Do you have a plan for your translation business? 4

Make more money, have more free time, translate, translate, translate. This seems to be the extent to which many freelance translators and interpreters would define their business plans.

In a poll featured on April 9, 2011, 19.5% of respondents said that they did not have a written business plan. This number decreased further in a similar survey run on September 6 of last year, in which only 8.4% of respondents stated that they had a written business plan.

Interestingly, over 37% of those who responded to yesterday’s poll answered “Yes” when asked if they had a specific plan or set of goals for their freelance businesses. Another 25.3% of participants said that while they did not currently have a concrete professional plan or set of objectives, they would like to develop one.

One might wonder what this difference in results means. Why did the minority of respondents say that they did not have a written business plan, but the majority of those polled said that they did in fact have, or would like to have, a specific plan or set of objectives for their business?

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Choosing the right client 35

In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.

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Translators collaborate in post-flood relief effort 2

I mentioned in the previous post that one great thing about working in translation is that translators are always ready to help colleagues and others. One example is the excellent work being done by professional translators with Translators without Borders. And here is another:

Earlier this month, a severe storm hit La Plata, Argentina, home to one of the offices of ProZ.com. The storm caused flooding throughout the city; in some places the high water mark reached or exceeded 1.20 meters. Apart from the great and tragic loss of lives, homes, schools and other facilities were thrown into disarray following the flooding.

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On portals for language professionals (and other resources) Reply

There are frequent questions and discussions about whether to use one translation portal or another, or this portal vs. that portal. A translator looking to invest in his or her business or seeking to gain new clients is presented with various sites and resources in general to this end. The same is true for any resource, be it in risk management, terminology, discussion groups, software, etc. Here are some pointers on evaluating and using these portals and other resources to your advantage.

But I want something for nothing!

If this is the case, it may be a good moment to reflect on your freelance career. As a freelancer, you are also running your own business, whether you call it that or not. It is difficult, if not impossible, to operate any successful business without investment of some kind (and it will usually take investments of various kinds– a time investment, a monetary investment, etc.). Don’t expect opportunity to come your way on its own. If there are tools and resources which help improve your business, invest in them. Sometimes this investment involves simply taking the time to evaluate and learn how to use the resource.

Other investments require your credit card! Hardware and software are an example. Training or other kinds of education can be another. And memberships, whether they are in professional associations in translation or in your field of expertise, or in portals or for services designed to enhance your business somehow, are another. If we can’t agree that you cannot operate successfully on a something-for-nothing basis, go no further! If we can agree, read on!

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Guest blog post: “Meeting in the middle: How outsourcers and translators can work together” by Patrick Hayslett, LinguaLinx 1

Today’s post is a guest blog post by member Patrick Hayslett of LinguaLinx, Inc. Patrick provides some tips from the vendor management point of view on evaluating and dealing professionally with translation outsourcers.

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“Meeting in the middle: How outsourcers and translators can work together” by Patrick Hayslett, LinguaLinx

From outright scams mentioned in a post by Jared to project managers that leave you pounding your forehead on the keyboard, there are plenty of land mines planted in a translator’s inbox. Aside from these unscrupulous scenarios, conflict may even arise with legitimate translation companies.

This natural conflict is best summarized by Lucia Leszinsky’s article on risk management for both parties. “Regardless of the type of activity involved everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed to several types of risk that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.”

I’m Patrick Hayslett, Communications Coordinator with LinguaLinx, a leading translation company that utilizes outsourced professional translators. I’m here to share our Vendor Manager’s thoughts on how outsourcers and translators can cooperate in a fair manner that acknowledges and minimizes risk to both.

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CAT tool use by translators: what are they using? 29

In the previous post (which was post number 100 on this blog), we took a first look at CAT tool use among translators. This week we will delve into this subject some more, examining which tools are being used, how translators are deciding on those tools, favorites, least favorites, and recommendations.

And if you are a reader who likes charts and graphs, you’re in luck. You can click on any of the graphics in this post to open a larger version in a new browser tab for easier viewing.

Let’s recap on the source of this information. The surveys on CAT tool use were aimed primarily at full-time professional translators. A majority of survey respondents have been in the translation business for at least five years, and just over thirty percent of them have been in the business for more than ten years. The largest age group of survey respondents was between 25 and 35 years old (35%). Over three thousand full-time professional translators from around the world responded to the surveys, which were broken into a survey for CAT tool users and one for those who do not use any CAT tool at all.

So, which CAT tools are being used most?

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