A year ago, I would have been embarrassed to admit that I’m in the early stages of my translation career. It’s because I wanted to know everything already and be translating full-time: fingers flying over the keyboard, clients filling my inbox, organized accounting system, and confidence oozing from my pores. I just knew I was ready… But the fact that it wasn’t happening yet embarrassed me. I thought something must be wrong.
Fast forward one year, and work has gone from the rare, random visitor at my front door to multiple semi-regular ones. Looking back, I see that I did a lot of growing and learned important lessons from those random visitors. Each experience contributed to the foundation of my business. I see that nothing was wrong, I just needed to change perspective. I now gladly tell people,
“I’m in the building phase of my business.”
This period starts with (A) building a small, unfurnished house in a forest and only having water to serve to the rare visitor who finds you. It continues on to (B) putting in infrastructure (like a nice driveway and road that visitors take regularly), and hosting them, sometimes two or more at a time, with pizzazz.
It takes time to do all of that, and that’s fine. No way was I ready a year ago. I would’ve been overwhelmed if two clients made it to my house at the same time, one with a 90-minute documentary to be subtitled in English, the other needing a three-page marriage certificate translated. I needed individual hands-on experiences first. I needed to visit other translators and invite them to my small house to chat over lemonade. I also needed to figure out what made me stand out. (Side note: I’m still adding onto my foundation.)
I hope other new translators will read this and recognize that they’re in the building phase, too. In fact, not just translators, but any business owner goes through this. It’s part of the process.
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