5 tips for getting experience in translation when you are just starting out

I know how frustrating it is when you are just starting out your career in translation (or any field, really) and no-one wants to hire you because you have no experience yet. Well, if someone among them doesn’t take the leap of faith to employ you, you will never gain some, will you? I know, it can be tricky!

Of course, companies are hesitating to trust someone just out of the university or from a different discipline, it is completely logical. They need high-functioning, committed workers who can prove their skills. But they also need enthusiastic employees who will go the extra mile to show what they deserve and can do. If you don’t insist and don’t try to show them how valuable you could be for their company they will never know, will they?

So let’s see how you can find some experience when you have none!

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First of all, you might already have more experience than you think! 

1. Your university assignments

For example,  you might have done a translation for a local business, museum, even the university. This counts as experience, too! Think carefully and if you are still in university try to land assignments that are attached to the work environment and not just theoretical essays.

2. A friend definitely has asked you

to translate their certificate, diplomas, school essay (I’m sure you have had plenty of those requests 😛 ) This counts if it happened more than once and if you took it seriously and worked hard on it.

3. Part-time and summer jobs

If you have worked a part-time job during your student years, think how the skills you acquired there might prove useful: even a bar-tending job handling multicultural clients can be described as relevant in your work experience section. A job as a car-sales assistant will be valuable if you want to break into translating automotive texts. Make sure you are able to justify it if you are asked for it during an interview. Remember to make it all about the skills and particular knowledge that you gained during your work there.

Even if you didn’t work or had any experience whatsoever during your studies, there are still ways to gain experience at the beginning of your career. 

4. Volunteering

You can volunteer for a non-profit organisation, like Translators Without Borders, where you will gain experience and you will be giving back to the community, too. Make sure you research the organisation you choose and don’t forget to allocate some time for actively looking for employment.

5. Look around you

Reach out to a company/client you would like to work with and offer them a translation you think they need for a competitive price – for example, if you notice that your favorite local cafe has international clients but doesn’t have a menu in different languages offer to translate it for them in a low (but still market respecting) price. Or for free coffee for a month (depending on the work needed, of course). Now, I’m in no case an advocate for working for free so please make sure you get at least some compensation for your time. It is a way to show yourself and others that you take your job seriously and its not just a hobby for you. Otherwise, people will treat you like a hobbyist and we definitely don’t want that!

Take a minute here to consider a few things:

It is easy to fall in the trap of low prices when you are just starting out but please remember:

If you don’t value your skills high enough, your clients won’t either.

People want to pay less , that’s for sure but don’t accept rates  too low as you wouldn’t accept low services from anyone.

A successful career is built slowly but steadily and taking the worst paying jobs a) will not help you pay your rent b) makes you look cheap and c) wastes your time from looking for actually rewarding employment opportunities. 

So don’t be afraid to ask, aim high and look out for opportunities. We all started somewhere and it takes hard work to go anywhere. Be passionate about what you do and you will never have anything to worry about!

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cover photo by Sofia Petridena

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Is freelancing like team sports or is it a solo game?

Working as a freelancer might feel like the world’s loneliest job but it doesn’t have to be, and even shouldn’t be especially if you want to be a successful business owner.

As freelancing in any field requires more than one skills (your service of choice, bookkeeping, marketing and many more), it is more something like team sports: to survive in the freelance world you need to have reliable co-players. 

Freelancing

As a translator, in particular, Continue reading

The busy translator’s guide to summer style

Some of the best summer nights out are with shorts and t-shirts and beers at your local. However, summer is also known as the “wedding season”, aka the time when you have to plan your weekends depending on your friends’ weddings. These things should all take place in winter, when we would love some more socializing but no, as we live in Greece and summer is THE season for everything, they all have to be at the same time (sigh). Continue reading

How to make your own blog in 5 steps

I can’t stop saying how much I love blogging! If you are reading your favorite blogs and would like to have your own but don’t know where to start I’m here to tell you its easier than you think! I’ll give you some basic steps and I promise that it gets easier the more you work on it 🙂

photo by mediamarmalade.com

photo by mediamarmalade.com

Please note: I’m giving you the steps for a free blog, not a self-hosted one  – self-hosted blogs are also easy to work and more stylish but I think that the free scheme is good for a beginner in blogging.

  1. Choose your platform: Blogger or WordPress or even Tumblr. I’m more of a WordPress fan for this type of blogs as they are easier, more simple and there is support online and through wordpress, too.
  2. Choose your name. Brainstorm and write down a few ideas, think of what topics you’d like to cover and play with their meaning or combine them. Be creative J When you have chosen your platform, you can try your name and see if it is available. Pick something simple and memorable, something you will be able to say to someone without having to spell it out.
  3. Choose a theme – I’m always wasting ages on choosing themes! Most times I end up with the same as I seriously can’t choose J But don’t waste too much time on this step: choose a simple one, easily customizable and when you learn your platform sufficiently you will be able to upgrade to a more complex one, add widgets, plugins etc. There are many pre-designed themes for various subjects, such as magazines or food blogging.blog templates
  4. Decide on your menu and pages: usually your menu is the line under the header image and over your content and displays your pages (such as About Me) and categories (such as Books/Magazines). You can also have just one page and have your articles show like a diary. My blog has only 2 pages while my Greek blog features categories as I write for a lot of things there and wanted to make navigation easier.english blog metaphrasi1
  5. Write your first post! Most platforms have a very easy interface for posting. In wordpress it is under Blog Posts>Add new. You will see a category menu on your right and pick at least one category and (optional) some tags. You can also add a featured image – to be featured whenever your post gets shared 🙂
  • Your blog does not have to be immaculate from day one, so don’t stress too  much about it but don’t forget to thoroughly proofread your posts, choose nice, clear images (plenty of advice online for which images are best for blogging) and don’t forget to be your fabulous self! Don’t try to copy the exact same look of someone’s blog – they might be cool but they are not you, right?

    And if you are at loss for inspiration, check out this post about Where to find Inspiration and how to keep it.

    A final tip: connect your favorite social media to your blog so that your readers will be able to find you in their favorite medium. I’m obsessed with Instagram lately J

    Are you feeling ready? Follow my blog for more juicy info, follow your favorite blogs and join the blogosphere! If you need more technical advice (that I can offer) I’ll be glad to help and there’s also a reader here that is a wordpress expert I think J

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Summer Essentials for Translators

  1. Deadlines

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Because you know you can’t work if everyone is on the beach and you keep dreaming of mojitos and tan lines. NOTHING MAKES ME MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN THE LAST MINUTE is probably my summer mantra and I’m not ashamed of it! I need to be super focused to work!

2. Coffee

To wake up in the morning, to get a fix at midday, to stay alert on the afternoon and to stay… away from alcohol if you have still work to do in the evening. Gin and tonic with lots of ice or just a chilled glass of white on the balcony – I struggle to keep these evil thoughts away when I’m on my desk sweating with a book translation!

3. Lots of fruit

Reason? See above! Plus, they are good for you even if you would rather murder a chocolate cake with ice cream between projects.

4. Time off!

To recharge batteries, feel human again, convince yourself you’d rather be working than lounging on that sunbed doing nothing at all. Yes, you need some time off in order to be able to go back yo work with a clear head and to be more productive.

5. Motivation

Because you have to remind yourself that you love your work and enjoy doing it and as an extra bonus it will bring you the money to go to that travel on your bucket list / buy something you have been eyeing for your boyfriend/girlfriend / or just simply enjoy a day off next week.

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If you have any more tips for staying on track during the summer please share the wisdom!!!

xxx

Foteini

Summer Resolutions

Summer might not be full on here yet but I’m in a summer mood and I have set forth a couple of resolutions for this summer – don’t worry, I’ll add more soon so that I won’t have to admit that i failed them all in September 😛

My no 1 resolution this summer is: TO BE HAPPY

I went to a fantastic workshop in May with this lovely coach, Virginie and I’m looking forward to the next one (hopefully in September). It was called “Ordering from the cosmic kitchen” and it was all about defining your goals and getting in the right mindset to achieve them.

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Continue reading

10 reasons why I love blogging

reasons why i love blogging

Why do we love blogging so much? And is the death of blogging nearer than ever or should the Cassandras of this world stop predicting this unlikely possibility? Here are 10 reasons I love blogging (almost) as much as reading :

  1. It is a fantastic form of expression. It is a little bit like having your own column in a paper or a whole magazine where you can write whatever you feel like.  fashion and fruit

 

 

2. It is very flexible and diverse: you can blog about books, lifestyle, unicorns, photography, cooking – just anything you feel passionate about and this is totally liberating!

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3. It is creative! You get to research various concepts, to look for the best pictures to go with your post, create infographics if you want and so many more cool stuff. I even made my own book quote quiz some time ago 🙂

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4. You get to meet awesome people. I have been following some Greek book blogs for a while now and I think we have formed a fantastic blogging community with common interests. In that way, blogging takes you outside your comfort zone if you are an introvert, like me… Did you read my interview in Ariel’s fab blog One Little Library, about translation and books? Ariel was featured here as a guest blogger, offering invaluable advice for finding and keeping blogging inspiration 😉 Also, I have met many interesting entrepreneurs and I have found invaluable advice in many of the blogs I follow!

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5. It grows with you. Your blog is your “baby”and it changes with you as the years pass and this is kind of nice. You can change its focus and take it wherever you want to go or you can even turn it into a business – this means that…

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6. You grow with it, too: blogging might make you consider making your passion your job and it can help you realize there is a whole market out there with a need that you might be able (and feel very confident) to cover. Meaning…

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7. It can be profitable. I don’t make money blogging, it is solely a relaxing thing for me at the moment but trust me, I take it as seriously as I would if it made me money (OK maybe then I’d take more care of my SEO #guilty) and I know many who do make (quite a lot) money from blogging. So its a great way to make money doing what you love, isn’t it?

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8. It lets out steam. If you have a strict corporate job or a job with zero margins for creativity and inspiration, blogging about things you love is a great way to relax (glass of chilled wine optional) and write about whatever you want.

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9. It helps you be more organized. In your writing, in your thinking, it helps with discipline and putting things into perspective; it makes you think harder, prepare and take actual steps towards your goals.

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10. It is a kind of therapy 🙂 It is fun, it makes you think more about yourself and others, it helps you meet new people, new cultures, new ideas, all without leaving your home. Or even if you do leave it, you can take it with you 🙂

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Can you relate? What are the things you love about blogging as a blogger or as a reader or both? And are there things you don’t love or simply hate about it? I think I could name a couple 😉

5 tips for finding (and keeping) inspiration

When I joined the Creative Superheroes group on Facebook, I thought that it would be a nice place for ideas and maybe a few tips on blogging. What I didn’t know was that it would be a FUN place to hang out, reading advice, discovering beautiful blogs and interesting people, all with Allison’s quirky and fun way!  So I jumped at the opportunity to feature one of the most interesting and inspiring bloggers and her advice for Finding (and keeping) Inspiration!

Please welcome Ariel and read more about her and her blog at the end of the post!!!

5 Tips for Finding (and Keeping) Inspiration

A guest post by Ariel from One Little Library

We often hear that inspiration strikes at random. It seems like something out of our control, that we can only hope for when all of the stars align. But it’s just not true.

Finding inspiration isn’t actually hard; creating is the hard part. The word “inspiration” originally came from the Latin word for breath: to breathe, to inhale. Think of inspiration as something you need to regularly take in. And what you take in will help you create.

If what you’re creating is writing and information, then what you need to take in is learning. Here are five things you can do to practice taking in inspiration:

  1. Get curious

Ask questions. Don’t accept information at face value. Ask Google. Click on that link. Follow rabbit trails to see what’s there. For example, as I was writing the intro to this post, I started to run into a mental block—which is ironic, I know. I decided to look up the etymology of “inspiration,” which is how I found out it comes from the word for breath. That definition “clicked” and helped me say something I wasn’t sure how to say before.

2. Find the gap

In my job as an acquisitions editor, I read proposals all the time. And I’m always surprised by the sheer number of ideas people have—even within a very specific genre or topic. There are infinite ways to spin something: to take a different angle, or to say it in a fresh way. I’ve learned that great writers are able to pinpoint a gap in the existing knowledge base.

3. Read, read, read

To find the gap in the knowledge base, you have to know the knowledge base. You have to know what others are writing about. They’re both your competition and your inspiration. What can you provide that is different/better? Plus, knowing what your readers know allows you to provide them with information that is more relevant and timely.

4. Start a conversation

I often find inspiration when I listen to the questions people are asking. And they are asking! Start a conversation about whatever your topic is, and put yourself out there as an expert—even if you’re not sure you have all of the answers. At the least, what you’ll get is a new idea to research and explore so that next time you might have the answer.

5. Look at titles

Often when I’m trying to figure out what to write, I look at just the title of another blog post or a book that strikes my fancy. If I was the author of that blog post, what would I say? To some, this might sound like stealing. In his book, Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon argued that “stealing” is actually an act of collaboration, building on someone else’s work to remix it and make it your own. More often than not, I start writing and I find that my blog post is very different from the original one.

A Note on Keeping Inspiration

It’s great when we start exploring and find a good idea, but how do you hold onto it? I like to stock up on ideas and revisit my lists whenever I’m looking for something to write about. Here are some of my favorite ways to hold onto inspiration.

Keep a small notebook on you at all times. I use the adorable notebooks from Obvious State. They fit perfectly inside the clutch wallet I use, so no matter where I’m going, I always have something to write on. Don’t forget a pen, too! But if you forget, pens are usually easier to come by than paper.

Use Google docs. Google docs are available anytime and anywhere, from any device. When I have an idea for a blog post, I often open a new Google doc, give it a short tentative title (I’ll revisit the title later when I have time to start writing), and write just a few words to remind me later of where I was going with that idea. In my Google Drive, I have TONS of mostly empty Word docs—all ideas for blog posts that I’m holding onto and can revisit whenever I like. I also have a Google doc list of blog post ideas—basically the digital version of my little notebook.

Don’t wait around for inspiration to strike. Find it, claim it, and take it in. And if you have any additional tips for finding and keeping inspiration, let us know in the comments!

 

Ariel
Ariel is a writer, blogger, editor, almost vegetarian California girl. During the day she is an Acquisitions Editor for an education publisher. When not working, you can usually find Ariel doing yoga at the beach, reading with a glass of wine, or writing a book review on her blog, One Little Library.
Thank you, Ariel for the brilliant (and usable) advice on finding inspiration! I’ll definitely use some of your tips 🙂