The Ultimate Time Management Guide for Translators

thebigword Time Management Running

So, you’ve been awake all night trying to meet your deadlines. You just ran out of coffee. You haven’t showered or eaten in days and you can’t seem to find your cat. You are officially stressed. If this sounds all too familiar, take a deep breath, you have come to the right place.

Where do I begin?

The first place to begin is to take the time out to plan! If you haven’t already created a to-do list, then do it! By writing down all your tasks on one list, you can take a step back and look at the big picture. After creating your to-do list, you should read through it and decide which tasks are most important and which ones need to get done first. The next step would be to make a tentative schedule for the week.

What are the benefits of sticking to a schedule?

By sticking to a schedule, you are ensuring that you will be in your office by a certain time. Without having a schedule, it is possible to sleep all through the morning since you never set a specific time to be in. Another benefit to sticking to your schedule is not missing lunch. I’m sure you’ve had days where you were trying to meet a deadline and you find yourself at three in the afternoon and you still have not eaten a thing. When you create a schedule you can arrange an approximate time for a lunch break.

It is also awfully important to schedule a time to leave the office. Yes, we know that you are a hard worker, but your work day needs to end at some point. It is very important to maintain a work-life balance. You must take care of yourself and maintain an adequate level of health. You don’t want to end up stressed and sick because your work will suffer, and it ends up being a loss for everyone.

Will I be able to take on more tasks?

Yes and no. When you manage your time more efficiently, this might allow you to have more time to work on projects, but sometimes you need to allocate this time to projects you already have taken on, in order to do a good job. You need to realize that it is more than okay to say no sometimes. If you do not have the time or capacity to do a project, then you should not agree to do it.

Now that you can efficiently manage your time, you can create better quality translations, therefore improving your credibility as a professional translator!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Promotion

Do's and Dont's of Self Promotion

As the Translation Services Industry is continuing to grow, the number of freelance translators are growing as well. The competition is very real. Finding ways to differentiate yourself from the rest can prove to be terribly challenging.

Many companies spend a lot of money on advertising platforms, but there are many cost-free ways to market your freelance business. The most important thing to ask yourself before taking any further steps is “Is this self-promotion, or am I contributing to the noise?” You d on’t want to make people angry or annoy them, and you certainly do not want to be considered a spammer.

DO’s

  • DO be yourself – You want to shine, but you must stay true to yourself. You never want to lie or exaggerate about your skills and capabilities. Remember that you are selling yourself and at the end of the day people want the truth.
  • DO be professional – Yes, you are trying to sell your services, but you must portray a professional image. Maintaining a professional image is vital to preserving relationships with companies.
  • DO maintain relationships – You must engage with people who are interested in your self-promotion efforts. This is how you master the art of networking and build relationships that can contribute to your success.
  • DO establish your credibility – One of the best ways to confirm and showcase your credibility is by writing a blog. You can share your knowledge on the industry or even on your niche, and this will speak for itself in terms of demonstrating your expertise. You can also share links on Facebook and Twitter to other blogs and articles, which deems you as a valuable source of information.

DO NOT’s

  • DO NOT ask or beg for work – Instead, offer your services. Posting comments such as “I need a job, please help” simply sounds desperate and does not establish any sort of credibility for your brand. Try offering your services as opposed to asking for work. By offering your services you can portray yourself as someone who is established and reliable. This shows that you have the means of helping them with their tasks.
  • DO NOT spam – Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, must be utilized properly. Do not use it simply for self pr­­omotion. People will consider you a spammer, and they will “unfollow” you. Become a valuable source of information, and you will be contacted for possible jobs and assignments.
  • DO NOT take mentions lightly – If a blogger or twitter follower “retweets” or mentions you, you should thank them. You should publicly show your gratitude towards them, which would make them want to mention you again or make other people want to “retweet” your posts.
  • DO NOT make claims without proof – You should always back up your claims with evidence. When you make claims without any proof you can put a damper on your credibility and completely destroy your reputation as  an accredited source of information. Backing up your facts with hard evidence will improve your integrity. You can do this by linking to an article that has already established credibility.

Well, now you know what to do (and what not to do) in terms of self-promotion. Please don’t forget that when you are portraying yourself as a brand that YOU ARE THE BRAND! So remember stay true to yourself and don’t forget to enjoy what you are doing!

Debunking 5 myths About Freelancers

thebigword freelance myths

We have already dispelled 5 myths about the translation service industry. There are many misconceptions about freelancers as well. Let us debunk 5 common myths about freelancers.

1.     Freelancing is easy work.

Many people believe that freelancers can wake up when they want, take their time eating a nice breakfast, and then slowly begin to work all while still lounging in their pajamas. While this may have some truth, successful freelancers are busy and have deadlines that they must meet. While they very well just might be their own bosses, and they might be able to take their time before getting started for the day, a productive freelance translator gets to work by a certain time every day and typically works for a specific amount of hours.

So maybe freelancers do have the option of sleeping in, but not more so than anyone else. Sleeping in while you have deadlines to meet is unquestionably irresponsible, and a successful freelancer understands this. When you have messages from clients waiting to be answered, sleeping in is simply not an option.

2.     Freelancing is fast and easy money.

This is simply fictitious. You have to work hard to be successful. The first month, especially will not be easy. You will need to think of a game plan and stick to a specific schedule. You should schedule time to brainstorm your brand and then actually create it and begin to market your brand. The first few jobs you take on will most likely not be high-paying ones, but they should be credible. By taking on credible jobs you will be able to build your resume or CV, but they will most likely not have a big payout. You must know your price and make sure you recognize when someone is asking you for quality work for little pay.

3.     Freelancing is less stressful than a regular 9 to 5 job.

Okay, so we’ll admit, without the commute freelancers do not have to deal with the stress of traffic, delayed trains, and clocking in on time, but there are different stressors that come with freelancing. For a freelancer, stress can come from not having enough work. It might be an off week, but if you were not expecting it, you might be feeling the effects of having less income for the week. On the other hand, it might be an extremely busy week, and now you’re swamped with work. Either of these situations can make for a stressful week. A freelancer’s life doesn’t seem so relaxing now.

Okay, you’re still not convinced, you’re thinking, ‘How stressful could their lives be when they don’t have to answer to a boss?’ Even though they might not have to keep their bosses happy, they must still keep their clients happy; this could be equally, if not more, important. If they damage a relationship with a client, they could potentially lose that client forever.

4.     Freelancing is flexible.

People believe that freelancers make their own hours. For the most part, yes, they do. They work for themselves therefore they essentially work when and where they want. A successful freelancer knows that there are consequences to these choices. Maybe a freelancer would choose not to work on the weekends, or maybe they only want to work every other day. Limiting your availability, limits your integrity. If you get a call for an assignment that is needed by Monday, and you don’t take it because you’re off on Mondays, you have just missed out on a job.

So while freelancers can make their own schedules, it must be within reason. They can choose when they want to work, but they cannot choose when work wants them. As a freelancer, you don’t have to work from 9am to 5pm, but your day should fall within these hours because that is typically when most offices are open. So, you would want to be available during these hours.

5. Anyone could be a freelancer.

I must respond to this myth by saying, ‘Of course not’. We discussed in an earlier myth-debunking post that not everyone has what it takes to be a translator or interpreter. Similarly, it takes a certain kind of person to do certain jobs. A freelancer must be disciplined. A lazy person will not take on a heavy workload and therefore, will not be as successful. A freelancer must have extreme organizational skills. They must organize their time and their office. They work for themselves so the discipline must come within. There is no one guiding you and no one telling you what to do, so you must be capable of truly being your own boss. A freelancer must also be a business person. You must be personable and possess networking skills. You must be able to manage yourself.

All-in-all, a freelancer’s job is not so easy. Within the translation services industry, most of the linguists are freelancers, and from what we’ve witnessed at thebigword, freelancers have truly got to be renaissance men/women in order to be the best (which freelance linguists certainly are)!