What is the most useful CPD course to do?
Thread poster: A. Deb

A. Deb  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 3, 2019

Hi

I've been working as a professional translator for over 23 years. I worked in-house as a technical translator and the translation project manager for the marketing department of an engineering company for most of that time so I have a lot of expertise in that area.

Two years ago, the new CEO decided to restructure the company and replaced me with Google Translate and I was made redundant. Having worked all my life, it came as a huge shock and I took a career brea
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Hi

I've been working as a professional translator for over 23 years. I worked in-house as a technical translator and the translation project manager for the marketing department of an engineering company for most of that time so I have a lot of expertise in that area.

Two years ago, the new CEO decided to restructure the company and replaced me with Google Translate and I was made redundant. Having worked all my life, it came as a huge shock and I took a career break for a while.

I started out as a freelancer in the very early days of my career but I have discovered that the world has truly changed and that freelancers earn a lot less now than they used to as we now compete with worldwide rates. Added to that, I need to find a job that I can do from home due to my family situation (I worked remotely when I was employed at the company). Despite my huge project portfolio, I just can't seem to compete with the current rates. I love my work but I have come to realise that I need to diversify if I am to earn a living.

So now to my question, what would be the most useful CPD training to look into? I thought about transcription or audio typing to complement my skills. I have experience in the latter from my temping days during college but no piece of paper to accredit it. I've also thought about localisation, transcreation, copywriting, editing or proofreading but not sure which are most in demand and which will get me earning again most quickly.

The last qualification I did was my Masters in Translation and Interpreting and since then, I really didn't have the time to do take any other courses because of my workload and family commitments and frankly because I didn't need to. Starting from zero after 23 years is really hard so I'd appreciate any advice as to how to reinvent myself and any courses you'd recommend.

Thanks for your help.
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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:26
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
ITI's AFT course? Jul 3, 2019

Hi Anita,

Sorry to hear you are struggling, it is indeed a competitive marketplace out there. What strikes me when I look at your profile is that although you have many years of experience in an engineering company you would never know this from reading your intro. So I think you could definitely be selling yourself better.

So maybe what you actually need is a copywriting or marketing course that helps you differentiate yourself from other translators and consider how
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Hi Anita,

Sorry to hear you are struggling, it is indeed a competitive marketplace out there. What strikes me when I look at your profile is that although you have many years of experience in an engineering company you would never know this from reading your intro. So I think you could definitely be selling yourself better.

So maybe what you actually need is a copywriting or marketing course that helps you differentiate yourself from other translators and consider how to reach better-paying markets. With your background, you should have a wealth of specialised knowledge already.

How about the ITI's 'Advancing your Freelance Translation Career (AFT)'? This says it is "Aimed at translators who have been freelancing for some time and want to focus on finding premium work with high-quality agencies and direct clients. Discover how to identify your differences to give you a competitive advantage. Define your ideal client base and learn how to fine tune your sales techniques. Uncover new ways to build and maintain customer relationships. Having learnt the theory from the experts, you will then go on to test your ability in a live situation, being given the opportunity to pitch yourself directly to an actual client."

I've not done it, but it sounds like it might be what you need.

Rachel
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Christine Andersen
Paulinho Fonseca
A. Deb
IanDhu
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Courses on marketing and/or market positioning? Jul 3, 2019

A. Deb wrote:
Two years ago, the new CEO decided to restructure the company and replaced me with Google Translate and I was made redundant.

Ouch! That must have hurt.

I started out as a freelancer in the very early days of my career but I have discovered that the world has truly changed and that freelancers earn a lot less now than they used to as we now compete with worldwide rates.

I believe this change will be at the root of your problem. Yes, life is tough at the moment, but there's a lot of damage limitation that can be done. You had a very straightforward life for many years: one "client" who provided you with all the work you needed at a guaranteed rate! That's cushy! Mind you, you had to produce whatever the boss wanted: any subject matter, reverse pair, etc., so you had to learn to be versatile.

Today's freelance world is entirely - 100% - different. We're competing with translators around the entire world. We can't possibly compete with them all on price. Particularly not in the world's commonest pairs. So specialisation is key. We need to position ourselves as experts, and market ourselves solely for what we do supremely well. Then we can charge for that expertise, our extra value.

Despite my huge project portfolio, I just can't seem to compete with the current rates. I love my work but I have come to realise that I need to diversify if I am to earn a living.

Diversify by all means, it's certainly got some advantages. But first maybe consider whether things couldn't be better on the translation front. According to your CV and your profile, you're very much a generalist. There's a lot for clients to read, but not much they can zoom in on. They need to say "Ah yes, this is the translator I need for my text!".

So now to my question, what would be the most useful CPD training to look into? I thought about transcription or audio typing to complement my skills.

There's certainly a vast amount of transcription work around if the job board at ProZ.com is anything to go by. But it's a job that demands much less in the way of skills than translation, so the rate is abysmal. And if a job is labelled as "X to Y transcription" then you're guaranteed an appalling rate per hour as the client tries to sneak in a translation for free .

I've also thought about localisation, transcreation, copywriting, editing or proofreading but not sure which are most in demand and which will get me earning again most quickly.

You've missed out the most important question, IMHO: which one(s) would you be really, really good at? Anyone can do those courses, but not everyone is capable of excelling at each of the jobs. Transcreation and copywriting in particular need some innate skills and abilities. Actually, wouldn't EFL teaching make more sense? I see you're already qualified and I know there's a vast market here in Spain.

Before you throw an enormous amount of time and money at training to enter other market areas, I advise you to concentrate for a while on learning how to best position yourself in the translation market. It might just do the trick.


Rachel Waddington
Paulinho Fonseca
Peter Shortall
Teresa Borges
Philippe Etienne
Jorge Payan
A. Deb
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:26
Member (2018)
French to English
. Jul 4, 2019

Joining Sheila in the commiserations, it must be terrible to be replaced by robots! I wonder how long it will take for them to regret that decision...

A fairly similar thing happened to me, I was made redundant after 19 years of service. However I had been planning to freelance for years, keeping in contact with all colleagues past and present on LinkedIn, and this proved to be a great blessing, at least 70% of my work has come from people who I sent a quick message to on LinkedIn.
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Joining Sheila in the commiserations, it must be terrible to be replaced by robots! I wonder how long it will take for them to regret that decision...

A fairly similar thing happened to me, I was made redundant after 19 years of service. However I had been planning to freelance for years, keeping in contact with all colleagues past and present on LinkedIn, and this proved to be a great blessing, at least 70% of my work has come from people who I sent a quick message to on LinkedIn.

I suppose since I was at an agency I was able to make great contacts. Many of my ex-colleagues are now at other, better agencies. More than for you working for a "direct client" as it were. However, you have 23 years' experience in their field and you surely would be able to find other people in the same field who could well have translation needs? And there are probably loads of other fields that are similar enough for you to adapt easily? I imagine if you can do one kind of engineering, the learning curve for another type of engineering won't be so steep for you as for me, since I deal in frothier stuff like art and music and fashion. Hunt out agencies specialising in your subjects, because good translators who know their stuff in engineering are pretty hard to come by!

Who knows one might one day ask you to PEMT for your former boss (and you can double your rate at that point, because after all you are uniquely positioned to do the best possible job).
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Sheila Wilson
Rachel Waddington
Philippe Etienne
A. Deb
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:26
Member (2018)
French to English
. Jul 4, 2019

oh and there are loads of freebie courses you can check out right here on Proz.

A. Deb
IanDhu
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
English to French
Diagnostic in haste? Jul 5, 2019

I doubt that the ROI of any course make any difference to your 23 years in a specific field. As already stated by my esteemed colleagues, I'd rather reflect on how to market myself and target the right client pool. You can command high rates with clients who value your work, and agencies telling you that 0.08 is the going rate are not the ones you want to work with.

That said, finding the right client base is a long process and you must be very proactive to achieve some semblance of
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I doubt that the ROI of any course make any difference to your 23 years in a specific field. As already stated by my esteemed colleagues, I'd rather reflect on how to market myself and target the right client pool. You can command high rates with clients who value your work, and agencies telling you that 0.08 is the going rate are not the ones you want to work with.

That said, finding the right client base is a long process and you must be very proactive to achieve some semblance of full-time activity. Common language combinations tend to be drowned in the noise.

Nowadays, "transcreation" of running texts (slogans and catch phrases aside) is the concept that sells and makes you stand out from PEMT. Consider it as "translation that doesn't read like translation", to the eyes of a professional translator in particular. TAUS explain it on pages and pages with graphics, tables and bullet points to make it complicated. But what's complicated is to find translators who actually can "write" better than machines: brochures, presentations, e-mails, and more generally any customer-facing material. I assume you have all the expertise needed in your field to convey exactly the intent while maintaining a critical view of the style and flow of your translations.

Philippe
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Sheila Wilson
A. Deb
IanDhu
 

A. Deb  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your input Rachel. Jul 14, 2019

Hi Rachel

Thanks for taking the time to read my profile and reply to my post. I've taken on board what you suggest and definitely agree that I need to work on my profile. I have tried to make more of my experience in my intro and will continue to tweak it.

The course you mentioned looks really interesting and maybe one for the future.

Thank you again.

Anita


 

A. Deb  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great food for thought Jul 14, 2019

Hi Sheila

Thank you very much for taking to reply in so much detail. It has been really useful reading your comments. From what you and others have said, my expertise and experience should still be valuable to the right clients. It's obvious that I need to focus on revamping my CV and profile and on how to reach those clients before I do anything else.

Thanks again.

Anita


 

A. Deb  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Kay Jul 14, 2019

Thanks Kay for taking the tiime to reply. It's reassuring to know that people who have been in a similar situation to me have managed to become successful freelancers in today's competitive world. There is still hope!

Anita


 

A. Deb  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wise words Philippe Jul 14, 2019

Thank you Philippe for taking the time to reply. It is really encouraging to know that it is possible to be offered work for more than 0.05 euros a word. I was really beginning to think that my experience wasn't valued in today's world of translation. All the advice given seems to point towards improving my marketing skills and profile so that's what I will focus on. I've started by re-writing my profile but maybe need to find a course on how to write the best profile to start with.
... See more
Thank you Philippe for taking the time to reply. It is really encouraging to know that it is possible to be offered work for more than 0.05 euros a word. I was really beginning to think that my experience wasn't valued in today's world of translation. All the advice given seems to point towards improving my marketing skills and profile so that's what I will focus on. I've started by re-writing my profile but maybe need to find a course on how to write the best profile to start with.

Thanks again.

Anita
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