Translating while Travelling
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June 28, 2009
The nature of the translation profession lends itself to the mobility of its practitioners, given the blend of electronic communication and the fact that translation today can be completed anywhere with the use of a computer. This article provides a checklist that will assist translators that travel in maintaining their business operations while away from home.
1. Ensure that you will be able to have access to a reliable computer and a reliable Internet connection where you will be staying. In some countries where the Internet is still not available in the public arena, connections may be slow or intermittent. Check ahead to see if the Internet connection speed will suffice in order to upload and/or download documents.
2. If you are expecting projects or are in the middle of working on one, advise the client and/or agency that you will be travelling during a particular time period, and will continue to work within all previously agreed upon deadlines. Not only does this show that you are responsible in organizing your translation work, but it also puts the client and/or agency on notice that there may be an unexpected delay in receiving a response from you.
3. Make a point of advising your current and prospective clients if you cannot check e-mail everyday. Provide them with alternative contact information, or let them know when you will be online.
4. Continue to market your translation specialties to prospective clients by setting up auto-responders that will give recipients the right impression that you are still working, even though you may not be at your computer or phone during regular business hours. For all absences, a vacation auto-responder is useful in advising others of your reduced hours of operation or vacation closures of your business.
5. Travelling to another city even in your own province or state can stimulate new ideas in terms of marketing yourself and your translation services. Keep an open mind as you mix with other people and industries. Oftentimes new concepts regarding different translation specialties to consider arise when faced with a novel situation.
6. If you are travelling to an area where one of your working languages is spoken, try to use that immersion opportunity as professional development. It may take some effort if your schedule does not permit much free time, especially free time, but the “mini-immersion” experience can be invaluable for improving language skills.
7. Remember to pack any electronic or hard copy language aids and equipment that you normally use while translating. This may include:
• Bilingual dictionaries
• Monolingual dictionaries
• Flash drive
• Lap top
• Portable printer
• Reference materials (depending on subject matter)
8. Carve out time for rest and relaxation, just as you would when translating at your normal place of business, in order to duplicate, as much as possible, the same type of workflow pattern that has contributed to your success.