I am Sara. I am a 29-year-old Egyptian professional who makes my living as a translator. My degree is from the English Department of the Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University. My favorite pastimes/hobbies are reading, walking, and travelling. I am single and my greatest ambition is to work for the United Nations one day.
When you work in a field that provides a service that thousands of others also offer, success becomes quite challenging. It took me almost six years in the translation field to learn two important rules that I always follow:
RULE ONE : I Will be NEVER too good
There is always space for improvement and doing better, and there will be always an extra mile to go. Don’t get disheartened by the poor quality and dozens of mistakes you make in the beginning. Instead, make those mistakes the driving force that leads you to new achievements.
RULE TWO : Maintain a GOOD cooperative relationship with others
This rule played an important role in my small journey as a translator so far. You can market yourself as much as you can, you can shout from the rooftops: “I am the best, hire me!” but unless you have others’ support and the positive word-of-mouth working for you and your services, you will not go very far.Try also to master a third or a fourth language.
Mastering two languages only is no longer sufficient in our field, but do not forget that the keyword here is ‘master’. Don’t even think about learning a third language if you are not EXCELLENT enough in your second language.
Don’t start working in translation if you have not mastered your own native language.
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep”
Similarly, don’t commit to projects you know you can’t finish with the best quality and on time no matter how tempting the money may be. After all, it is your reputation that is at stake, and you don’t want to risk it — no matter what. Treat clients with respect and utmost commitment, and treat your tasks with love.
One of my great mentors once told me “treat any task you work on as if it was your son. Love it. Nurture it. And it will support you later like a son does when he gets older with his parents.”
He was right in every single word. Good work speaks for the worker, and that’s how good translation tasks support the translator. They make a mark. They make an echo. And they make you proud and successful.
“Don’t sell your skills cheap”
After gaining enough proven experience, it is normal to adjust the prices of the services you provide according to the market around you and the level of quality you offer. Don’t settle for low payment because the work flow is continuous and regular. After all, a job that does not fulfill your ambitions and does not raise your expectations is not worth having. Always look ahead.
My primary tool for finding work would be LinkedIn. I use it to look for companies that work in the same field, then I apply to cooperate with them. Some of the tools I use In my work include: CAT tools, such as Trados 2007, Trados Studio, Loc Studio, Wordfast, Passolo, Workspace Xliff Editor, SDLX, MemoQ, Across, etc.
To sum up, I guess the most important things to do to be a successful translator are to work hard and improve yourself constantly; maintain fruitful collaborative relationships; read the future’s challenges and prepare for them; and finally, have confidence in your abilities and skills.
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