One of the exciting features about being a freelance language professional is that I can work in different fields every day, and, if I really wanted to, use it as a launching pad for a career in one of those fields. Off the top of my head, for example:
Fields: banking, military, marketing, immigration law, HR, cardiology, etc.
Careers: lawyer, grantwriter, doctor, politician, journalist, copywriter, etc.
Monday, I will be a product manager, accountant, social media manager, and specialist on Senegal’s public policy. The next day, I may add to that list being a contract writer (writing translations of them, to be exact) and remove my accountant role, since I finished those related tasks.
However, I have noticed this freelance feature being presented to new translators in a less than positive light.
Experienced language professionals pointedly warn, “There’s a lot more to it than translating documents. You have to play the many roles involved in running a business, keep up your language skills, learn new software, etc…” The tone comes across as intimidating, menacing. I picture my mom looming over me, hands on her hips, saying it in a stern voice in the context of, “I hope you know what you’re doing. Don’t come crying to me when you see how difficult it is.”
Well, now that I have a few years experience, I don't see the use in menacing newcomers. So, I choose to present it as a unique aspect meant to be embraced.
Don’t be intimidated! Enjoy the journey!
Yes, it takes time. Yes, there’s a lot to learn. But, learning is one of the best parts! You will not get bored, and you will have the possibility of moving into another career with the skills you learn as a translator.
Personally, I’m enjoying the journey of becoming a translator. I have learned so much as a language professional running my own business. I can now discuss marketing products with friends in that industry. I can share social selling tips with owners of small businesses. Hmmm… what else? I can tell interesting stories about obscure topics at dinner parties.
What about you? What have you learned?
Please comment below or on Twitter @Thoughtful_BAC.
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