A little over a month ago, I finally completed my masters degree in translation studies and couldn't wait to get started as a freelance translator. Unfortunately, even though I'm good at translation, organised and have had some amazing internship opportunities throughout my studies (including a 6-month full-time position as an in-house translator for a research lab where I was trusted with an amazing amount of autonomy for an intern), I am still very much a liberal arts student at heart. I have a pretty sound knowledge of the translation industry at large, but when it comes to marketing and business development, I'm stumbling around blind. The realisation that a freelance translation business is above all else a BUSINESS was a bit of a shock to the system if I'm being perfectly honest.
To compensate for my lack of confidence in these areas, I've been hitting the internet pretty hard and have discovered a whole new community of translators. One of my biggest worries starting out as a freelancer was the sense of isolation that working from home can bring about. However, after several weeks of following various facebook groups, blogs and trawling through ProZ.com... okay, I'm still a bit worried about becoming a crazy shut-in. But I no longer feel quite so alone. I have a wealth of internet colleagues, many of whom are incredibly generous with their knowledge. For example, right now I'm reading a great sunshiney little e-book called 'The Bright Side of Freelance Translation' by Nicole Y. Adams and Andrew Morris.
I have to say, after the many posts I've come across about the perils of various agencies not paying or their translators enduring awful working conditions, coming across a little gem like this is incredibly refreshing. I mean, I have found all of the tips and warnings that came out of those other posts and comments to be really helpful in directing my searches and constructing a business plan, but it can be a bit disheartening at times as well.
Aside from this book, I've been stalking a number of translators on facebook and through their blogs who seem to really love their jobs and I'm pretty impressed with how they've made translation fit around their lives and interests. But even more so, I'm really impressed with how so many of them share their knowledge and enthusiasm with so many beginning and experienced translators around the world.
Even though I'm still somewhat terrified about really starting out as a translator/copywriter, I think it's time for me to just get out there and start trying to sell myself. After all, the sooner I do, the sooner I can start spreading some translation love around myself.
.... I think I might keep doing some sunny translation reading on the side though!