languages. Creativity. Translation is without a doubt a creative act. Diversity. It increases my understanding of other cultures, my understanding of the world.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
The deadlines. I often have to work extended hours, evenings, weekends and holidays.

How long have you been working as a translator?
I have been working as a translator for 14 years.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Yes, and yes. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in French Language and Literature (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). I completed the fourth year of my Bachelor’s Degree as an Erasmus student in Paris (Université Paris 5 René Descartes), where I studied Applied Linguistics. I have a University Diploma in Translation (DU Traducteur – University of Strasbourg, France) and a Master’s Degree in Professional Translation (DESS Traduction Professionnelle – University of Strasbourg, France).

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I had a great professor who encouraged me to go to France and study translation after finishing my undergraduate studies. She would always push me to do things that were out of my comfort zone. Both my parents were very supportive in whatever I wanted to do, so I decided to go for it. After 14 years of hard work and determination, I am working in my field of study and on the career path I’ve always wanted. The translation market is huge but it is also a highly competitive place. I consider myself lucky I got involved in the translation of EU documents because it opened a whole new world for me. Being specialised in this highly demanding sector and being recognised by my employers, my colleagues and others in the industry makes me feel appreciated as a professional and as a person.

For more information, feel free to explore Mary’s website, her Twitter account, her Facebook page, or her LinkedIn profile.

Alexandra
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra

LOTTIE VALKS – ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/09

NAME: Lottie Valks
PROFESSION: Translator
WORK LANGUAGES: French, Spanish and Russian into English
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Nottingham, UK

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I specialise in marketing, travel/tourism, arts/theatre and environment translations. I’m still quite a newbie so I’m working on honing my skills across a range of topics within my capabilities and plan to specialise further once I have built up my client base. I mainly work with agency clients.

Lottie Valks
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
My office hours are 9am to 5pm UK time and I either work from home or at a co-working space. I still live in my university town and am very lucky as the University of Nottingham has a business hub for current students and alumni who are entrepreneurs. This means I have access to a desk and their facilities on a beautiful campus for free! I also find I’m more productive when I leave the house to work but it’s nice to have the option to stay indoors when it’s cold and rainy outside (typical British weather!). I usually start the day by checking my emails and dealing with any small admin tasks on my to-do list, followed by half an hour to an hour on marketing and social media. Then I get down to the translation projects I have booked in or any other larger tasks I have set myself for the day, such as watching CPD webinars, researching networking events or updating my accounts.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I love learning new things so translating seems to be the perfect profession for me! I’m always learning whether I’m researching a topic for a translation project, taking a CPD course or working out other aspects of my business. This first year has been full of challenges I have been able to learn from; although I have a degree in translation and years of experience working within the industry, I had never run a business before October last year, so I’ve had to learn lots about the other aspects of freelancing, such as marketing and accounting. The fact that I can build my career using the languages that I love and learning something new every day is very exciting!

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
The thing I find most difficult about working as a translator is how little the general public understand our profession. When people ask me what I do, I get all sorts of frustrating responses, ranging from “Oh, so you translate for people in court?” to “Great, I speak Greek, can you give me work?” to “You’re so lucky you can work from home, that must be really easy!”. However, I see this as just another challenge that is part of our work and try to give people a better understanding of what translators (and interpreters!) do and why it is so important to employ professional translators. I can see why people find it confusing, particularly in the UK where there isn’t much of a focus on foreign languages in general, so I usually try to explain the importance of professional translation in a way they’ll remember, such as funny translation mishaps I’ve read about or shocking translation-related news stories.

How long have you been working as a translator?
I’ve been working full-time as a translator for almost 1 year. Before that, I worked in-house at a large UK language service provider as a translation administrative coordinator.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Yes, I studied for a BA in Modern Language Studies between 2009 and 2013 and then completed an MA in Translation Studies, graduating in 2014.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I had always been interested in working as a translator but, following my MA degree, there did not seem to be many in-house positions in the UK and I did not feel ready to start freelancing right away, so I started to apply for project management positions. I don’t regret taking on a more administrative role for the first couple of years of my career, as I learnt so much about the industry, CAT tools and how LSPs work, plus it gave me time to accrue some savings. However, after a while, I started to miss using my language skills and I didn’t feel fulfilled by the role. This drove me to set up my freelance business and I started translating full-time in October 2016.

For more information, feel free to explore Lottie’s website, her Twitter account, her Facebook page, or her LinkedIn profile.

Alexandra
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)

Hispafra