It has become a bit of a tradition during the ATA conference for us to ask translators for their one translation tip for the upcoming year. This year was no different and that question was:
“If you were to give a translator one piece of advice for 2019, what would it be?"
We received 20 brilliant responses which we think every translator should read. Check out their advice for translators in 2019…
Find or refine your niche! Specialization and subject matter expertise are more important than ever.
— Ben Karl, MBA, CT (@Bentranslates) October 25, 2018
Never stop learning! Subject-matter knowledge is what sets us apart as professionals.
— Paula Arturo (@PaulaArturo) October 26, 2018
Specialize and become a technology guru.
— CZiamandanis (@CZiamandanis1) October 27, 2018
Be creative with how you use technology and specialize.
— Jeromobot (@Jeromobot) October 28, 2018
You probably hear this all the time, but it really does pay to have a specialism. Specializing in a certain industry or sector will help you develop knowledge and become a subject matter expert in your field. It will also help you stand out from the crowd, as your specialist knowledge will give you an advantage over another translator who does not know that particular industry as well as you.
— Nora Díaz (@NoraDiazB) October 25, 2018
Thank you @sdltrados for giving me the floor! 😉 My advice would be to invite all my fellow colleagues to keep investing in continuous education, which is the absolute key factor to preserve one’s added value and stay one step ahead of competitors (machine included) #ata59https://t.co/YKSflRPEfe
— GuillaumeDeneufbourg (@GDeneufbourg) October 26, 2018
Learn how to learn!
— Renato Beninatto (@renatobeninatto) October 26, 2018
Knowledge is everything and as a translator, you should always want to learn or improve your professional and business skills. However, with regular deadlines from clients – as well as all the other tasks that go with running your own freelance translation business – we know it can be tough for you to make time for your own professional development.
To make things easier, we have created a simple guide to help you navigate through a brand new collection of free support materials for freelance translators, which will help with your career progression. Check them out here.
Get feedback on your work. Feedback produces growth. If you find yourself working in a vacuum, fix that.
— Karen Tkaczyk – Chemistry Translator (@ChemXlator) October 26, 2018
Have you ever asked for feedback on your translation projects? If the answer is yes, you will already know the power of gaining feedback. If the answer is no, feedback can help your business grow and help you develop your skills and relationships with clients. Whether it is positive or negative feedback, all feedback is beneficial feedback.
My advice would be: Attend a conference of a professional association in a field that interests him/her, be it oil and gas or construction, pharmaceuticals, etc.
— Maha El-Metwally (@MahaElMetwally) October 25, 2018
When you’re planning which events you should attend in 2019, don’t just limit yourself to translation and localization events. If you specialize in a particular industry or sector, identifying the top industry events to attend will not only help to improve your knowledge, but the networking opportunities could lead to new business.
Look forward, get used to change. There’s going to be lots of it.
— Anne Hargreaves (@AnneMHargreaves) October 27, 2018
“Accept change as the only constant factor and adapt, grow, and prosper."
— Judy Jenner (@language_news) October 27, 2018
Are you up to date will the latest trends and technology changes in the translation and localization industry. Whether it is neural machine translation, the use of the cloud or new product releases, keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest developments can only be a benefit for your business.
Celebrate the serendipitous meetings and interactions with new colleagues and contacts. You never know where it might lead! https://t.co/ao1dw1PlZ7
— Eve Lindemuth Bodeux (@ebodeux) October 25, 2018
Make sure you’re not only networking but networking well! You never know what doors or opportunities might be opened.
Hi @sdltrados! I would encourage translators to explore a new subject matter in 2019, whether as a potential work opportunity or simply a way to expand their creative skills. Team up with an experienced colleague to give and receive feedback as you practice. #ata59https://t.co/gUki945roy
— Emily Safrin (@saffrontrans) October 28, 2018
In 2019, why not take yourself outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. It could be the beginnings of learning a new specialism or it could be learning new marketing skills to promote your business. Whatever you decide to do in 2019, make sure it is right for you and your business.
Work on getting more direct clients and use SDLTrados Studio to manage all your projects. It pays off!
— Lorena Pike (@lorenapike) October 25, 2018
There are plenty of webinars and blogs out there to help you attract your ideal direct clients, including this one from ATA President, Corinne McKay. Taking some time to learn new client acquisition tips will help you find the clients you want to work with.
Get to know your fellow translators! They’re not your competitors, they’re your network and your resources.
— Eugenia Tietz-Sokolskaya (@eugeniasokol) October 29, 2018
Many of you already have fantastic relationships with other translators. Building these strong relationships has many benefits. For example, if a translator is offered a project but does not think it’s right for them or they cannot take it on, they are most likely going to recommend translators they have great relationships with – that could be you!
So not only are you building lasting friendships, but you are also building up a network of translators who you could recommend to clients and who might also return the favour.
Here’s my $0.02 (a little late): If you receive a file and read through it without understanding what it is saying, don’t accept it!
— Jill R. Sommer (@bonnjill) October 30, 2018
Don’t be scared to say no! If the project isn’t right, do not take it. And if you know of another translator who would be perfect for the project, don’t be afraid to reccommend them to the client – they will really appreciate it.
Good question! Probably this: know your worth and act like an entrepreneur (because you are).
— Dagmar Jenner (@Deutsch_Profi) October 27, 2018
Don’t underestimate yourself and your own value!
— Jamie Hartz (@tildelanguage) October 25, 2018
As a freelancer, you’re not just a translator. You are running your own business and have many responsibilities. It’s important to remember this as you should not only look to improve and learn new skills to benefit your translations, but you should also take time to learn new skills that will take your business to the next level.
My advice would be ‘Brand yourself constantly and become a savvy social media user.’ What’s yours?
— Ewandro Magalhaes (@ewandromag) October 28, 2018
Marketing is becoming more important than ever before and building your personal brand is key. There are many marketing channels you could use including your website, email, advertising, direct mailing and social media.
You do not have to use all of these marketing methods, you just need to understand which ones will benefit your business the most. The best way to do this? Trial and error. Test each one over a period of time and see which one(s) yields the best results for you.
My mischievous side says, “Buy #memoQ." In all seriousness, though, have solidarity with your colleagues. Advocate for yourselves and the people you serve. Join a union if there is one in your area.
— Maria Guzenko (@intorussian) October 26, 2018
We think Maria made a typo here. She obviously meant “Buy SDL Trados Studio." All joking aside, networking at events and joining associations can be great for your career – try it and see for yourself.
Do you have your own translation tip for 2019? Share it with us in the comment section below.
If you missed ATA 59 in New Orleans, you can catch up here.