The second day of the BP17 Translation Conference took place in Hotel Aréna, Budapest. Unlike day 1, with the TEDx style sessions, these were delivered in a more traditional format, with 50-minute sessions. Because there were 3 parallel tracks, we could only attend 1/3 of the sessions. Let me tell you about some of the sessions I attended.
The winning mindset of successful freelance translators
To kick off the day, what better than a highly motivational talk by Sameh Ragab? There were so many tips and ideas coming from Sam’s talk it was hard to keep up with it all. The speaker started out by reminding us that we must be fully committed to every single job, regardless of how big or small it is. If you commit to a project, live up to your promises and honour your commitments.
“Successful translators do not get by with minimum effort.”
On a more practical note, time management was also brought up. As service providers, using time wisely is very important, so the speaker advised considering a time management tool. During this session, we learned about ManicTime, a time-tracking software. This tool keeps records of your ‘active’ and ‘away’ times, websites visited, documents worked on and apps used.
Focus your business: Finding the right niche for you
One of the sessions in the second track was delivered by Caterina Saccani. The speaker walked us through her journey of research, reflection and work to identify and pursue a specific niche market for her small business. Feeling inspired by several books on business for translators and freelancers, the speaker explains the difference between the red and blue ocean strategies. Spoiler alert: you should aim for the blue strategy, where there’s less competition and higher earnings. In order to get there, identifying a niche market and positioning oneself as an expert is a must.
Saying you need to determine your niche market is easy but it takes a lot of insight and research. So, once you’ve made it through the first step and have come up with a niche you’d be happy to pursue, ask yourself the following:
“Is the niche viable? Is there a market for it? Are the companies serving that market selling abroad? Is it a thriving sector?”
Once you have chosen a niche market that seems solid and worth the investment, don’t forget you then need to work on your PR and online marketing. Some ideas: write articles in portals your clients read and mention your niche on your website.
Strategies for Success – have you got any?
The synopsis for Sue Leschen’s talk read: “It’s not enough to be a great language professional. If you want to succeed you need to have strategies.”
Just don’t forget that…
“Hope is not a strategy.”
When running a business, we need to think like entrepreneurs. Business skills are required. Have a sales-focused approach and never stop promoting yourself. Sue Leschen claims to do business everywhere she goes, including at her local gym! Why not?
How to save time by automating frequent tasks
Translator and trainer Irene Koukia walked us through some of her favourite tools that help automate frequent tasks. Nowadays, we need passwords for all sorts of websites and portals. No one in their right mind will even attempt to memorise all the passwords so, working with tools such as Sticky Password or LastPass can be useful. With any of these, you just need to remember one master password.
The main focus of this session was, however, on translation management systems. The speaker elaborated on a tool she uses for all clients and projects – XTRF. This web application is particularly useful for translation agencies due to all the features it combines. It allows for storing of all quotes sent to each client, files for translation, and project details. It helps minimize mistakes and keep track of one’s daily schedule, payments and cash flow. You can automate all sorts of tasks, and it even delivers directly to the end client. There are simpler (and cheaper to free) tools which allow for translation management. Protemos (free for freelancers), TO3000 (price range of 79–275 EUR) and Wordbee (prices start at 21 EUR/month) are some of them.
The overall experience…
I’m very glad I got to listen to so many inspiring talks delivered by so many experienced language professionals. I also got to meet new colleagues and see old friends. It’s always a pleasure to network with like-minded colleagues from different countries. At every single dinner event, coffee break and lunch break (and even at the metro station) there were lovely colleagues to talk to, share experiences and learn from. And if that weren’t enough, I found Budapest to have amazing food! Hopefully, I will get to attend this conference again in 2018 (wherever it may take place).
Hope to see everyone again at BP18 Conference!