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any words of wisdom for a new translator to work efficiently?
Thread poster: irishpolyglot

irishpolyglot
Ireland
Local time: 17:28
French to English
+ ...
May 24, 2007

Hi everyone!

I will be starting a new job soon as a technical translator for several languages into English. I have already worked as a translator in a company but this time it will be at home. I was wondering what kind of advice you all had on working efficiently on your own hours?

Is there anything I might not be aware of if I think that it's more ideal working under my own timetable without the boss to hassle me constantly? How can I make sure that I stick to consistent timetables and get work done on time? What kind of environment should I be working in (comfy chair, well lit room etc.?) What e-mail system do you use for sending/receiving work? Does using my yahoo account sound less professional - is it better to upgrade to POP3 on that account so I have everything available offline? What resources do you use to help translation (I'm mostly familiary with wordreference.com, wikipedia.com clicking other languages on a topic to see how it's explained in that langauge and the European dictionary (formally known as Eurodicautom, at http://iate.europa.eu/iatediff/ ). What other online resources are there?

I would hugely appreciate any other useful links that some of you might use regularly (for computer/scientific document translations from Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese to English). And do programs really help? Up until now I mostly just have two MS Word windows open and use the internet and dictionaries to check any translations. I would hugely appreciate any advice at all (or links to websites about being a translator) so that I can work to my best!! (I have an engineering background and some translation experience, but very little training and am about to start work full-time so I really hope to be as professional as possible!)

Feel free to respond in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or French if you write better in that language!
Go raibh míle maith agaibh (thanks a million for all your help!)


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Mihaela BUFNILA  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 19:28
English to Romanian
+ ...
Welcome on board! May 25, 2007

You’ll soon find out what a terrible, strict and vigilant boss you can be, the only boss you can never beg for mercy. That’s the joke. The truth is you’ll permanently know how you are, where you are, what you are doing, so there is no more supervision than that.

Sticking to the timetables is a matter of organizing yourself and respecting the clients. They count on you. It’s just another rule to comply with.

As for the environment, make it as pleasant as possible. Enjoy the idea there are no “company rules” about that, you can choose the color, the temperature and the furniture you like. Take good care of your back, of your eyes – these are my worries. Surround your working area… no, I shouldn’t put it this way. Well, I surrounded my working area with a lot of huge plants, I call it “Kenya IT”, just to balance the wires and the wireless and the like.

I couldn’t tell if an e-mail system is better than another, my yahoo account brought me most of my good and steady clients, so it is the best to me.

The forums are the best place to meet the colleagues and their point of view from a summer recipe to the best browser or marketing strategy. You’ll find some very fine articles here http://www.proz.com/translation-articles. They helped me a lot then when your questions sounded like mine.

Good luck!
Mihaela


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lingomania
Local time: 03:28
Italian to English
In house to freelance May 25, 2007

I switched fom in-house to freelance (but currently do both) and here's my modest advice: love and defend your job and work as if you had to comply with a time-table, don't get discouraged if you don't meet the deadlines especially at the beginning...you necessarily will in the end, try to improve and keep updated on anything that concerns your job....remember, we never stop learning, promote your job so that potential clients get to know you better, later on in the job, when you have gained a certain mastery in it, don't hesitate to increase your fees...clients tend to be suspectful if you drop your fees too low.
I hope this helps a little......it did for me.

Rob


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casey
United States
Local time: 12:28
Member
Japanese to English
Did you say what I think you said? May 26, 2007

lingomania wrote:
... don't get discouraged if you don't meet the deadlines especially at the beginning....


ALWAYS meet the deadlines. Neglecting to meet deadlines can mean both lower payments and lost clients. Being late is simply unacceptable.


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Katerina Fragkiadaki  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 19:28
German to Greek
+ ...
CAT-Tools May 26, 2007

irshpolyglot wrote:

And do programs really help? Up until now I mostly just have two MS Word windows open and use the internet and dictionaries to check any translations.


I would definetely suggest a CAT-Tool, no matter which one (in the forums you will find various opinions as to which one you should go for). You can save a lot of time, nerves (opening 2 .docs is plain confusion) and ensure quality of your work since you will definetely not omit any sentences, have a TM you might probably use when an other similar job arises etc.


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lingomania
Local time: 03:28
Italian to English
Not really May 27, 2007

casey wrote:

lingomania wrote:
... don't get discouraged if you don't meet the deadlines especially at the beginning....


ALWAYS meet the deadlines. Neglecting to meet deadlines can mean both lower payments and lost clients. Being late is simply unacceptable.


Well, at the beginning it can happen but should NOT be the rule ..I'm only trying to explain what could hppen to a new translator not that he/she SHOULD do it.

Rob


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Céline Graciet
Local time: 17:28
English to French
Never let a client down Jun 1, 2007

lingomania wrote:

casey wrote:

lingomania wrote:
... don't get discouraged if you don't meet the deadlines especially at the beginning....


ALWAYS meet the deadlines. Neglecting to meet deadlines can mean both lower payments and lost clients. Being late is simply unacceptable.


Well, at the beginning it can happen but should NOT be the rule ..I'm only trying to explain what could hppen to a new translator not that he/she SHOULD do it.

Rob


I'm with Casey on this one. When you start off, you have to work extra hard to prove yourself, and the worst thing you could ever do is let a new client down. It's very simple: you'll never see them again and your (fragile) reputation might suffer. Once you're established and you've taken on several projects for a client, if a problem crops up, you can contact them and negotiate a new deadline; at that point they'll trust you and it shouldn't be a problem. But when you're starting, they've got no way to know whether you need an extension because of a genuine emergency or because you're badly organised, can't manage your time or just aren't cut out for the job, and they might not want to take another chance on you.

I don't think you can let that happen if you're serious about your freelance career. It simply must not happen.

Céline
www.nakedtranslations.com


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