Celebrating ten years of translators and interpreters coming together in Cardiff 2

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. 

 

 

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 3: Get connected 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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An advantage, and, let’s face it, sometimes a disadvantage, of the world we live in now is that everything is connected. Or it should be. Or could be.

On a professional level, this connectivity can be a great way to stay ahead. If you are in your CAT tool working on your latest project, why should you need to stop what you are doing and go somewhere else when you need help with a difficult term, for example? In another post I mentioned that you can send your query straight to the KudoZ term help network and get answers back without even leaving CafeTran Espresso, if you are using it. You can even get notified of future potential projects of interest while you are working on that project, and you have not left your CAT tool. You can log in to ProZ.com with your Facebook or Google account if you want to. This sort of inter-connectivity is what we have come to expect. Things that don’t connect to other things intelligently, that stand alone (not the same, obviously, as standing out!), will lead an increasingly lonely and inefficient life online nowadays. And basically, we are talking about how well you are reaching and serving your clients, right? How many hoops does a potential client need to jump through to find out about what you have to offer, and contact you for work? Are you making it as easy as possible for this contact to happen?

Many of the tools included in your ProZ.com Plus subscription are geared towards allowing you to more efficiently be seen, be screened, and be contacted by potential clients. Now with a click, a client can call or otherwise contact you from the directory or your profile. You can choose to receive priority messaging from potential clients, on your computer or on the go via ProZ.com Mobile. You can show clients current and past projects in real time, allowing them to see you are an active pro and to further verify your areas of expertise, in your profile, or on your website. You can provide the option for potential clients to add you to their lists of interesting candidates, on ProZ.com and on the web in general.

The “call me” button

If you have configured a way for someone to call you, a “call me” button will appear in your profile and in your directory listing. Clicking the button will open a window that shows any contact information you’ve chosen to share, and provides a “click to call” option to authorized users.

Get the “Call me” button »

Click to call

With the “click to call” feature you can allow authorized people to phone you, while keeping your phone number private.

If configured, a “Click to call now” button will appear in your “call me” box during the times you’ve specified. The caller will use a browser-based app to call your phone number (you will talk on your phone, while the caller will use the browser-based app). Your phone number will not be revealed to the caller.

Set up “Click to call” »

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The “What I’m working on” feature allows you to share projects you are working on, creating a project history as you go. Clients can search and find language professional through their “What I’m working on” histories. It’s also a great way to network with colleagues!

You can add a “What I’m working on” widget to your own website, to show potential clients the kind of work you do, in real time.

Check out the widgets available so far »

 

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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.

Translators Plus part 2: Smart translators and interpreters are wearing sunglasses 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 future looks bright for a certain type of translator, interpreter, or anyone providing language services.

These are the language professionals who are able to adapt to the changes that affect us all in general, and the changes that affect how things work in the industry. Some of these changes are related to globalization, some are tech-based, others have to do with how we have come to expect a service to be delivered, in terms of time, cost, and quality, and very often without even having met the person or persons providing the service.

Tomorrow’s translator and interpreter is continually improving. They are staying up to date on what’s new, both good and bad. They are able to accurately inform their clients about what’s new, what the best solution might be, and deliver a service that really meets those clients’ needs. They are learning and incorporating the technology, processes, and tools that allow them to do this.

That brings us to today’s topic: watching videos on the internet.

Wait! Did you just open a tab and go to YouTube to watch cats and dogs doing funny things?

1. You did the right thing,
2. Stick with me a bit, because I was talking about something else.

Call it what you want– professional development, continuing education, training, “what every professional should be doing”– tomorrow’s translator and interpreter is taking in new information about all different aspects of the business, and putting it to work for them, in order to stay on top of their game.

ProZ.com has been offering language professional training for more than ten years, and the ProZ.com community is full of experts on all different facets of the business. This expertise and knowledge has been collected in the new Plus subscriber video library. If you want to learn more about translation software, or the art of translation or interpreting, or negotiating with clients, or finding new clients, or a particular field within translation and interpreting, the video library is a good place to start. It’s free with your ProZ.com Plus subscription, and you can watch what you want when you want, on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone.

At the moment, the video library contains over 1,000 hours of content, in various languages. If you were to pay for access to all of that content separately, it would run you around 20,000 USD, which, even if you have that kind of money just burning a hole in your pocket, you’re going to want to spend it on something else, right? Granted, not every course in the library will be of interest or applicable to you, as tends to happen with most libraries. But it could be a very valuable professional resource to have in your set of tools, and again, it’s free with your Plus subscription. And as the number of Plus subscribers grows, so grows that library of knowledge.

If you have not had a look yet, I encourage you to check it out, at http://videos.proz.com/

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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.

Translators Plus part 1: Cats drinking coffee? 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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Today we’re going to talk about… cats drinking coffee!


Well, not quite. Maybe later. I’m curious about how that little guy reaches the cup, or if he takes it with sugar.

I meant to say we’re going to talk about a CAT tool that comes with ProZ.com Plus membership, by the name of CafeTran Espresso.

First, some CAT tool basics for those who may not be initiated. Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) software are programs that translators use to create their translations. CAT tools can use and generate translation memories (TMs), which the translator leverages for efficiency and quality in their translation. Upwards of 90% of translators use a CAT tool. Of those using a CAT tool, around 80% use more than one tool. If you are wondering which CAT tools translators are using most, this article may be of help.

If you are on the market for a CAT tool, you get one for free with your Plus subscription: CafeTran Espresso. The latest version of CafeTran Espresso, Acua, was released this year.

Even if you are not currently looking for a new CAT tool, this is a good opportunity to test drive something different to see how it compares to the tools you are currently using, and to add it to your arsenal if it works for you.

CafeTran has all the features you would expect from a CAT tool, and possibly some you would not! It is interoperable with files for Trados, memoQ, Wordfast, and other major CAT tools. It also integrates with ProZ.com services– you can keep an eye on job offers, or get KudoZ term help, right from within your CAT tool.

Support for CafeTran comes from the software’s developer himself, as well as an extensive knowledge base for those just getting started, and the CafeTran group, made up of users helping each other and also guiding feature development.

See more about what CafeTran can do at https://www.cafetran.com/#features

Your Plus subscription provides you with a floating license to CafeTran. This means that no matter where you install or use CafeTran, all you need to do is log in with your ProZ.com account to activate the full set of CafeTran features. Versions are available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

You can also download and try out CafeTran for free to see if you like it at https://www.cafetran.com/.

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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.

See what ProZ.com Plus has to offer »
 

Guest post: Reflections on 2017, my first $US 100,000+ year from translation 12

DJHartmann is a NAATI Certified Thai-English Translator specializing in the translation of issues relating to applied anthropology, international development, NGO’s, refugees and migration, human trafficking, indigenous peoples’ rights, the effects of mining and resource extraction on local communities, social impact assessments, land tenure and environmental management.

He is a ProZ.com member and member of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network.

 

He shared this success story last week in ProZ.com forums.


We don’t normally share our successes here on ProZ.com. Most often we hear about issues that aren’t so hopeful such as bad clients or non-payment, problems getting established or a slow workload. I’d like to share my 2017 experience with everyone and what I’ll do differently in 2018.

To start off, I’ve only been a full-time translator and ProZ.com member since mid-2014. At the start of 2017 I had been fully dedicated to translation for a mere 2 1/2 years (having translated part-time since 2011 while studying and working).

The year 2017 was the first calendar year that I earned over $US 100,000 from translation, around $130,000+ if including other services. I think that this story is possible for anyone here on ProZ.com, that’s why I wanted to share.

What did I do differently to previous years?

Translation and my business came number 1.

What does that mean? Everything else got put behind me:

Family, wife, children, socialising, cycling and fitness, health, alcohol, holidays, anything that might’ve been deemed a waste of time…placed number 2

Saying this, I didn’t just take translation and my business seriously, I “became” DJHartmann Translation. Work became my existence. I generally would wake between 2-3am and work through till 6pm, in bed normally by 7-8pm, 7 days/week. This was the routine until the regular big projects would come through and I’d work for 20 hour + sessions, at least a couple of times/month. This lasted through till NYE, when I was pushing to finish a 40k word job that was previously due on 26 Dec but I got an extension…

I only had a handful of clients, most work coming from 2. Big projects (150,000+ words) were the norm and I said goodbye to the nagging, undercutting multinationals who wanted me to work for less than 1/2 my rate. I became very close with the project managers that I worked with and we built an excellent level of understanding and great professional relationships with one another. While these big projects occupied my month-long vision, I would of course have daily, well-paid jobs that didn’t take too much time at all (certified TRs etc). I never refused these and delivered ASAP.

Quality was paramount. As I mentioned above about needing an extension, if the job didn’t meet my own quality standard expectations, I wouldn’t deliver it. This was in no way regular but when it did happen it would frustrate the PMs who were being hounded by their clients to deliver. Upon seeing the delivered project, which was often more extensive than they’d first thought (Thai source WC is often underestimated), they’d always thank me. I built up a reputation with all in the process chain: proofreaders, quality assurance, project managers and end-clients. This kept those big jobs coming.

I stopped sub-contracting translations. Running on from the above point, with quality being my priority, and a complete lack of time to proof others’ work, it was not in my best interest to use sub-contractors. Instead, I branched out my service offerings to one ‘almost’ passive-income pursuit and one ‘easy money’ task. Without giving too many details, the passive-income task involves a team working for me in Thailand and the easy-money task is a job that most others refuse to take! Neither of these are translation but are both assigned to me by translation agencies. The agencies also have full knowledge of the team working for me, which I’ve helped to screen.

I’ve strengthened partnerships. Some colleagues in this industry are out to get you, ready to stab you in the back or undercut you at their first opportunity! Others are worth keeping close and worth building a mutually-beneficial future together. In the past I would’ve just sub-contracted work to them but for the reasons above I stopped doing that. Instead, I gave opportunities and shared their names with clients who needed desperate help. Everyone is happier in this situation and it promotes trust and friendship, better quality work and more money going to the right people!

I became accredited. For my language pair, there are only a very few translators who are accredited or certified. Most are non-natives and those who are natives (bar one or two) didn’t learn the source language at a higher-educational level. This is not a criticism of all translators without degrees, I’m just trying to show that on the whole, Thai-English translation has very poor quality. There are even varying levels of bad translations in this pair. Becoming accredited through testing gave all those I work with a level of assuredness that my translations were good. It also gave me a renewed confidence, which helped my own work. NAATI accreditation was expensive and very hard but I have no regrets after doing it.

After saying all of this, I also moved my wife and two daughters back to Australia with me. We packed our whole lives from Thailand into a shipping container, sold the car and moved onto my family’s farm here in Australia for 9 months, living in the spare bedroom. My intent throughout 2017 was to save money for a house deposit. This was the driving force for all those above-detailed accomplishments…but I found out afterwards that internationally-sourced funds cannot be deemed ‘secure’ financing for a loan. Instead of buying a house, I’ve moved my family into a rental in one of the nicer suburbs of Brisbane that is near a good, well-known school. We’ve forgotten about buying a house because we couldn’t ever afford to buy the place we’re living in now!

Come January 2018. What has changed? I no longer have the ‘save money for a house’ mantra driving me like a madman. I burned out, seriously burned out after New Years and one of my main resolutions was to say “No”. I am unavailable on weekends, as these are now set for my family, wife and kids. I’ve prioritised health and fitness and am cycling most mornings once again (eg. prior to 2017). I’m back to enjoying cider and wine!!!! And now am glad to start work at 9am! I’m back to loving my job, loving my lifestyle, and my family is loving me for it! My income might’ve taken a cut but it was that extra 20% effort that caused all the pain. My feeling is now that this level is sustainable, whereas the other max-effort nearly killed me.

I thought this experience was worth sharing and hope that others can gain something from it.

Finally, it’s worth noting that I am the sole income provider for my family. My eldest daughter is 6 and youngest nearly 2. My wife stays at home caring for #2 and helps look after me through those long work-stints. Much of our success is thanks to her continual support and I couldn’t have done half of it without her!!!

Regards,

DJH


This post was originally made in a site forum.

Participate in the forum discussion, or leave your comment below!