BEN KARL – FRENCH & CHINESE TO ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/08

Dear readers,
This month, Ben Karl answered the guest article’s questions, for our greater pleasure.

NAME: Ben Karl
PROFESSION: Translator
WORKING LANGUAGES: French > English , Chinese > English
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Reno, Nevada, USA

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
My fields of expertise are financial, marketing, and corporate communications. I recently completed my Master of Business Administration, which has really helped me perfect my translation abilities in these fields and added a nice credential to my resumé. I work with a mix of direct and agency clients around the world and my goal for the next 12 months is to start shifting my focus more to direct clients now that I am no longer working full time and going to school part time.

Ben Karl Photo
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?

I am located nine hours behind many of the agencies and clients I collaborate with that are located in Europe. So, the first thing I do around 6:30 in the morning is fire up my computer to check whether any of my clients have a project they need urgent feedback on or a quote they would like before their end of day, usually with a cup of black tea. After that, I check and read Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles and check the news headlines before I get to work. I like to keep active, so in the late morning after a few hours of work, I take a break to go to the gym and run any necessary errands, like going to the post office or the bank. When I get back home, I continue working until around 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I love learning something new every single day. I love challenging my brain to work through a complex linguistic problem and arriving at a solution. I have an immense feeling of satisfaction when I reread my work and am proud of what I’ve written. I also really enjoy the community of language professionals, both real and virtual. It’s a great community to be a part of and I value the interactions I get to have with its members every day.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Translators don’t typically set out on their own because they want to run a business; they do it for the love of the profession and the love of translation. So, like most freelance business owners, I tend not to enjoy invoicing or chasing after late payments, and I really need to set aside more time for marketing and prospecting, which is a big goal for the next 12 months now that I have my degree in hand (I finished my coursework in July).

How long have you been working as a translator?
I started working as a project manager at a large translation firm in 2011 and transitioned to freelance translation in 2013, so I have been working in the industry for six years and working as a freelancer for four.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
I actually did study to be a translator, which is not that common in the United States. I have a Bachelor’s degree in French translation (Lettres et traduction françaises) and East Asian Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and an advanced Chinese certificate from Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing, China. As I mentioned, I also just finished my MBA, which has been a fulfilling journey. I would say that what I do now is an excellent fit for my academic background.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
Even when I was quite young, I dreamt about being a translator and an interpreter. I gravitated towards languages very early. My first grade teacher taught us some American Sign Language, my second grade teacher taught us some Spanish, and in fourth grade I started learning French. Needless to say, I was hooked. I was a Rotary Youth Exchange student to France while I was in high school and decided to pursue my undergraduate studies in a francophone environment in Canada to perfect my French language skills. I am doing exactly what I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am very privileged to be doing it.

Is translation your sole professional work?
Translation and other writing-related services are currently the only work that I do. I may have the opportunity to do some part-time lecturing in translation in the future and I’m eager to explore the potential of other professional opportunities. The most successful language pros that I know are ones who wear many hats and someday I’d like to have a nice hat collection myself.

For more information, feel free to explore Ben’s website, his blog, his LinkedIn profile, or his Twitter account.

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

Hispafra

GARY SMITH – SPANISH & CATALAN TO ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/07

NAME: Gary Smith
PROFESSION: Translator
WORK LANGUAGES: Spanish and Catalan to English
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Valencia

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I work a lot with universities, so a lot of academic and research papers, but I also have a lot of experience with business law and contracts, as well as a couple of other very specific specialisations.
Gary Smith
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
I’ll usually go for a jog by the beach where I live when I get up. Then after a shower and breakfast I check my mail and my ‘To do’ list, then I start work. I try to keep up a British timetable as I find I work better that way, but it’s not always possible since my clients are often Spanish (lunch at 3 o’clock, very late dinner etc.)

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I have always loved languages, reading and constantly learning, so translation is obviously something I enjoy. The international community of translators is also impressive, with our mixture of cultures, local climates and timetables. I’ve just had a Skype call with a colleague who has flu at the start of winter, while I’m sweating in the summer’s heat. Such contact always helps remind us that our colleagues and clients may be facing very different situations.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
The bureaucracy of being self-employed, perhaps. But now I have a great, trustworthy accountant it doesn’t bother me much. There are also a few clients who can be a pain, but they’re a minority and I take it with humour, realising that our monolingual, monocultural clients simply need to learn what translation involves. You just have to be patient and explain things to them. And in the small minority of cases where a client may be intransigent and rude, another great thing about being a translator is that we can “fire” our clients. (They are not our bosses.)

How long have you been working as a translator / interpreter?
For decades, though not always full-time in the beginning. I only interpret rarely when I know what a specific client needs (e.g. company lawyers discussing contracts I’ve been translating).

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
No; I was originally an engineer, though I hardly worked in that. In fact, my first and only engineering job in a research centre largely involved translating texts into English! All translators need specialisations, whether they’ve studied them officially or through work experience, so my degree came in handy, although over the years I’ve been doing less and less translation related to engineering topics.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I intend to continue as I’ve been doing until now, since I seem to be quite successful at it, or at least my clients are generally happy, which is what matters. In fact, I took the decision to be a full-time translator precisely because I had so much work from satisfied customers!

Is translation your sole professional work?
Yes, but I think it’s important for translators to be constantly aware of the latest developments in their specialist fields. I’ve given a lot of talks at translation congresses, but nearly always because I’ve been asked to do so. I don’t see myself as a trainer at all, though I’ve put all of my advice into a book to help newbie translators and those who wish to advance to a better client base, which is doing quite well.

For more information, feel free to explore Gary’s website, his Twitter profile, or his Facebook page.
And if you are interested by his book (also available on Amazon and Kindle version).

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

traduction espagnol

RUTH BARTLETT – FRENCH TO ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/06

Dear readers,
Our translator this month is Ruth Bartlett, a French to English translator with a very interesting profile!

NAME: RUTH BARTLETT
PROFESSION: TRANSLATOR & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKER
WORK LANGUAGES: FRENCH AND ENGLISH
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: SALTAIRE (UK)

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
The bulk of my work involves translating reports and other documents for government departments, think tanks and non-governmental organisations.

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?Ruth Bartlett
I get up early, at about 6-7 am (because I live in the UK I am an hour behind most of my clients and like to be at my desk and settled before them). I feed the cats and make a (very strong!) coffee. I answer any urgent emails then get straight down to work on my translations, pushing my cat Jake off my computer at regular intervals. I have lunch at around 1pm and then have quite a long break. My brain tends to go to sleep in the afternoon so I prefer to go for a walk rather than work. I like to take advantage of the beautiful spot I live in, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. I start work again at about 4pm and usually work through until about 8pm.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I find translation to be quite a ‘mindful’ activity and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment upon delivering a translation. I also enjoy keeping in touch with my ‘French’ side now that I’m settled back in the UK.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Sometimes it can be hard juggling all of the different aspects of running a business. IT in particular can be tricky when you don’t have an IT department to support you!

I get a little frustrated when French clients correct my English!

How long have you been working as a translator?
I started working as a translator in 2008.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
My degree is in History and French. There was a small translation component of my degree but I have no formal training as a translator. This is one of the reasons I decided to sit the exam to become a qualified member of the ITI.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
Upon leaving university I moved straight to Paris where I worked as a programme coordinator for the intercultural organisation, AFS Vivre Sans Frontière (www.afs.fr). I then spent a year working as an assistant at the European Commission to the OECD and UNESCO before becoming a researcher in the Labour and Social Affairs team at the British Embassy in Paris. It was a once-in-a-lifetime role that involved everything from organising ministerial and state visits to negotiating the Anglo-French Memorandum of Understanding on education. A key part of my work involved researching and writing diplomatic dispatches and briefing for ministers, speeches, web articles, newsletters, reports and much more. As you can imagine, the bar was set very high and the research and writing skills I perfected at the Embassy have proved invaluable in my work as a translator.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
I recently took on some paid community development work for the Multi-Story Water project which celebrates the waterways of my local area. This evolved quite organically from the volunteer work I had been doing in my local community. The project is very wide-ranging and difficult to describe in a nutshell but you can find out more here: http://multi-story-shipley.co.uk. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to do something completely different and meet three-dimensional people!

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

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

Hispafra

RICHARD LACKEY – LEGAL TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/05

Dear readers,

We have the great fortune this month to meet Richard Lackey, a London-born translator, specialised in legal translations from French and Spanish to English.

NAME: Richard Lackey
PROFESSION: Translator
WORK LANGUAGES: Spanish and French to English
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Granada, Spain / London, UK

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
Legal translation is my main area, in particular all types of commercial law and contract translation. I’ll take a contract any day over anything else! It might seem strange to many but when you’ve been working in one area for a while and have taken time to research your terminology, it’s almost second nature. My clients include agency clients, work for fellow translators and direct clients.
Richard Lackey

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
In the run up to the ITI Conference this month, it doesn’t feel like I have many typical work days! But let’s try. Usually, I wake up around 8am, have breakfast and walk over to my co-working office. Three years ago I decided that I needed to separate my home and work life so I started hiring a desk in a local co-working office. I haven’t looked back! Since then, my personal life has taken me to various major European cities and each time I arrived in a new place I sought out a co-working space. I’ve worked from Liverpool, Granada, Grenoble, London and Berlin.

Usually I will answer a few emails before starting the day. After that, I tend to concentrate quite hard on what I’m doing. Using Pomodoro technique, I work in 30 minute bursts with 5-10 minute breaks in between. I have lunch at around 1.30pm and then do an afternoon session until around 5pm.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
The independence, trust and responsibility. I love the feeling that comes with receiving an important file to translate and then delivering my best work. There’s a sense of achievement that is hard to beat!

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Tight deadlines, but it comes with the territory and I have streamlined my workflow in preparation. For instance, my glossary is rapidly growing and now includes around 7,000 common legal terms from contracts and other legal documents. I also try to use technology as much as possible such as SDL Trados Studio 2017, voice recognition software (Dragon NaturallySpeaking), and automated editing checks (PerfectIt). Staying up to date with these programs is just as important and I regularly attend the SDL Roadshows in London or Madrid.

How long have you been working as a translator?
July will mark six years as a freelance translator.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Translation was never on my radar as a student, although even at a young age I always had a keen interest in languages. Looking back, French was my favourite subject in high school. I went on exchanges to northern France, we read the war-time novel Un sac de billes by Joseph Joffo, and we even had heated debates in French about politics, drugs and economics! I suppose I was inspired by my mother who had lived and worked in France and Spain aged 17-20 and then went on to work at the foreign language bookshop Grant & Cutler in London. My grandfather spoke French too and was an interpreter in WWII for the Free French Airforce, helping to train pilots who had escaped France and, later, coordinating raids over Europe.

I went on to study my second-best subject, psychology, at the University of Liverpool although I took all the classes for first-year French too. Ultimately, I feel I have benefited from my psychology degree by gaining strong writing and analytical skills. And, as it turned out, I managed to develop my language skills by living abroad in France, Spain and Colombia for around five years after my degree.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
Having lived abroad and developed my language skills, I decided I wanted to put them to good use. Based in Bogotá in 2011, I was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of Colombia’s booming economy. Oil prices were high, investment was pouring in and there were very few native English speakers to handle the high demand for Spanish to English translations. Working together with a translator friend initially, I then went on to work closely with local agencies and started to build contacts. Within six months, I was making a decent living from translation.

After moving to Spain in 2013 when my partner started her geology PhD, I started to work more with clients in Europe. I also became aware of the huge offering of translation conferences, courses and networking opportunities. I joined the ITI in 2015, took a one-year preparation course for the DPSI (Law) exams in Liverpool in 2015-16, and attended my first-ever translation conference at the Mediterranean Editors & Translators Meeting 2016. Earlier this year, I gave a talk to translation students at the University of Granada Translation Faculty about my experience in legal translation. This week I’m attending the ITI Conference and giving a talk on co-working. The more opportunities I see for collaboration, the more excited I get about this profession. My talk will highlight co-working as a means to encourage networking and peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge. Join me in Cardiff at my talk Co-working our way to a stronger future.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
My work includes translation, reviewing translations, and editing non-native English. I also do some other work which could broadly be defined as ‘summary translations’ – essentially pointing out the key information in documents so that English speakers can find what they need. I am also training in interpreting and hope to build a mix of translation and interpreting into my schedule in the near future.

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

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

French translator

NÚRIA DE ANDRÉS – SPANISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/04

Dear readers,
This month, we have a new guest article, in Spanish! Núria de Andrés answered the guest article’s questions, for our great pleasure. She’s a Spanish translator based in Barcelona.

NOMBRE: Núria de Andrés Garriga
PROFESIÓN: Traductora
IDIOMAS DE TRABAJO: Inglés, español
LUGAR DE RESIDENCIA Y DE TRABAJO: Barcelona

¿Qué tipos de trabajos de traducción realizas y quiénes son tus clientes?
Me dedico a traducir, revisar y posteditar traducciones de patentes del ámbito de las telecomunicaciones principalmente. Trabajo para un agente de propiedad industrial de mi ciudad y también para agencias especializadas en traducción de patentes y otras.
SAMSUNG

¿Puedes hacer una breve descripción de una jornada laboral típica?
Trabajar como autónoma en mi domicilio supone muchas veces hacer filigranas para encajar las actividades laborales con las obligaciones caseras, familiares, de ocio… En fin, lo que hacemos todos. Pero como además debo compaginar las tareas de traducción con otras actividades laborales (soy tutora de dos cursos de formación para traductores), la jornada puede acabar siendo muy larga y agotadora.
Podríamos decir que mi día empieza en el gimnasio; eso me obliga a levantarme pronto y me mantiene alejada de los analgésicos y antiinflamatorios como método para aliviar el dolor causado por las típicas contracturas del traductor.
Una vez ya en casa, empiezo a traducir hasta que me noto cansada y, en los momentos de descanso, aprovecho para buscar y compartir, a través de Twitter, enlaces que me parecen interesantes para mis colegas de profesión. Cuando me siento más fresca vuelvo al trabajo con renovada energía y me pongo a traducir las páginas que me he marcado para ese día.
Si estoy dando un curso, otra de mis tareas es estar pendiente de las preguntas que puedan formular los alumnos y responderlas, y además corregir las prácticas que les propongo. Los grupos numerosos son estimulantes y extenuantes en igual medida, pero el contacto directo con los alumnos me sirve para compensar la soledad asociada a la traducción, pues de las dos fieles compañías de las que suelen disfrutar los traductores, el gato y la tetera, yo solo cuento con esta última.

¿Qué te gusta en tu trabajo?
De mi trabajo me encanta que se ocupa de las palabras y… ¡ hay tantas, y en tantas combinaciones! Eso es lo que más me gusta, sin duda alguna. Ni te aburres ni dejas nunca de aprender.

¿Qué es lo que no te gusta?
También hay peros, claro. Básicamente considero que se derivan de ser autónomo en España (cuotas altas, tarifas bajas por indicar solo dos).
Podría añadir que es un trabajo poco valorado y sería absolutamente cierto, pero esto no es ni mucho menos patrimonio exclusivo de los traductores, desgraciadamente. En nuestro país, si no eres político, constructor o famosillo de la tele vas arreglado.

¿Cuándo empezaste a trabajar como traductora?
Creo que fue alrededor de 1990, hace ya bastante tiempo.

¿Esta actividad profesional corresponde a tus estudios iniciales?
No. Soy licenciada en Biología por la Universidad de Barcelona. Posteriormente cursé dos años de Filología anglogermánica en la UAB, pero tuve que abandonar los estudios por incompatibilidad con el trabajo.
Obtuve una beca para estudiar inglés a tiempo completo en Stratford-upon-Avon y una plaza de asistente de Lengua española en una escuela pública de Londres. Dediqué bastantes años al estudio de inglés como lengua extranjera en facultades inglesas y en el Instituto Británico de Barcelona y superé el certificado Proficiency de traducción inglés-español y viceversa.

¿Cuál es tu recorrido profesional? ¿Por qué trabajas ahora como traductora?
Realmente mi recorrido profesional está marcado por el idioma inglés. Empecé dando clases extraescolares a niños; luego di clases para alumnos de ESO y bachillerato. Más adelante fui intérprete de ferias y congresos y trabajé en oficinas de información turística, hasta que decidí dedicarme con mucho gusto a la traducción.
Mi entrada en este mundo, aunque deseada, fue inesperada. Desde siempre me ha fascinado todo lo extranjero y ello incluye los idiomas: francés, inglés, ruso y alemán. Pues bien, un día uno de mis profesores se lamentó, en alemán, de no tener tiempo para realizar unas traducciones. Me lancé a la piscina sin pensármelo dos veces y me ofrecí a ayudarle. Aquí empezó todo.
Mis primeras traducciones estuvieron relacionadas con los sistemas de alarmas. Obtuve un puesto de traductora en una empresa contratada por IBM para traducir la documentación y los manuales corporativos. Esa fue mi auténtica palanca para introducirme de lleno en la traducción técnica.
A partir de ahí, contacté con otra empresa que necesitaba un experto en traducción de documentos IBM y en el manejo de la primera herramienta de traducción asistida del mercado: el famoso Translator Manager, ¡famoso por lo difícil que era que no se colgara!
Esa misma empresa, que posteriormente me contrató, estaba especializada en la traducción de patentes y propició la incorporación de este género a mi esfera de actividad. Sucedía a mediados de los 90, y lo primero que constaté es que eso de inventar se hace poco a poco, no de golpe, y que se necesita la colaboración de muchas personas para que los grandes avances tengan lugar. Todavía hoy en día, las patentes siguen siendo para mí una fuente inacabable de sorpresas.

Para más información, podéis consultar la cuenta Twitter de Núria, que llegó en posición 8 en la competición Top 10 Language Twitter Accounts 2016.
Top 25 Language Twitterers 2016

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

TANJA RADMILO – CROATIAN TRANSLATOR & INTERPRETER – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/03

NAME: Tanja Radmilo
PROFESSION: Translator and interpreter, self-employed in Language Kitchen
WORK LANGUAGES: English/Russian/Croatian
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Split, Croatia

What kind of translation / interpretation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
Croatia is a small country so we do not have translators/interpreters that are specialized in certain narrow fields of work. So, basically it can be anything, let me give you an overview of the last month’s activities and clients: lots of legal agreements, one exhumation request (yes, really), a couple of gun export licenses, certificates, certificates, certificates, simultaneous interpreting on Gender Training organized by the Government of Croatia within Twinning Project (simultaneous is always a favourite), large investment projects (road building, development of resorts, wind power plants, etc.), dispute over 1 m2 of land plot (extremely popular sport in Croatia), school certificates and diplomas (many Croats are leaving the country, but also many people decide to live in Croatia and they need to have their qualifications translated), court matters (I am a Court Appointed Interpreter), web pages, brochures, menus, and other texts related to tourism (The Summer is coming!), subtitling for Netflix, I am translating Russian Booker winner into Croatian…

Tanja Radmilo

Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
I really like to get up pretty early, sometimes before 06:00 a.m. and it is the best time of day, no phones, no e-mails or any distractions. I like to prepare for a hectic day by reading and Turkish coffee-sipping. And then at about 07:30 a.m., here we go; I translate and interpret practically all day round. I work from home which is good, because very often you make money in your pyjamas, but sometimes it can be difficult to concentrate with children, dogs and partner coming in and out of your office/bedroom at all times. I like to have yoga, hiking or swimming break, if possible.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I enjoy freedom and I must confess that I love the unpredictability moment, like when you get up and you do not have any idea what you are going to work on that day. I like meeting people from all walks of life; I like the process of translation, when you have that mass of words, and slowly, meticulously you turn it into something else, yet the same. I like to play with words.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
I feel that translators/interpreters are not appreciated enough; sometimes it seems to me that the general perception is that anybody can do translation which is a thing that never happens with other professions. I do not accept translations, such as: “Hey, my daughter/cousin/niece speaks excellent English and he/she translated my web page (meaning Google translated it). Could you take a look and do the proofreading?” Am so NOT doing it. Also, I am not on very good terms with price dumping that happens very much in the industry.

How long have you been working as a translator and interpreter?
I have always been translating, but as of 2007, the translation/interpreting is my core business.

Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator and interpreter?
I studied and graduated English and Russian languages with English and Russian literature. At that time, there was no separate study program for translators, but I would say that what I do for a living fits with my initial studies.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator and interpreter?
I was working as English teacher in Secondary School, and was not very happy with it, so little by little, as I developed translation services, I decided to quit my job and go solo. And I never regretted it.

Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
Now yes, until recently I was active in NGO sector, I still am, but not on a professional basis. I also write: texts for portals, poetry and fiction (not as much as I would like though, because there are always pages to translate).

For more information, feel free to explore Tanja’s Facebook profile, her Facebook page Language Kitchen, or her Twitter account.

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

Hispafra

ANTHONY TEIXEIRA – ENGLISH & JAPANESE TO FRENCH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/02

Dear readers,
This month, I invite you to get to know Anthony Teixeira, a French translator based in Japan.

NAME: Anthony Teixeira
PROFESSION: Freelance English and Japanese to French Translator
WORK LANGUAGES: French, English, Japanese
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Yoshino, Japan

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
Most of the work I do is related to IT/Software (my university major) and video games (a long-time interest). It goes from the very technical (documentation for developers) to the very casual (marketing collaterals for games). I work with both agencies and end clients, most of whom are software developers or device manufacturers.

Can you provide a brief description of your typical work day?anthony-teixeira
My day is split between work and family time. I’ll generally have four shifts of 1 to 2 hours each:
1. Early morning (7-8 am) : I check/reply e-mails, check social networks/industry news and prepare projects for the rest of the day
2. & 3. Morning/Early afternoon (9:30-11:30 am, 2-4 pm) is when I feel the most productive/inspired and do the bulk of the translation work
After that I’ll have a rather long break to spend time with my kids, have dinner, shower, etc.
4. Evening (8-10 pm): Depending on the day/degree of business, I may communicate with clients based on a different timezone, work on admin/marketing tasks or just keep translating

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
Freedom! As a freelance translator, I am in control of my schedule. I can take a day off or holidays whenever I want/need. Abusive clients? I can drop them anytime. Boring projects? I don’t have to accept them. It’s sunny and warm outside? I’m ready to go!
It’s not that simple when you’re starting out, but as you get more established you can start being picky, and it makes a huge difference in terms of job satisfaction. I now mostly work on projects I find interesting with clients I appreciate.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
As a freelancer, you must wear many hats. You’re a translator, a business owner, a marketer, and so on. I like some aspects of those side tasks, some less. I outsource most of my accounting, but admin tasks (invoicing, sending reminders, etc.) are still pretty boring.
Otherwise, there’s always the odd client that will annoy you with unreasonable requests, late payments, ridiculous amounts of paperwork… but it’s the kind of things people have do deal with in most industries, and all in all, these are really minor inconveniences.

How long have you been working as a translator?
8 years, 2 part-time as a side thing, and 6 as a full-time freelancer.

Did you in fact study to become a translator? If not, what did you study originally?
I’ve always had an interest in languages, but I am orginally an IT guy. I knew the languages and my specializations, but I learned what it takes to be a translator on the field.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I moved to Japan right after graduating from university with a degree in IT/computer science. There, I started working as a web developer for a game localization agency. Regularly, when they had more translation jobs than they could handle, they would send me texts to translate into French. That’s how I learned the ropes and realized that I liked that side job more than the one I was hired for.
I left after about 2 years and half and started working as a freelance translator from there. I experimented around a bit for a year or so, and then things really took off when I started focusing on my current specializations, IT/software and video games. Things have been pretty stable for the past 5 years, my business gradually growing on the way.

For more information, feel free to explore Anthony’s website, or his Twitter account.

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

ROBIN JOENSUU – SWEDISH TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2017/01

Dear readers,

We have the great fortune to start the year with Robin Joensuu, who answered the guest article’s questions.

NAME: Robin Joensuu
PROFESSION: Independent translator
WORK LANGUAGES: English>Swedish
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Berlin, Germany

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
My main areas are IT, marketing, and engineering with an increasing part in marketing. Sometimes I work mostly with direct clients, sometimes mostly with agencies. The largest projects during 2016 were a continuous travel marketing project (10-20 hours per week throughout the year) and a job where I localized the computer system for a metro signalling system with accompanying user manuals and educational material for the operators.

Can you provide a brief description of your typical work day?
robin-joensuu
I start my computer at around 9 and spend some time browsing Spotify for music that works with my mood for the day (today it is PJ Harvey) and then I teeth into my email inbox. What I do after that depends on the day, but I mostly translate/revise until around noon, walk my dog, eat some lunch, and then work for a couple of more hours until I am done for the day. Since I work a lot for American clients and agencies at the moment, I often reply to emails in the evenings and I guess that would apply as a part of my work day as well.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
The creative part, without doubt. I have written for as long as I have known how to and I love moving words around, reading them out loud, rephrasing, moving a few more words… It doesn’t matter what the text is about as long as I am allowed to be creative. The second most favourite aspect is probably the ‘free’ part of the freelance life. I have tried working in-house but I am terrible at all of those hierarchies and behavioural norms. What is the purpose of fixed working hours in a modern office anyway?

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
That it is sometimes hard to keep a sound and healthy work-life balance.

How long have you been working as a translator?
6 years in June.

Did you in fact study to become a translator? If not, what did you study originally?
Yes and no. I have no formal education in translation but I have a master’s degree in Literature, culture, and media and I have studied numerous other things, ranging from languages and teaching Swedish to foreigners to journalism and creative writing. I say yes because I think that what is required for us to become really good at your jobs, apart from the obvious, i.e. knowing two languages very well, is that we know our native language like the inside of our own pocket and that we are very good writers.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I thought about translation a few times but I ended up studying something else and did not think that it was within reach. When I eventually graduated I had recently left Sweden for Berlin to be with my girlfriend who I had just met on a holiday there. I had no idea what to do since a degree with a strong focus on Scandinavian literature hardly is a sought-after qualification on the German labour market. I was just about to start cleaning hostels, like my girlfriend did at the time, or look for bar jobs, when a friend of mine told me that he saw an ad from an agency that was looking for English>Swedish translators. I applied and got accepted. I practiced, I read, did the old fashioned trial-and-error, and worked my ass off and eventually realized that I was becoming pretty good at it. A few years later, I am still around.

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

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

Hispafra

TERESA PONS – TRADUCTORA MÉDICA – 12/2016

Dear readers,
This month, we have a very interesting article in Spanish! Teresa Pons answered the guest article’s questions, for our great pleasure. She’s a Spanish translator specialised in the medical field.

NOMBRE: Teresa Pons Ferrer.
PROFESIÓN: Traductora médica.
IDIOMAS DE TRABAJO: Inglés, portugués, castellano y catalán.
LUGAR DE RESIDENCIA Y DE TRABAJO: Barcelona, España.

¿Qué tipos de trabajos de traducción realizas y quiénes son tus clientes?
Mi labor de traducción se centra en el campo de la medicina. Trabajo como traductora autónoma especializada en medicina y farmacia y mis proyectos se centran principalmente en traducciones de cuestionarios, información de productos e informes entre otros. Además de ofrecer traducciones desde el portugués, la mayoría de las tareas implican inglés y español.
Respecto a los clientes, suelo trabajar para agencias de traducción que ofrecen traducciones especializadas en medicina.

¿Puedes hacer una breve descripción de una jornada laboral típica?
Mi jornada empieza en una editorial médica donde gestiono proyectos, traduzco y realizo tareas de medical writer. Tras la jornada en la oficina, me dedico a traducir de manera autónoma.teresa-pons

¿Qué te gusta en tu trabajo?
Lo que más me gusta de la traducción es que me da la oportunidad de combinar tres de mis pasiones: la lectura, la ciencia y los idiomas. Cada proyecto supone ponerme a prueba ya que, al estar relacionados con mi formación académica, me resulta muy atractivo emplear temas médicos y científicos.

¿Qué es lo que no te gusta?
Más que no gustarme diría que las prisas de los clientes son poco motivadoras. En la traducción especializada es muy importante proporcionar una traducción precisa de los términos y saber que las fuentes y los recursos que se utilizan son fiables.

¿Cuándo empezaste a trabajar como traductora?
En breve celebraré mi primer año como traductora freelance y espero que sea el primer paso de una larga trayectoria profesional.

¿Esta actividad profesional corresponde a tus estudios iniciales?
Estudié las licenciaturas de biotecnología y bioquímica ya que siempre me había gustado el mundo de la ciencia. Asimismo, pude estudiar un máster europeo en ciencias forenses, que no solo me permitió profundizar en áreas tan específicas como la química analítica, la evaluación de la calidad o incluso la botánica forense sino también mejorar el inglés dentro de un entorno internacional. Tras este recorrido, me especialicé en la traducción médica y farmacéutica. A pesar del importante peso experimental de mis estudios, siempre había querido enfocar mi carrera en la comunicación y divulgación científica; me fascina llevar el conocimiento científico a pie de calle.

¿Cuál es tu recorrido profesional? ¿Por qué trabajas ahora como traductora?
Tras realizar prácticas en laboratorios nacionales e internacionales y trabajar en la universidad, decidí que era hora de especializarme en la traducción médica. Esta labor me permite combinar temas científicos y médicos de actualidad con el empleo de diferentes idiomas y, aunque puede parecer superfluo, es una de las actividades más reconfortantes y encantadoras a nivel personal.

Para más información, podéis consultar el perfil de Teresa Pons en LinkedIn, o en Twitter.

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

Hispafra

CLARA GIAMPIETRO – ITALIAN TRANSLATOR – GUEST ARTICLE 2016/11

Dear readers,

This month for your reading pleasure, we have an interview with Clara Giampietro, an Italian translator.

NAME: Clara Giampietro
PROFESSION: Italian translator
WORK LANGUAGES: English, Spanish, Russian into Italian
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Chieri (Turin), Italy

What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
I mainly work with clients in the automation, mechanics, IT and printing industries. I also cooperate with translation agencies translating texts in the technical, legal and marketing fields.

Can you provide a brief description of your typical work day?clara-giampietro
A typical working day for me starts at 8 a.m. I usually take advantage of the early morning to check my to do list and organise my activities. I also read articles that I want to share on my social media channels. At 9 a.m. I start working on my translation projects. I finish working at 4.30 p.m., I make a list of top priorities for the next day, and I clear up the mailbox, making sure I have answered all the messages in my inbox. After dinner, I spend time on creative works, I write articles for my blog or I work on my CPD or on activities related to AITI, the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters of which I am a member of the regional chapter board.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I enjoy researching and learning different things. I also love the freedom to manage my own work and to take responsibility for the results.

Which aspects do you least enjoy?
I prefer to vary the types of translation projects, so I don’t like too much when I have to translate repeatedly the same things.

How long have you been working as a translator?
On October 22nd I celebrated 12 years as a translator.

Did you in fact study to become a translator?
I did. I have a degree in languages and a master degree in translation.

What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
After graduating in languages, I attended a master’s program in literary and technical translation. I soon discovered that technical translation was where I was always meant to be, and I can’t bear even thinking about a life without translation in it. I translate because I love words and my mother tongue, Italian. I translate because translating makes me feel free. I translate because I am curious and fascinated about how things work and function.

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

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

Hispafra