I have never been one to make resolutions when the end of the year approached; not on a personal level, anyway. Lose weight, quit smoking (I’m not a smoker) or eat healthy didn’t really make sense to add to some list.
Nowadays, when running my own business, making plans is a must. Looking deep into what went well along the year and what was not great is a good exercise. Defining what I wish to achieve in the months to come and how to get there is exciting.
It might seem like a waste of time at first. After all, we all want to translate, translate, translate, all year long, and work on interesting projects for nice clients. So what is there to plan? Well, a marketing plan might help us find those nice clients with the interesting projects in the first place. Also, it’s good to have goals. By setting goals we’ll feel compelled to work harder all year long in order to achieve them. Creating a business or a marketing plan is serious work and should be done with time but it is worth one’s while.
2016, it was nice to meet you!
Looking back, I can say that 2016 was a good year. It started out quite peacefully (too peacefully, to be honest) but things became busier and busier fast. Even the summer months were good to me so I was able to take two weeks off in August without feeling like this was a month ‘wasted’, businesswise.
In June I attended Aptrad’s 1st translation conference in the beautiful city of Porto (north of Portugal). I had a wonderful time learning more about the industry and networking with like-minded colleagues from around the world. Although I always add translation news to my daily readings, meeting colleagues face to face is an enriching experience and a rare pleasure.
With September came a whole new challenge. A dear friend of mine from university asked if I would be interested in going back to teaching. She’s an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at a vocational school and they needed another teacher. Without much ado I accepted. I had worked as an ESL teacher for a few years after graduating from college. That was a long time ago so I didn’t expect this project to be handed over to me this year. I’m glad it was, though. It’s been a heck of an experience so far with a new work place, new colleagues, and lots of work. All that combined with the translation projects that I love. It’s not easy balancing the two areas but I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity.
Focusing exclusively on translation work is fine but I’m also interested in diversifying my work and developing new skills. As long as it’s related to languages and linguistics I tend to feel some attraction to it. Also, translating and teaching languages are two areas that complement each other, in my opinion. That being said, I have no plans of slowing down the volume of translation work. On the contrary, the goal is to do more in 2017 than I did this current year.
Twelve months. Twelve whole months full of opportunities which are, at this point, tabula rasa. We get to decide which direction we wish to go, what goals and dreams we’ll chase. My plan is quite simple: work hard, work harder, and have some fun along the way (hopefully).
Throughout the year, I plan to keep working with both agencies and direct clients, which I like. Technical translation, localization, international development, and marketing translation kept me busy this year. In 2017, these will also be my focus areas.
I strongly believe in life-long learning and, in this profession, I think it’s a must. With each project we tend to learn something new, and that’s great. It’s an intrinsic part of the job. But despite that, along with translation and revision work there must be CPD, readings, social media and conferences.
As for readings, I just got my copy of Gary Smith’s new book in the mail. The 300+ pages of Confessions of a Freelance Translator: Secrets to Success are waiting for me by the couch.
In May, I hope I am able to attend a translation conference in Europe. There’s the ITI Conference in Cardiff and the BP17 in Budapest, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Plans are great, but…
We’ll need to review and adapt all that planning along the way. It’s impossible to determine exactly what will happen in 2017 when it’s just beginning. So let’s work hard and wisely, let’s be focused and productive from January to December. It’s not easy being your own boss but it is definitely worth the journey.
We have already done something great: we chose the most enriching and intellectually challenging job on earth. Ok, so maybe one of the most! Now it is up to each of us translators to find our own definition of success and to go after it.
To all colleagues around the world, I wish you a very successful 2017!