"Forget the past, it's gone, but glance back occasionally to remind yourself where you came from and where you are going".
First of all, I want to wish everyone a wonderful new year wherever you are in the world, whether you are one of my lovely clients, a fellow translator or just another like-minded language nerd. Let’s make this year great.
2016 has been an exciting year for me, as whilst I am still very much growing and learning as a translator and freelance professional, I feel that the last twelve months have been a turning point in many ways. I wanted to write this post because I always find it incredibly useful to read about other translators’ achievements and the hurdles they have overcome, as it is refreshing to be reminded that we all often experience the same feelings of stress and doubt (I definitely want to discuss this in depth in a future post) and that hard work and determination really does pay off (also because I think we should ease ourselves back into January slowly and reading a post on translation half counts as work).
So, what has 2016 had in store for me…
Cementing relationships. As well as beginning new relationships with new clients this year, I have strengthened relationships with existing ones. One major thing I have learnt in 2016 is that happy working relationships makes for enjoyable, less stressful work, and endeavouring to keep existing clients happy and satisfied, not just through producing quality work, but through being reasonable, friendly, approachable and understanding, is number one on my priority list.
Moving abroad. If you read my last blog post, you will know that I took the plunge and moved to Bologna, Italy. Not only has this been rewarding in terms of a change in lifestyle, making me even more motivated, inspired and ready to tackle any challenges that come my way, but I am now also really getting my speaking level right up to where I want it to be.
Learning to say no. This was a big challenge for me this year. I finally realised that working from 6am until 11pm every day really isn’t sustainable, and that it’s unreasonable to be able to accept every bit of work that comes your way. Turning down work is a necessary step in getting that ever so important work/life balance.
Getting my MA. So this one is fairly self-explanatory, but it has definitely been a huge milestone for my business and career progression. I am now level 2 Trados certified and quite frankly could not live without it. Yes, 2016 was the year Trados and I really got to know each other and became best friends. Is that weird?
Adding a new language to my palette. I succeeded in adding Romanian to my working languages, which has opened numerous doors and now a significant proportion of the work I do is RO>EN. Don’t ask me to order anything or tell you about my hobbies or family, but send me all your financial/legal/marketing documents and we’re away.
So, looking forward now, what am I hoping to get out of 2017? Aside from getting clear skin, a six-figure salary and a dog, I do have a few things I would really love to work on this year:
Start working with direct music clients. Earlier this year, I chatted to a few translators who specialise in music translation. I was quite nervous about contacting them out of the blue, however I was overwhelmed by how willing to help me they all were, and made me so grateful to be a part of two wonderfully supportive networks – musicians and translators. For a long time I have been incredibly keen to combine my passion and knowledge within the field of classical music and jazz, and expertise in translation, and am determined to make 2017 the year it happens.
Engage more frequently with other translators. This one is kind of linked to the goal above, in that contacting those music translators really reminded me that as freelance translators, we aren’t as alone as we think we are. This year, I really want to engage with other professionals within the field on a more regular basis, sharing tips and advice and even collaborating on future blog posts.
Play more music. If you know me, you’ll know how big a part music plays in my life, however recently, if I am completely honest, I have found it difficult to dedicate as much time as I would like to it. Playing in a few concerts earlier this year really spurred me on to get back into it properly, i.e. setting aside a few hours a week for real practice. And although music isn’t directly linked to my translation career, doing the thing I love most in the world 100% has a direct impact on my productivity levels.
Social media-ise my approach to work. I don’t feel like I’ve ever really given the whole social media for business thing a proper go – yes, I have Twitter, Instagram and a Facebook page but I could definitely do more to utilise them to their full potential. Watch out for #durosetranslations taking over the internet.
Good luck to everyone else in achieving their own goals this year. Here’s to lots and lots more words, lots and lots more hours spent pondering over that one sentence that just doesn’t make any sense, whichever way you look at it, and lots and lots more eureka moments.
Let’s see what 2017 brings.