The fifth installment of the Brazil conference interview series features translator, interpreter, and ProZ.com moderator Fernanda Rocha. As part of her presentation at the upcoming conference in Recife, Brazil, Fernanda will be sharing some advice on how to get the most out of the tools and opportunities available at ProZ.com.
MK: How did you get started in translation/interpretation?
FR: I decided I wanted to be a translator when I was in the first year of high school. I then focused on my goal and started reading and studying about it. I got started as a professional translator by translating internal documents of the cement factory where I worked and, as time went by, I began to offer my services to local companies and to expand my client base.
In 2002 I went to college and now I have a BA in Translation and I am always taking extra courses to improve my skills.
MK: What would you consider the most important challenge facing freelance translators or interpreters today?
FR: For me, it has always been the idea many people have that translating is not an actual job and that anyone who speaks a foreign language or who has lived in another country can do this without further efforts. People don’t actually realize how complex our job is. Most of them don’t take into consideration that, if we have access to many things in our native language nowadays it is because a translator was there, studying and working hard to get the job done. (Not to mention those who think our job is to paste the text on Google Translator, click the button, and send the translated version back to them.)
MK: What advice would you give freelancers seeking to expand their client base?
FR: The internet makes it quite simple to get in contact with clients from all over the world. Create a good online professional profile and advertise your services. Take advantage of what websites like ProZ.com have to offer and start building a solid image online. Keep in mind that your profile is like your “business card.” It has to call your client’s attention and make him or her interested in contacting you.
MK: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in translation or interpretation?
FR: Read. Be a very attentive reader. And research. Practice your research techniques, learn new ones and do not stop improving them. In my honest opinion, these are the basic skills a translator has to have. I know it might sound silly but believe me, laziness cannot be one of the characteristics of a good professional in our area.
MK: You will be giving a session at the upcoming conference in Recife, Brazil, called “‘Fiz um cadastro no ProZ.com: e agora?!’ Dicas sobre como aproveitar ao máximo o que o ProZ.com lhe oferece.” What can attendees to this session expect to learn?
FR: As the title itself says, I’m going to show attendees some of the interesting tools and opportunities ProZ.com has to offer, and give tips on how site users/members can take full advantage of them in a way that will help them build a solid profile, find new clients, among other things.