@foundintransl | 22 Aug 2018
Hi, my name is Caitlin! I’m a French to English translator specializing in the Tourism & Travel industry. Essentially, I help tourism companies reach a wider audience.
I was working in-house at a translation agency in France but decided to move back to the UK. As there are not many in-house positions for translators translating into English in the UK, freelancing was the natural choice. As a freelancer, there is much more variety than when you work in-house and you have more say as to what work you take. However, freelance work is often a “full-time” job and sometimes involves long and unsociable hours to meet deadlines.
As I’m relatively new to the translation field and to freelancing, I follow quite a few translators, agencies and associations to get tips, advice and information. In particular, I’d recommend @translationtalk which is curated by a different professional translator or interpreter each week, @Tesstranslates and @corinnemckay for webinars and advice. It is also very important to follow accounts in your source language and accounts related to your specialisms. For example, I follow French tourist offices, French news sites and sustainable tourism accounts to stay up to date with what is happening in France and the tourism industry.
There is a lot of information online about how to set yourself up as a freelancer and it is quite overwhelming at first. Once you’ve gotten over the first hurdle of setting yourself up with HMRC, the next challenge is getting a stable client base. You have to contact a lot of translation agencies and direct clients before you get any work and often you don’t get replies. This can be very demoralizing, but you have to stick with it.
When starting in the translation industry, there is also the age-old problem of needing experience to get a job and needing a job to get experience. I started out volunteering through Translators for Progress to gain experience by translating for NGOs for free.
I set myself up at the end of October 2017 and, touch wood, have been quite lucky so far. Although it may be tempting to say ‘yes’ to every job at the beginning, it’s important to only do jobs that you’re comfortable that you can handle properly and professionally. Make sure you know the subject, can meet the deadline and it fits with your workload.
Although marketing yourself and contacting clients can be demoralizing, stick with it – remember that you are offering a service, focus on why they need you, not on why you need them!
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