Celebrating ten years of translators and interpreters coming together in Cardiff 1

For those not familiar, a ProZ.com powwow is an informal, local get-together of language professionals. Any ProZ.com member can propose and organize a powwow in their area. Since 2001, thousands of powwows have been held around the world, in 110 countries.

So far, 454 powwows have been held in 63 cities in the UK, with 3,748 attendees total. At least 50 of those powwows have been organized by Victoria Burns and Alexandra Chapman. This May 5th, Alexandra and Victoria are celebrating 10 years of powwows in Cardiff by holding — you guessed it — another powwow!

I asked Alexandra and Victoria to talk a bit about how the Cardiff powwows got started, what the experience has been like, and what benefits they have been able to see from coming together in person with colleagues. Here is what they had to say:


Celebrating ten years of powwows in Cardiff is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come. Vicky and I met at the first Cardiff powwow, which came about as a result of Cardiff-based translators Vicky and Trinidad Clares meeting at an earlier powwow in nearby Bristol, back in May 2008 and immediately hit it off. We had both started translating the previous year, Vicky full time after deciding to finally bite the bullet and leave her job in export sales and me more gradually as my daughter started playschool. We had both studied languages at school and university, shared a love of travelling and hoped that a powwow would offer social opportunities to enhance our more solitary professional lives. It did that and more!

To date we’ve organised over 50 powwows between us with other local translators organising at least another 50 in that time. We’ve had attendees from all over the world with a wide variety of language combinations and we’ve heard about powwows in other countries where minutes are taken or talks are given. Ours are more informal, usually a meal or drinks in a city centre bar or restaurant where we chat about current projects, share tips on translation issues and plan our next social gathering. We’ve grown into a group of fifteen or twenty regulars of many different nationalities and we’re joined by new people almost every time we meet, usually on the first Saturday of the month. There’s been a Christmas powwow every year and often a summer picnic. We’ve celebrated birthdays, weddings and baby showers, with more and more children joining the scene, not to mention Vicky’s dog Alfie. Recently, we even arranged a Mother’s Day powwow and brought our mums along! That’s something we may now find we have to make an annual event….

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We travel further afield together too, organising a bunkhouse weekend and camping on the Gower Peninsula and attending translation conferences in Berlin (ELIA), Brescia (MET) and Vienna (BP18). Regular powwow attendee Juliet Haydock owns a house in Capena, near Rome, and that’s become a regular destination for some sunshine and co-working.

Perhaps the greatest outcome of the Cardiff powwows has been the foundation of ITI Cymru Wales, the Welsh network of the Institution of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the UK’s professional association for practising translators and interpreters. Although founders Trinidad Clares and Elvana Moore initially met at a powwow in nearby Bristol, it was the Cardiff powwows that formed the recruitment ground for at least 28 of the current membership of 40, of which 15 to date (including Vicky and me) have taken the prestigious MITI assessment to become qualified members of the organisation. Its aims are to promote the highest standards within the profession by supporting on-going career development for language professionals and to represent the sector at the very highest level. When the ITI Conference was held in Cardiff in 2017, our members, who had met through the Cardiff powwows, played key roles in welcoming delegates to the city and organising fringe events alongside the informative talks.

Under this same banner, the Cardiff co-working sessions have become a weekly fixture, thanks to the organisational efforts of local boy Lloyd Bingham. We bring our laptops to a central café and work alongside each other, building ever-greater potential for professional collaboration. As several of us translate from German, another regular Andrew Godfrey recently initiated a Peer Review Group, where we all translate a text and then meet to discuss the relative merits of our different versions. It’s rather like a translation slam and is a great way to pick up new ideas for those ‘untranslatable’ expressions. We pick up new clients from powwow contacts too, stepping in when someone is on holiday and likewise passing on work in return, as I did when I was on maternity leave. This close collaboration is possible not only because of the trust brought about by friendship but also because of our mutual professional respect. As a group, we take the opportunity to learn from one another, rather than considering other translators to be competitors, and this mutual inspiration and support brings out the best in us all.

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We’ve come a long way since that first Cardiff powwow, and have plenty of exciting things in the pipeline for this year, including our 10th anniversary powwow in May, to which everyone who has attended a Cardiff powwow over the past 10 years has been invited, the seemingly now-annual summer picnic, another bunkhouse powwow and potentially a Cardiff translators’ ski trip next winter – our first ‘international’ powwow!

The on-going benefits are clear to see and they play a crucial role in our success as translators. What started as a simple lunch is now a fully-fledged network of high-calibre professionals even greater than the sum of its parts. If you’ve tended to shy away from networking, maybe it’s time to give it a try. And if there’s nothing in your area, setting something up is straightforward using either the ProZ.com powwow system or another social media channel. Meeting for lunch might just be the best thing you ever did for your career!

 


Well, there you have it! Congratulations to Victoria and Alexandra, to all the language professionals who have contributed to making these get-togethers a success, and have an excellent anniversary powwow!

If you are wondering whether there are extraordinary colleagues like these in your area, chances are there are– it’s simply a question of getting the ball rolling, and good things can happen. 

 

 

Amazon offers nine free works in translation (e-book format) until World Book Day Reply

World Book Day is April 23rd. To celebrate, Amazon is offering a selection of award-winning works from around the world, all of which have been translated to English, for free for Kindle. You can grab them between now and April 24th at https://www.amazon.com/article/read-the-world

(there may be geographical or other limits on who can get these books for free– apparently they are free to US-based customers, and discounted in other regions)

Among the books, I spotted The Light of the Fireflies, by Paul Pen and translated by ProZ.com member Simon Bruni.

The book cover of The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen. Translated by Simon Bruni. The cover shows a firefly alit on a concrete wall, its blue paint cracked and peeling away.

 

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 Simon Bruni      Spanish to English

   MA, TA member, John Dryden prizewinner                                           
                                           View Simon’s profile >>

 

Check out this and the other titles available for free on Kindle until the 24th >>

Laugh your way through the rise of the machines with Mox the translator 2

If you’ve been working in translation a while, chances are you have run into Mox somewhere, if you don’t already regularly follow his adventures in translation.

“Best method to increase your productivity”, from mox.ingenierotraductor.com

Sometimes he shows up when you least expect it. The other day, the ProZ.com La Plata office received the latest collection of Mox comics, MOX III: Rise of the Machines. I’m a bit of a completist, so as a proud owner of Mox I and II, I can now rest easy, at least until volume four makes its appearance.

Mox is the brainchild of Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, a French to Spanish / English to Spanish translator specializing in Engineering/technical translations. You can follow Mox at http://mox.ingenierotraductor.com/

Pick up your copy of the latest Mox compilation at http://mox.ingenierotraductor.com/ or in the ProZ.com books section.

New log in options for ProZ.com with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn Reply

In case you had not noticed, you can now log in to your ProZ.com account using your Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn credentials.

These log in options are provided to make it easier to jump to your ProZ.com account, or to access your account in the event of a forgotten password.

 

If you run a website or application and would like to allow your users the option of signing in with their ProZ.com accounts, you can find out how here.

Marketing for freelance translators and interpreters who hate marketing Reply

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A recent survey of freelancers centered around their marketing efforts showed some interesting finds:

  • 55% of freelancers spend 3 hours a week on their online marketing efforts
  • 51% of respondents considered marketing too time-consuming, and 41% felt marketing was too costly
  • 83% are investing financially in online marketing of some sort
  • 72% say they are spending less than but up to 100 USD a month in marketing (those who spend more than that report earning more)
  • The average survey respondent had reached their income goal within two years of starting out

The survey sample were some 2,000 US freelancers of all types, so it is reasonable to expect those numbers to be somewhat different if we narrow it down to translators and interpreters, expand the sample to other countries, or both.

One number in particular that caught my eye was the monthly investment in marketing. 100 USD a month sounded pretty steep to me, but maybe I’m wrong. 1,200 USD in freelancer marketing a year. Do you spend that much on your marketing? If so, drop me a line, I’d be very interested in hearing about it and if you find it to be a good investment.

If you are already a paying ProZ.com member, you are spending between 12 and 18 dollars a month on marketing through your membership, though you get all the rest of the tools and opportunities available along with it. It’s a kind of marketing that is easy to do, what we’d call passive marketing.

Be an ant, not a grasshopper

For some kinds of work, sending CVs, applications, emails, calling or meeting potential clients, printing business cards or flyers, posting ads, and all of that active marketing, can be effective. Many freelance translators and interpreters find that kind of marketing tiring, frustrating, and also expensive, both in terms of money and time. You’d rather be translating or interpreting, right?

You may have to rush to do active marketing if you suddenly find yourself short on clients or workload. This tends to happen when a freelancer has no kind of marketing in place while they are fully-booked, a bit like the grasshopper who watched the ant stock up for winter, unworried during the summer because food was plentiful, and then sorely unprepared for the winter.

Passive marketing is your ant stocking up for winter. It can help save you from the unexpected, even though work might be plentiful now. And sometimes it’s a gateway to new opportunities that can pop up and replace what you’ve got going on with something even better.

Where is your shop window?

As I said, passive marketing is easier to do, if you do it right, and the time/monetary investment is quite different too. It basically consists of opening up a brightly-lit shop window (your online presence) on a bustling street. Many people walk by, window shopping, but if your shop has the right goods (your services, expertise, samples, things that make you stand out), shoppers will pop in to look and talk to you. Some will be interested in buying now, some will simply make a note of your shop for when they do need what you have to offer.

Where is that bustling street, though? Well, ProZ.com is one of them. You should have a professional online presence in any serious work-related venue for language professionals (a profile on LinkedIn, for example). But since ProZ.com is the busiest street when it comes to searching for and finding language professionals, if you are not figuring there as prominently as possible, you are definitely missing out on client contact. So that ProZ.com membership, roughly the cost of a new pair of shoes per year, is all you need to keep your shop window on the busiest street in the industry.
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Check your directory ranking in your top language pair and area of expertise. What page of the results are you on? How many pages of results will your ideal client browse through to get to you? They say, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results.” Directory results work in a similar way. Chances are, by the time a client has gone a few pages in, they’ve already found the people they are looking for.

Don’t waste my time

Now, when I say “online presence” I don’t mean having a profile registered on a place and having the bare minimum of information filled out there. Nowadays, if I’m looking for a service/service provider online, I don’t even look twice at people who have not put some time investment into presenting their services. No picture? No thanks. No real name? See ya. No details about the services you offer or why I should choose you? Don’t waste my time! This is where the time investment comes in. It’s mostly an up-front investment. Put in the time to craft that presentation, then go do whatever else you want, and let it go to work for you in the background.

Now think about your two biggest clients…

I’ve got all the clients I can handle right now, no need, you might say. OK! But how many times would you try to go back to a shop that was closed every time you went there?

Now, think about your two biggest clients. Would you be in trouble if tomorrow, through no fault of your own, you lost those two clients? If so, why not put your shop window out there, and occasionally field an inquiry from an interested potential client? The worst that can happen is that you’ll make some new contacts while you’re working, and heaven forbid your fully-booked status should change, you’ll have some good leads to work with.

What’s in your shop window?

Now go over to your ProZ.com profile. At the top of your profile you will see a link to “Force visitor view”. Click on that. What you see is what any visitor to your profile will see when they are evaluating working with you. Put yourself in the shoes, or eyes, of your ideal client. Does what you see there look professional, attractive, keep your interest, “sell” you on the idea of contacting this person with a work offer? Does it speak to that person’s strengths, what makes them different from the competition?

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By the way, if you are looking for ways to build, update, or fine tune your online presentation, many of the same principles of decorating a real shop window apply! Thinking about it this way may also help get your creative juices going. If you need some inspiration, you can find some pointers here:
https://www.appearhere.co.uk/inspire/blog/how-to-dress-your-shop-window

 

 

Translators Plus part 4: On proofs and puddings Reply

ProZ.com Plus membership comes with all the benefits members have come to know over the past nineteen years, plus a lot of new tools and opportunities designed with the serious freelance language professional in mind. This series takes a look at these additional benefits, one at a time.

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“The proof is in the pudding,” I’ve heard, in response to the question “How do you show potential clients you can deliver what they are looking for, at the quality they seek?”

 

Well, I have a problem with foods of a certain texture, and many serious clients are not willing to risk their clients or their work on how your first pudding for them turns out. They want as much proof as possible, beforehand, that previous puddings have gone off without a hitch, and that the pudding they are buying is the right pudding!

Sorry, I may be writing this from a place of anger, after having found out, years ago, that black pudding was not made of dark chocolate, but something much more sinister. But you get my point.

I’d like to continue ranting about desserts, but the important thing here is that, nowadays, you can show proof before someone orders and eats that pudding. And it’s easier to do than ever. Successful translators and interpreters have strong, professional online presences/presentations that take much of the guesswork out of deciding who is good, or who is right for the job. And they show as much as they can (rather than simply telling clients they are good). Client feedback, project histories, sample translations, detailing your data security procedures, certifications of training or of entry to groups like the Certified PRO Network, or the new expert pools— all of these can help make a difference.

Your ProZ.com profile is one of the most visible presences you can have on the web, especially if you are a ProZ.com paying member. But that visibility is only as effective as what you are showing in your profile. If you have your own website, you wouldn’t leave it empty, would you? No, you make it look good, and pack it with all the relevant information a client needs to decide to contact you for their next project. If you are not doing the same with your ProZ.com profile, you are missing out on client contact in an important way. Details like a strong tagline (visible to clients searching the directory, the main channel through which work is passed), client feedback, a history of previous projects, sample translations, all come together to build a stronger picture of you as a professional for clients to see. If you are doing it right, potential clients will be able to taste the pudding before they order it.

But, sometimes it is difficult to know where to start, or where to fine tune your profile to speak to your ideal clients.

If you want to make sure your profile is really flan-tastic (Sorry! It was the pudding, I couldn’t help myself), as a ProZ.com Plus subscriber you have access to a set of free webinar-workshops with exactly this in mind. These webinars are given by a member of the ProZ.com site team, to small groups of Plus subscribers, which allows for more personalized help and feedback in crafting your online presentation. Sometimes just minor changes in how you are presenting yourself can make a difference, and the ProZ.com site team is trained to detect what those changes might be, and they are dedicated to helping you find new clients and collaborators. And to be clear, most of what we’re talking about here are changes or strategies you can apply anywhere you have an online presence, not just on ProZ.com.

If you are a Plus subscriber and have not already signed up for one of these webinars, you can find them here.

In the meantime, you can also check out this short video, which describes how your profile works to show what you have to offer to clients, and some of things you can do to increase your client contact:

 

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If you already have a Plus subscription, be sure to refer to your Plus subscriber checklist to see what you can do to get the most out of your investment.

If you are still considering membership at ProZ.com, this is the full list of membership benefits.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to drop me a line.

 

 

Tablet interpreting, remote interpreting platforms, and tips and tricks for interpreters Reply

Since 2009, ProZ.com has hosted an annual, free, online event for language professionals in celebration of International Translation Day (ITD), September 30th. You can see past events at ProZ/TV. The name of the day notwithstanding, interpreters also deserve some of the spotlight at these events! Here is a selection of some recorded sessions from past ITD events which may be of interest to you if you interpret, or are considering getting into the interpreting field…


Tips, tools and apps to make the most of a tablet while interpreting

In this video from the 8th annual ProZ.com International Translation Day conference held online, interpreters Alexander Drechsel and Josh Goldsmith talk tablets and how interpreters can leverage them for their work:


The evolution of remote interpreting platforms

Also from the 8th annual International Translation Day celebration, Barry Olsen provides this overview of emerging technologies and platforms enabling remote interpreting:


Tips & Tricks for Remote Interpreters

Claudia Brauer is an English – Spanish translator, interpreter, trainer, conference speaker, and member of the Certified PRO Network. In this video, she shares some tips and approaches to help remote interpreters:


If you are a professional interpreter, you can use ProZ.com Pools™ to connect with new clients.