ProZ.com's 2016 Giveaway

Freelancer Stories On The Open Road

Weekly interviews with the winners. Giveaway ends Dec. 31.

Stories About Freelancing

Open Road Story #1: Biljana Stojanovic
Winner of an Apple Watch

The following is an interview with our first giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Biljana Stojanovic.


Q. How did you get started in your career as a freelance translator?

A. I started as a freelance translator when I was almost 50. After 25 years of work in the Pharmaceutical industry, participation in scientific projects, development of new drugs, a lot of analytical experiments and document creation, I decided to change careers and to do something that I always wanted: to translate. So I left the “safe” job and finished the one-year seminar for scientific, technical and court translators. It helped me to gain confidence, but not to find jobs. I started translating various materials for my friends and acquaintances, but it was far from enough to make a living.

Almost two years passed, with very meager results. Then I realized I had to change something. I browsed the web and discovered very useful posts, podcasts, and webinars (Thank you very much, Corinne McKay, Tess Whitty, Marta Stelmaszak, and, of course, Dmitry Kornyukhov!) That was it, I was not alone anymore… About a year ago I discovered ProZ.com, and I think it was the beginning of my new career.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. As we all know, marketing is a vital aspect of a freelance career. Some of us are capable of making new connections easily, finding customers by meeting people and making phone calls. But, like the majority of translators, I am an introvert. I became a member of ProZ.com, I made a profile, and I became a Certified PRO. In the beginning, nothing happened. However, after only one year, I must say that the results are very visible. I have had some interesting jobs, and I’ve acquired at least five very good clients through ProZ.com. I’ve learned a lot by listening to ProZ.com webinars, and by attending ProZ.com’s 2016 international conference in Stockholm.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. I have many plans for the future. Because of my age, I have no time to lose. I have to use all possible shortcuts and to apply the experience of seasoned translators. I am planning to attend at least two conferences every year. It is an excellent opportunity to meet other translators. And it is fun, too! I have to learn a lot, to find better clients. My dream is to create glossaries for my fields of expertise (chemistry, pharmacy, clinical trials, etc.) and my languages (Serbian – English – French – German).


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Biljana, please do so over on the blog. Like Biljana's interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Biljana Stojanovic

Biljana is an English into Serbian translator specializing in chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and engineering.

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Open Road Story #2: Marjon Pijl
Winner of an Apple Watch

The following is an interview with our second giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Marjon Pijl.


Q. What inspired your love of languages?

A. In high school I had a wonderful, enthusiastic teacher for French literature. I loved his lessons and he made me think of language in a different way. He opened my eyes to languages in general. Later, when I was a university psychology student, I took a course in Spanish, a language that I immediately started to love. I couldn’t get enough of it, and absorbed all the knowledge I could get and never stopped wanting to learn more.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a freelance translator?

A. As a freelance translator, I am free to choose the jobs that I am interested in. It makes me happy working on a project that is a challenge for my translating skills. Having to think for an hour about a sentence or even a word and finally finding exactly what I was looking for is very satisfying. Sometimes I am so absorbed in a translation project that I suddenly realize that my stomach is rumbling with hunger because I have forgotten to eat for hours. Once I read a translation after finishing it and I see that it fits in all respects, it feels like I’ve successfully conquered a tall mountain and I’m standing at the top, enjoying the view. That is what translating is about for me!

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. As a beginning translator from Spanish into Dutch, I needed to find clients. That wasn’t easy. First I worked as a volunteer for several NGOs, acquiring practical experience. Later, I was asked to work as a freelancer for a translation agency in my country. They provided me with jobs on a regular basis, which was a great start. But still, I needed more jobs. After about two years of being a ProZ.com member, new clients started to contact me via my ProZ.com profile. Nowadays I can say that I have a very satisfying number of clients in Spain, as well as in several countries in South America, thanks to ProZ.com. The positive client feedback I have received in the Willingness to Work Again section of my profile has also seemed to help me stand out to potential clients. Finally, the webinars offered by ProZ.com help me to become more and more professional in my work.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. Like the term says: the future is an open road, and that goes for me too. My principal purpose has always been and will always be to have satisfied clients. The way in which I try to achieve this is to keep getting better and trying to excel among the enormous number of translators working in my language pair and fields of specialization. In any case, feeling happy in my translation work is the best criterion of being on the right side of the Open Road.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Marjon, please do so over on the blog. Like Marjon's interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Marjon Pijl

Marjon is a Spanish to Dutch translator operating under the company name ‘Hasta Luego.’ She is also a professional psychologist, and is based in the Netherlands.

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Open Road Story #3: Mac Sharkawy
Winner of an Apple Watch

The following is an interview with our third giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Mac Sharkawy. Mac specializes in legal and financial translations and currently resides in New York City.


Q. I see from your ProZ.com profile that you specialize in accounting, finance, and law. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in these fields?

A. Well, I was a lawyer in Egypt for 12 years and worked as an arbitrator as well, and this gave me a lot of experience in legal terminology. When I moved to the United States, I switched to a career in finance, spending another 12 years in different banking positions, in finance and in financial advising within both the commercial and credit arenas.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a freelance translator?

A. With the new tools and technology in the industry now, my job is so much easier than it was before. Every day there is something new. It’s exciting to see technology advancing in such a way that makes my job easier and helps me save time, which is wonderful to have in this business. I also enjoy helping other freelancers get into the field. My goal is to take advantage of these new technological developments to outsource work to my colleagues in other countries. Right now I work closely with other freelancers in the Middle East and Latin America, which enables me to add more language pairs to what I offer as a company.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for ProZ.com I would not have gotten into translation. The site provides me with clients who are in need of my services, as well as helpful training courses and substantial discounts on CAT tools. ProZ.com has also given me a community of fellow language professionals. For example, sometimes you get stuck on a word or a phrase – you know the translation, but you’re unsure of how to phrase it in the situation – so you ask a KudoZ question. Within minutes there are people helping you and providing their opinions. It’s a unique community and I participate as much as I can. I believe ProZ.com is a great service and a really helpful platform for both freelancers and companies.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. For me, I plan to keep expanding my business and marketing myself as a freelance translator. I intend to take advantage of new training and opportunities, and to stay up-to-date on the many technological advances in the industry.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Mac, please do so over on the blog. Like Mac's interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Mac Sharkawy

Mac specializes in legal and financial translations and currently resides in New York City.

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Open Road Story #4: Nigel Greenwood
Winner of an Apple Watch

The following is an interview with our fourth giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Nigel Greenwood. Nigel is a freelance translator and interpreter working primarily in Spanish and Catalan into English. Nigel specializes in technical, engineering, legal and financial texts, and has been in the business for over thirty years. He currently resides in Valencia.


Q. I see that you’ve been working as a translator since 1984. I’m sure you’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the field during your career. How have these changes altered the nature of your work?

A. I became a full-time freelance translator after being made redundant in my last position when the company I worked for, after 10 long years, closed its doors in 2008. I was then 54 and of course I was desperate and downhearted, and was searching for a job on the Internet when I found ProZ.com. I quoted for a project and, surprise! My quote was accepted, I did the translation, sent off an invoice and surprise! I received payment. This is what convinced me. Since then, indeed, I have witnessed many changes in the translating industry. That is what caused me to become more specialized. Therefore, during my free time I studied all I could about aviation and helicopters, which has allowed me to be invited to do more interpreting work in those fields.

Q. Your profile indicates that one of your specialties is working as an in-flight interpreter for real and simulator flights. That’s incredible – how did you get into that line of work?

A. In-flight interpreting is certainly exciting and thrilling. How did I get involved? Well I am thankful to ProZ.com for this. You see, one of my first clients was a Spanish agency who found me through ProZ.com. After doing many technical translations for them, they invited me to quote for an interpreting project during a Mechanics course for helicopters. I prepared the quote and it was accepted by their client. The course -at their client’s premises in Spain- was led by a Chief Instructor from the company’s headquarters. He taught the course and all went well. At the end of this three-week course he asked me if I was available for another course, this one on avionics. I accepted and during that time he evaluated me as an interpreter. I was then invited as an interpreter at the company’s base in France. There I also worked as an interpreter for simulator courses and then, after showing my capability, I was asked to interpret in-flight courses. Their clients -mainly Latin Americans- were all very pleased with my interpretation and gave positive feedback about me. I have worked continuously with this client since 2010.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the industry?

A. Yes, I think that although there is much fierce competition, not to mention the rise of machine translation, gradually clients are seeing that quality is always better than price. In fact, I have gained more clients recently due to them coming to me to re-do another colleague’s work. Of course, we should assure we are up-to-date with all the knowledge about our specialities. Naturally, we also have to be aware of how the industry is progressing, CAT tools, etc.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. As I mentioned earlier, I found my initial, very good client through ProZ.com, and since then I’ve found enough clients to keep me busy. In fact, I very rarely quote on offers now, but I like reading some of the forum posts and seeing other viewpoints from colleagues. I feel very grateful to you all, and that is why I will always remain a member of ProZ.com. Whenever anyone asks me about my profession and how they can start as a translator, I always suggest that they have a look at ProZ.com. For me, it is the best way to start in this exciting industry.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. Well, I take this to mean that I have not yet reached my ceiling. I plan to concentrate on my interpreting work and feel that this is good for me. I see the opportunity for improving my abilities and enjoying my profession even more. Certainly my road is open and I am journeying along it to my delight, and looking forward to many years of work.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Nigel, please do so over on the blog. Like Nigel's interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Nigel Greenwood

Nigel specializes in technical, engineering, legal and financial texts, and has been in the business for over thirty years. He currently resides in Valencia.

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Open Road Story #5: Jesús Tena Ruiz
Winner of an Apple Watch

The following is an interview with our fifth giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Jesús Tena Ruiz. Jesús, after working as an interpreter, is now transitioning to a career in freelance translation. He works primarily in English to Spanish and specializes in finance, accounting, and banking.


Q. You mentioned that you used to work primarily as an interpreter, and now you are working more as a translator. How has that transition been?

A. Well, I have a background in finance, accounting and banking. I used to work in a bank and had to interpret for some of the English-speaking customers. From time to time I’ve been working as a simultaneous interpreter. Now I’m working both as a translator and as an interpreter, about half and half, and in the near future I expect to work more as a translator.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. Helping others is always rewarding, even when it’s simply when they need an interpreter to work face to face with them while they complete paperwork. But when I really “feel good” is when I interpret at a doctor’s office or a hospital appointment. There you can see the effect on your customer: they feel more relaxed to have someone there with them so that they can fully understand what is going on.

Translating documents is also fulfilling, but in a different way. It’s a mental challenge to give the best of your language knowledge, to convey the full meaning and “flavor” of the source. You are always learning something new.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. Using KudoZ is always helpful for me, and the questions often contain lively discussions. The ability to check a Blue Board record to evaluate a new client is also vital for me, as this allows me to read feedback that others have left about them. I also read the articles and forums on ProZ.com for helpful advice and comments from other translators.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. My next step as an interpreter is to practice, practice, practice. My goal is to improve my skills as a simultaneous translator. My next step as a translator is to to learn how to use several CAT tools, diversify my skills, and be available for different outsourcers.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Jesús, please do so over on the blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Jesús Tena Ruiz

Jesús works primarily in English to Spanish and specializes in finance, accounting, and banking.

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Open Road Story #6: Janos Barna
Winner of an Apple Watch

This time we feature Janos Barna, a German to Hungarian translator and a long-standing member of ProZ.com. He answers our questions here in German, and is the sixth giveaway winner of an Apple Watch.


Q. Ich habe gesehen, dass Sie seit zehn Jahren bei ProZ.com sind. Danke für Ihre Unterstützung unserer Website! Welche Veränderungen haben Sie in diesem Zeitraum in der Branche wahrgenommen? Sind Sie optimistisch in Bezug auf die Zukunft dieses Berufs?

A. Vor zehn Jahren habe ich praktisch ohne Ausnahme alle Übersetzungen ohne CAT-Tools angefertigt, was heutzutage kaum vorstellbar ist. Zur Zeit verwende ich fünf CAT-Tools, weil es viele Auftraggeber gibt, die nur mit ihrem eigenen CAT-Tool arbeiten.

Hinsichtlich der Zukunft bin ich optimistisch, ich wollte schon immer Übersetzer und Dolmetscher werden und in der Zukunft möchte ich nach wie vor als Freiberufler arbeiten.

Q. Welches war der erfüllendste Aspekt Ihrer Karriere?

A. Das Beste ist, dass ich sehr oft Texte übersetze oder eben dolmetsche, die wirklich die neuesten Dinge beschreiben. Neue Technologien, neue Ideen, neue Lösungen, neue Produkte usw. die in meinem Land bisher unbekannt, bzw. nur für wenige Leute bekannt waren. Das hat aber auch oft zur Folge, dass ich Ausdrücke übersetzen muss, die in den Wörterbüchern nicht zu finden sind und bei denen ich lange recherchieren muss. Aber das ist das Schöne an der Übersetzung!

Q. Hat Ihnen Ihre Mitgliedschaft bei ProZ.com geholfen, Ihre Ziele als Freiberufler zu erreichen?

A. Wie gesagt, ich wollte schon immer Übersetzer und Dolmetscher werden. Als ich die Ausbildung zum Fachübersetzer und Dolmetscher absolviert habe, habe ich mich sofort selbstständig gemacht. Damals hat mein Kollege an der Universität zu mir gesagt, dass es für mich eventuell vorteilhaft sein könnte, einmal in eine ProZ-Mitgliedschaft zu investieren. Wer weiß, vielleicht lohnt es sich! In den ersten zwei Monaten habe ich leider keinen Auftrag erhalten. Aber nach zwei Monaten, im Dezember 2006 habe ich einen großen Auftrag erhalten. Der Auftraggeber war später mit mir sehr zufrieden, wollte mit mir langfristig zusammenarbeiten und dadurch ist es mir gelungen, in dieser Branche Fuß zu fassen. In den letzten zehn Jahren haben mich sehr viele Auftraggeber über ProZ.com gefunden und ich habe nicht nur einmal, sondern bisher elfmal in die ProZ-Mitgliedschaft investiert.

Q. Das Thema dieser Kampagne ist „The Open Road“. Was streben Sie in Ihrer Karriere als nächstes an?

A. Als Übersetzer und Dolmetscher bin ich immer bereit, mich weiterzubilden. Ferner versuche ich nach wie vor meine Geschäftsbeziehungen zu vertiefen bzw. zu erweitern.


Translation of questions into German provided thanks to ProZ.com’s German localization team.

If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Janos, please do so over on the blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Janos Barna

Janos, a German to Hungarian translator, at his (impeccable!) workstation.

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Open Road Story #7: Michelle Komura
Winner of an Apple Watch

This is the seventh post in ProZ.com’s Open Road interview series in celebration of the site’s year-end membership campaign.

Today we feature Japanese to English translator Michelle Komura. Michelle is a part-time freelance translator, a role that she balances along with studying and being a mother of three small children. She currently resides in Australia after having spent over a decade in Japan.


Q. How long have you been working as a translator, and what kind of changes have you noticed in your work during the course of your career?

A. I have been translating for over fifteen years, with varying levels of productivity. While I can’t comment on the industry as a whole, personally, I am delighted with the technological advances which have allowed me the mobility and flexibility to work anywhere, anytime. For working mothers such as myself, the ability to take my laptop or tablet with me when I meet clients or work away from my home office is fantastic, and definitely increases my productivity Sometimes, I just leave the kids with a babysitter and go off to translate in a café of my choice!

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the translation industry?

A. I am most certainly optimistic about the future of the industry, especially given the increasingly sophisticated technology available. As mentioned above, it continues to provide great opportunities for working on the go, and while machine translation (MT) could be presumed to spell doom for translators, I think it actually serves to show what a valuable resource talented language professionals are. The ubiquity of MT means that everyone has had the experience of having to muddle through a poor, inaccurate translation at some point. That experience should prompt one to insist upon quality translation.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. Being a language professional is rewarding in many ways, both personally and professionally, however perhaps the most fulfilling aspect is the opportunity to add to the collective knowledge base through translation. That is to say, being involved in the transmission of ideas, creating understanding and exposure through application of my skills is both greatly satisfying and motivational.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. For me, ProZ.com is a virtual workplace, a great place to confer with colleagues, as well as a source of work projects. Although I have only recently become a full member, I have already profited from the expertise of the ProZ.com team and the informative discussions in the forums. I look forward to continuing to learn from everyone here.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. In the short term, I am looking to maintain a steady stream of projects in my current proficiencies, while working toward my graduation in October. My long term aim is to build on my linguistics background and current psychological science studies to transition to a biopsychology specialization.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Michelle, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Michelle Komura

A Japanese to English translator residing in Australia.

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Open Road Story #8: Jacqueline Lamb
Winner of an Apple Watch

Welcome to the eighth post in the Open Road interview series! Today's interview is with Jacqueline Lamb – a freelance translator working from Spanish, French, and Catalan into English. Jacqueline specializes in medical and pharmaceutical translations, particularly clinical trial documentation and medical journal articles. Originally from the UK, Jacqueline is now based in Barcelona.


Q. I understand that you frequently attend conferences and events for translators, both online and in-person. Is networking with other language professionals a priority for you? If so, how has this helped you in your business?

A. Networking has helped me in several ways. First of all, as a freelancer who works from home, I think it is very important to get out and exchange ideas and experiences with others in a similar position. You can learn a lot from your peers, and it is also a good way to find out what you do well and identify areas for improvement.

Secondly, I have had clients referred to me through fellow translators I have met at events, and I have also been able to refer some of my clients to others for jobs that are outside my areas of specialisation or language combinations.

Finally, attending conferences with high-quality content is definitely a priority for me. Not only are such events an opportunity to learn from people who are at the top of their game, but they also give you something to aspire to and work towards. Such opportunities just aren’t possible if you never leave your office.

Q. I see that, in addition to having a profile on ProZ.com, you also market your services on your own professional website, as well as on other online portals. How important is it for you to have a strong professional online presence?

A. In a profession such as ours, where virtually everything takes place online, it can be difficult for clients to know who to trust with their documents when all they have is a person’s name. I think that being a member of different associations and having a personalised email account and website help set you apart from the crowd, improve your credibility and show clients that you are committed to the profession. My online presence is very much a work in progress at the minute (as you’ll have seen by my rather basic website!) but it’s on my to-do list for next year!

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. It may sound like a cliché, but the most fulfilling aspect for me is that I am able do a job I enjoy every day. It is extremely satisfying to use the knowledge and skills I learned at university on a daily basis, and I thoroughly enjoy keeping up-to-date with my source languages, as well as the latest developments in the industry.

A more specific example of a fulfilling aspect of my job would be my work in translating articles for publication in medical journals, as well as revisions of articles written in English by non-native speakers. Despite having something important to contribute to their field, non-native authors often have their work rejected by journals due to an unacceptable level of English. It is always satisfying when an article I worked on is published, as I have played a part in making the information available to a much wider audience.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. I initially registered with ProZ.com when I was working in-house and became a full member in 2014 when I started freelancing. Since becoming a full member, I have worked on many jobs for people who have contacted me through my ProZ profile and some of them have become regular clients. I’ve done some interesting training webinars and videos (and look forward to doing even more from the new Plus membership library) and have attended several of the online conferences, as well as a few Powwows with fellow translators in Barcelona. Being a member has definitely been a worthwhile investment as far as I’m concerned.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. Personally I want to continue specialising further in the area of medical translation and would like to become involved in medical writing at some point down the road. The exciting thing about our profession is that it is constantly evolving and there are always other avenues to be explored, be it a new area of specialisation, branching out into related services such as subtitling or copywriting, or becoming involved in training and mentoring new translators. Your career is what you make it, and I am looking forward to finding out what the future holds.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Jacqueline, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Jacqueline Lamb

Jacqueline Lamb in her home office in Barcelona.

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Open Road Story #9: Govind Ayer
Winner of an Apple Watch

Meet Govind Ayer: An English to Nepali translator and the ninth Apple Watch winner as part of ProZ.com’s campaign giveaway series in celebration of the site’s Plus package release.


Q. How do you cope with the isolated nature of being a freelance translator?

A. It has been one year since I started as a freelance translator. Earlier, I worked for a private translation agency for 2 years. I didn’t feel isolated while working as an in-house translator. When I started as a freelancer, I sometimes felt isolated with no one around me to discuss the work. But, I found many ways to feel accompanied. I spent some time with my family, joined an online community and took part in various social activities. For me, the most important thing to do to get rid of the feeling of isolation is to do what makes you happy.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. For me, translation is an important study and profession. You are always increasing your level of knowledge and skill. Being specific, I love to translate any documents for unskilled and semi-skilled labors, especially those relating to their safety and facilities available to them. Because thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled people from my country go abroad to work. I feel good when I can serve them. It is challenging to translate the documents to their level of understanding. It also gives me an opportunity to give my best and build up a better relationship with the client.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. It is ProZ.com which helped me to understand the translation industry. Without the help of ProZ.com, it would be impossible for me to get involved in the translation. The site has provided me with a platform to find good clients and discuss things with my peers. I want to thank ProZ.com for this exceptional support.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. ProZ.com has provided me with many regular clients and now I rarely bid on new jobs. In this way, there is still a possibility to have more good clients. Obviously, I intend to expand my business. I have decided to move forward together with ProZ.com.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Govind, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Govind Ayer

Govind Ayer at his workstation in Kathmandu

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Open Road Story #10: Stéphanie Boufferet
Winner of an Apple Watch

A long-standing member of ProZ.com, Stéphanie Boufferet is a freelance translator working in Spanish to French from her home in Spain.


Q. I see that you are a member of Asetrad. In your opinion, how important is it for translators to join professional associations? Has being a member of Asetrad benefited your career in any way?

A. I think that is very important for a translator to join a professional association. As freelancers, we are working alone at home. An association is very helpful to get in touch with your colleagues if you don’t want to be isolated. Asetrad gave me the opportunity to meet other translators, to exchange ideas, know-how, resources and legal queries through the forum and to access high quality publications like La Linterna del Traductor. As a member of Asetrad, I must scrupulously respect the association’s Code of Conduct, which asks us for instance to respect confidential information, to refuse “assignments that we are not qualified to undertake or for which we cannot ensure optimum quality” and to only accept “remuneration that enables them to practise their profession efficiently and with dignity”. For our clients, it is a real pledge of quality.

Q. As a freelancer, how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

A. My two Yorkshire terriers are helping me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I need to take them for a walk several times a day! More seriously, scheduling is very important to avoid stressing about deadlines. I always aim to prioritise and remain disciplined. With your translations, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. As a result, you will be available to work under pressure for urgent assignments that the client needs as soon as possible. However, on the other hand, we must free up time to develop new skills, such as learning how to use a CAT or an OCR tool better. It’s also important to specialise in one field to improve our productivity, which is key. Finally, I think that the Roman phrase Mens sana in corpore sano is still relevant for a freelancer. In my day-to-day routine, Zumba classes or one hour of swimming are not-to-be-missed engagements. I sadly saw how some excellent translators and interpreters suffered from burn-outs and heart attacks last year.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. I love my job. I do really enjoy what I do and I think that’s a real privilege nowadays. In fact, I always dreamed of a career related to foreign languages. I was raised in a multicultural family with American and German cousins, with strong links with Spain. My grandfather passed on to me his passion for foreign languages. He learnt Spanish by talking to Republican refugees of the Spanish Civil War and with the help of a newspaper subscription. He spoke several languages and came to his mind to learn Italian at the age of 78 by making some crosswords during his recovery from a surgical intervention. My clients’ satisfaction and the feeling that the translations I’m doing are useful, such as a medical report or a cover letter for a job interview, are also important and rewarding aspects. Translating gives me the opportunity to learn something new each day, to stay in touch with current ideas, topics and trends and to improve my language skills.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. From the beginning, ProZ.com membership has been crucial as I obtained all my principal clients through the site. Being a member of ProZ.com also gave me a substantial discount on my Trados versions. The Blue Board database is very important as well to avoid dealing with non-professional translators or agencies, and forums, webinars and conferences are very useful. Furthermore, I previously mentioned the importance of Asetrad membership, and similarly, ProZ.com is a very valuable tool to stay in touch with other translators. Through ProZ.com, I met professional translators such as Marta Pino, a sworn and literary translator, and Barbara Beatrice Lavitola, the charismatic entrepreneur and CEO of BBLTranslation. For me, these were two very rewarding learning experiences.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. It’s difficult to predict the future. I would like to keep enjoying what I’m doing and keep trying to exceed my clients’ expectations by delivering first-class translations.

As we are driving on an open road, I would like to chart my own course. To achieve this, I would like to take a Masters in audiovisual and multimedia translation, with dubbing, subtitling, subtitling for the deaf, audio description, multimedia and video game translations. Video is not going to “kill” written text, but it will have a growing place in our society. Translators must be ready and trained for that.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Stéphanie, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Stéphanie Boufferet

When not walking her two Yorkshire terriers, you can find Stéphanie in her home office in northern Spain.

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Open Road Story #11: William Green
Winner of an Apple Watch

William Green is a Chinese to English freelance translator based in Melbourne, Australia. The story of his translation career is featured here because he won an Apple Watch in ProZ.com’s year-end campaign giveaway.


Q. Your website indicates that you work as part of a team – could you elaborate on that? What are some advantages to working in a team as opposed to working as an individual?

A. I used to work with others a lot more when I started out as a translator. I had an office job and did translation on the side. Having another job meant that doing the work with others and splitting the proceeds was my best option.

The amount of translation work I receive has increased over the years and so I left my office job last year to focus on translation full-time. I’ve been working less with others since then, although I still work quite a bit with my partner (she is Chinese, but has lived in Australia since middle school). There are occasions where the project is exceptionally large and then I will try to find other people.

One big advantage to working in a team is that you can accept a much larger quantity of work. Another major advantage is having someone to ask if you don’t understand something in the other language.

Q. What are your favorite types of projects to work on?

A. Probably finance and video games.

I grew up playing video games and so I find it generally to be quite familiar and/or easy work. It also tends to come in large batches which is generally a good thing. There’s a lot of transcreation involved in game dialogue which can be quite fun as well.

In terms of finance, I have a bit of background knowledge in finance and read a lot of finance news in my free time as I find it very interesting. It’s a field where you need a fair bit of extra knowledge to do it well, which is always a plus when finding work and setting rates.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the translation industry?

A. I think that robotics and computers will certainly be replacing a lot of white and blue collar jobs in the future, but I am more optimistic about the translation industry than for a lot of other fields.

Even if translation software significantly improves, I think that you will still need to hire people to edit whatever the computer produces. So I think the main difference in that future translation industry will be that translators will get a boost in the number of words they can translate every day but their specialized skills will still be necessary to ensure the translation is accurate. That is still quite a difficult job.

I believe this is still a long way down the line and that there isn’t too much to worry about just yet. At the moment, I don’t think e.g. Google Translate is good enough to actually use in this way, at least for CN>EN.

I doubt that translation software can get a lot better without a major advance in artificial intelligence because at some point you actually need to know what the words mean.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. ProZ.com has a really great jobs board and the Blue Board is very useful for checking whether an agency or client will be reliable.

I think you need to be careful and intelligent about how you go about applying and who you work with. I have run into some dodgy agencies. But overall it is a fantastic opportunity to start work as a translator. It will help you get your foot in the door. Whether or not you can turn that opportunity into something more depends on whether you can keep your clients/agency clients coming back. That’s up to you.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. My main focus at the moment in terms of doing something new or exciting in translation is in incorporating more technology into the job.

This includes getting better at CAT tools, building better term databases, and also finding new ways to translate which make the work itself much easier.

For example, if you don’t want to look at a computer screen, you can always print the original text and then record yourself speaking the English. High quality audio transcription software can do a really good job at putting your recording into words. That means you don’t have to type a lot and that means less strain on your body if it’s a huge job.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask William, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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William Green

"My main focus at the moment in terms of doing something new or exciting in translation is in incorporating more technology into the job."

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Open Road Story #12: Gudrun Dauner
Winner of an Apple Watch

Gudrun Dauner is a freelance translator based in both Philadelphia and Munich. A native German speaker, she translates primarily from English and Italian into German and specializes in the field of art history.


Q. How did you initially start working as a translator?

A. I was always fascinated by foreign languages and cultures, and so parallel to my studies in art history in Germany I enrolled in language programs in other countries, mostly in Italy. After finishing my Ph.D. I worked on Italian Renaissance drawings at the State Graphic Arts Collection in Munich and then curated an exhibition on the same topic for the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia. While attending the opening of this exhibition I learned that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington, DC was looking for German translators to work on an encyclopedia. I worked for a few months on that project and found I loved it for two main reasons. First, I was glad to have a chance to put my language skills to productive use. Second, translating for publications is in essence what I did for many years as an art historian: looking for the best possible way to express a concept. So in a way, it was by chance that I started working as a translator back in 2005, but it “clicked” very quickly. In spring 2006, I registered at ProZ.com, which helped me build up a loyal client base in my field.

Q. From the details in your ProZ.com profile it looks like you have worked on some very interesting projects. Which one was your favorite?

A. It is hard to pick one favorite project, but in general I enjoy working on long-term projects, where I can learn a lot about a subject of interest to me in the course of translating the source text and sometimes even get the chance to write entries or essays. Over the past few years I have translated a lot on art glass, starting with “The Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass 2014” for the Veste Coburg. This project led to the collaboration with a private collection in Hamburg, the Barbara Achilles Stiftung. The first volume of their collection catalogue was published in 2016 and we are now preparing the second volume. This is the first time I have translated the entire text for a two-volume publication from German into English. I guess that fact, in addition to my fascination with the subject, makes it probably the most challenging and rewarding project I have worked on so far.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?

A. I find it especially fulfilling that I get to do on a daily basis that which I enjoy doing: working with languages. Since I spend most of the year in Philadelphia, translating keeps me connected with my native German, and also helps me feel close to home when I am away. Translating is work that forces you to evolve and grow every day. You have to stay up-to-date with the languages (English, German, and Italian in my case), the technology, and also with the scientific developments in the field(s) of expertise. I find the more I translate, the more this happens practically automatically.

I also appreciate the flexibility that comes with working as a freelance translator. You can plan your overall schedule and each individual day yourself, and you can work from wherever you are. It doesn’t matter if I am in my office in Philadelphia, or at my other home in Munich. This gives me the feeling of freedom that I need to thrive.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. Becoming a translator was a career change for me, even if it was a smooth transition where one step led to another. From the beginning, ProZ.com was the most important resource for finding clients. When I started as a translator, I translated a broader range of topics, such as financial, legal and medical documents. Based in the US, I was often translating into German under tight deadlines, sending the documents at 3 am so that my clients in Europe would have the translation at the beginning of their business day. As I built my reputation, I was able to focus more and more on my field of expertise and get away from the overnight jobs. Now I translate almost exclusively for art galleries, museums, editors, university professors and tourism agencies. Many of the clients I work with on a regular basis found me on ProZ.com, ranging from a philosophy professor in Florida who writes on Hegel to an art gallery in Switzerland. In fact, several of my clients I have not met in person – ProZ.com is our meeting place. My membership continues to pay dividends by giving me access to interesting clients all over the world.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. I am very happy as things are right now. I have a five-year old son, and when he was little it was difficult to find a work-life balance. Now that he goes to kindergarten and becomes more and more independent, I am able to take on larger projects and still feel confident that I can deliver high quality in relatively short time frames. If anything, my plan for the future is to tackle more of these large projects.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Gudrun, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Gudrun Dauner

Gudrun at her home office in Munich.

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Open Road Story #13: Frederique Griffith
Winner of an Apple Watch

Frederique Griffith is a certified medical interpreter working in French to English and vice versa. She currently resides in Saint Louis, Missouri.


Q. Your profile indicates that you’re a medical interpreter. What do you find more rewarding – translating or interpreting?

A. I have been interpreting for several years now and really enjoy it. People are very grateful for the service provided. Whether they are filling out a form, seeing a doctor or interviewing for immigration, it is always reassuring to foreigners to have someone next to them who understands them. It is a pleasure to help people communicate that way. Translation is different as I don’t interact with people directly.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the language industry?

A. I am optimistic because people are traveling, moving and doing business across borders more and more easily and will always need quality work done in translation. Machine translation is far from being the equal of human work. Quality is important and cannot be attained cutting corners and using machines.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. I have learned quite a bit from ProZ.com. I have listened to several webinars, purchased a software at the group price, consulted the Blue Board to check on possible jobs and used the terminology glossary site quite a bit. Seeing and reading my colleagues’s viewpoints in the discussion forums is also very helpful.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. I hope to do a little more translating as I transition from interpreting, where I spend a lot of time driving to and from appointments. Over the Phone and Video Interpreting also allow me to cut back on travel time. I enjoy the challenge that represents the translation of a document. I plan on increasing my knowledge of CAT tools and taking advantage of the online library available to ProZ.com members.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Frederique, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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Frederique Griffith

Frederique Griffith working from her home in Saint Louis, Missouri.

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Open Road Story #14: Carl Brunet
Winner of an Apple Watch

Carl Brunet Carl is a translator working in English and French, specializing in international relations, trade, marketing, environment, and finance, among other fields. He currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.


Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the language industry?

A. I’m optimistic in that people will always increasingly want to communicate and so there is a role for language professionals, but sometimes technology is imposed upon us and does not make the job necessarily easier.

Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your career as a freelance translator?

A. Having the freedom to call the shots, work as much as I want, where and when I want to. I’m currently on holiday in France.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?

A. I have found some interesting jobs on the platform, gained valuable experience with some of the largest companies in the world and it is motivating to see so much work available if I want it.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

A. I want to keep going down the path I’ve chosen, building my business and work on marketing myself better now that I’ve gained greater experience working for a huge variety of public and private sector clients.


If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask Carl, please do so over on the ProZ.com blog. Like this interview? Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Carl Brunet

Carl is a translator working in English and French, specializing in international relations, trade, marketing, environment, and finance, among other fields.

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Open Road Story #15: Eszter Lelik (Coming Soon!)
Winner of a Nissan Juke!

This contest has ended:
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An Apple Watch Every Friday
1 weekly winner | up to $300 value | Until Dec. 31, 2016

Twelve lucky ProZ.com members can:

  • Win a brand new Series 2 Apple Watch
  • Have the prize sent to you anywhere in the world
  • Choose a similar product by your favorite maker
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This contest has ended:
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Grand Prize
1 winner | $25,000 value | Ends Dec. 31, 2016

One lucky ProZ.com member:

  • Will win a brand new Nissan Juke
  • Can purchase the car in the winner's country of legal residence
  • Can choose any car of similar value instead.
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Good luck!

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