I’ve decided to address the importance of a solid filing system because it has, in recent months, become invaluable to me. I've learned first-hand how it can help me better serve my clients and work more efficiently. As such, I want to share some advice and my experience to ensure other translators understand that it is a key practice that must not be taken for granted.
1) Let’s talk about what sorts of things need to be in an organized filing system.
CAT tool files – placed where your CAT tool knows to find them.
Source and target drafts – includes current and finished jobs.
Bookkeeping tools – this refers to invoices, templates, related software, receipts for tax purposes, etc.
Client guidelines – each client has different expectations, you don’t want to mix these up!
2) Think about where you file things so that you can get to them easily.
Also, where, as in, where do they fit within your folder system? Do invoices belong in a sub-folder of Translation Memories? Probably not. So, create a main folder titled Invoices, then sub-folders within it for each business year, then sub-folders within those for clients, and so on. Be logical. The idea here is to have a system that is quick and easy to navigate. For example, you don’t want to waste time looking at your screen thinking, now where did I put that client glossary from 6 months ago? Instead, you want a system that allows you to open your system folder, click on Glossaries, Client Name X, and then the necessary file.
3) Be careful and logical about how you name files and folders.
What are some of your favorite practices that you find are essential to your business? Please let me know in the comments below.