Attending conferences can sometimes pay off when you least expect it. One of my new clients this year comes from a contact I made at the tekom Jahrestagung in Germany two years ago. After an initial follow-up e-mail, I had kept this particular contact on my annual holiday card list, but hadn’t otherwise contacted her again. Two years later she e-mailed me about a project, which then led to additional projects from the same client. This goes to show that: a. it may take rather a long time for your networking efforts to pay off, but eventually they will and b. I should have followed up on this (and other) networking contacts more frequently — I might have worked for that agency sooner had I done so.
Other new clients this year learned about me from the American Translators Association website and other online sources. This lead to some long-term large projects, as well as several smaller jobs for the same end clients. After translating a few documents for the same end client I become familiar with that particular client’s writing style, vocabulary and subject matter. This makes subsequent translations go faster, allowing for a shorter turn-around time (and making my job easier).
Originals in PDF format, on the other hand, make a translator’s job harder, particularly if they are scanned from poor-quality originals. But since such translations cannot be automated at all (not even to the extent of using CAT tools), they provide an antidote to the industry trend of low pay, which is often justified by referring to automated tools. I found such originals particularly common among technical documents submitted in lawsuits.
Having dual screens really paid off for these projects – PDF original on one screen, Word document on the other.
While translations still make up the bulk of my workload, I am trying to expand my services. To that end I attended the Content Connections conference organized by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. The goal here is to return to some of my journalistic and technical writing roots. (I have a degree in media studies and used to write software documentation.) I have written book reviews and articles for industry publications all along. In 2014 I will try to turn that “sideline” into writing for which I actually get paid.
Over the years I have spoken at several conferences, but always because I submitted a proposal. Last year, I was invited to speak at WritersUA West this Spring, so I will be in Palm Springs in early March 2014. There is also a short video interview about my presentation “Writing for Global Audiences“. To prepare better for public speaking, I am attending an improv workshop organized by “Entreprov – Improv for Entrepreneurs” tonight. This should be interesting (albeit somewhat anxiety-inducing for an introvert like me).
One of my resolutions for 2014 is to publish blog posts more regularly – the goal is a new post every three weeks. So stay tuned (and nudge me, if you don’t see another post by the end of the month!) …