Translators love their job. Problem-solving with two languages is extremely satisfying. However, they become discouraged just like any other professional. A translator could be frustrated from waiting for overdue payment or due to frequently being asked to negotiate his rates. For me, it's job-hunting. For example, last week, I contacted several agencies that I was positive would want my services, yet I didn't hear back from them. Over the weekend, I was determined to fight off the negativity and get back in the saddle.
What to do when discouragement creeps in and threatens your job satisfaction?
Try to some translator “therapy.”
Devise your ideal translation project. I told myself I had all the time in the world and the best clients who wanted my services at my rates. This took away all of the obstacles and potential frustrations, so I could focus on this dream project. The point isn't to go through with it, say, next week. It's simply to daydream.
This “therapy” did wonders for my mood. I woke up Monday morning, revived and ready to keep forging ahead to lay the foundation for a successful future in the translation industry, and, who knows, maybe, eventually, pursue the dream project.
The Steps to Take:
First, I decided what industry I would address. Then, I imagined the clients and end users it would benefit. I chose direct clients who were excited to have me help them with their business. The end users were the people my clients serve - their customers, not mine. Finally, I imagined a scenario in which an American couple enjoyed the services that they could access thanks to my translations.
This “therapy” did wonders for my mood. I woke up Monday revived and ready to keep forging ahead to lay the foundation for a successful future in the translation industry. You might try this same exercise, if you’re feeling frustrated, too.
My Ideal Translation:
Background: I lived in Guadeloupe for one year and didn't want to leave. An archipelago with two main islands – Basse Terre and Grande Terre, beauty abounds there – from nature to cuisine to celebrations. The people are amazing, too, and I admire their ingenuity.
My project would be a series highlighting the local service industry of Guadeloupe. This is different from the tourism industry. The former mostly serves the permanent and seasonal inhabitants, while the latter was created expressly to serve tourists (i.e. visitors just passing through). I asked myself, why can’t foreigners going for a brief stay enjoy the beauty and culture of the local services, too? Well, I saw language as a major obstacle. Non-French-speaking tourists would be hesitant to rent from a realtor with a website entirely in French, hesitant to go to a specialist spa where everything is in French and they wouldn’t know what exactly they’d be spending their hard-earned money on.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn’t be trying to inundate the local spots with foreigners looking to get a cheesy picture. My goal would serve tourists and locals alike. The locals would be able to proudly share their services and unique products with a wider audience, and the more adventurous tourists would get an experience like no other, returning home to tell stories about all they discovered on vacation.
Scenario: Instead of staying in a cushy resort, an American couple visiting Guadeloupe would stay in a bungalow decorated in bright colors and local art. They could take a stroll to buy some fresh fruit and sorbet à coco from a local vendor. They wouldn't be limited to the usual pre-packaged tours that, say, cruise companies provide. They could go to a local spa to get massages and rejuvenating skin treatments. Of course, this would all be because they understood the realtor’s website, the grocer’s menu, and the spa’s services, all of which I had translated from French into English.
This is just a sample from the scenario. I could go on imagining this couple learning about the island’s history, going to stores selling handmade crafts, and more. You get the idea.
Now, it’s your turn.
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