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

Publicités

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

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