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New year, new translation challenges

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

A new year has begun, and I’m very excited about all my new projects and challenges for 2022. I’ve used the word “challenges” rather than “resolutions” because “challenges” seems to create fewer expectations, and less stress, too! It’s more about trying out a new project, step or idea and seeing where it takes me. If you haven’t yet decided on the challenges (or resolutions, if you like) you’d like to set yourself for 2022, we’d love to help give you some ideas.

Hello, freelancing world!

In pre-Covid times, most freelancers were probably asked a million times if they were actually working, merely because they weren’t going into a physical office. I used to explain that all I needed for my job was a laptop and an Internet connection and that I could work from anywhere. Well, this preconceived image of a “proper job” being working 9-5 in an office has obviously changed a lot since March 2020, when millions of employees and freelancers had to work from home, and in some cases, still are.

Over the last two years, many employees have had to reinvent themselves as freelancers after being laid-off due to budget cuts in their companies or have resigned in search of better working conditions, in line with the new economic trend known as “the Great Resignation”. Freelancing has become a new path for digital talent, thanks to remote or hybrid models. At the same time, companies are also now looking for agility and flexibility, so hiring freelancers is becoming the trend for many businesses in the digital world.

Even the demand for flexible spaces is expected to explode in the next few years, thanks to the hybrid model that many companies are rolling out and the rise in freelancing positions. And this is plain to see: This Christmas, I was astonished by the sheer number of co-working spaces that had popped up in so many neighbourhoods throughout the city.

As we discussed in one of our first articles in our Launch in Translation blog, choosing the freelancing path over working in-house has its advantages, such as flexibility and versatility, but it also has significant disadvantages, like the lack of regular financial security at the end of each month. However, now seems a pretty good time to make the leap into the freelancing world.

So, to all those brave professionals who are about to embrace the world of freelancing (including two dear friends of mine), I wish you all the very best!

Diversifying into new areas

In a recent article for our blog, Caterina was candid enough to admit that diversifying your translation business is a great way to avoid getting bored with your job. And I couldn’t agree with her more. I think there needs to be a balance of “autopilot” jobs that are cost-efficient and new challenges that may be financially and creatively riskier, but also more exciting.

Diversification doesn’t have to involve any radical changes to your current job. If you’re a creative person, love writing and have worked as a translator, you could think about experimenting with new skills and give transcreation or copywriting a go. Before going for it, you can always attend a course, a webinar, or even chat with a colleague who has experience in these fields and see if it’s for you.

In the translation world, subtitling can be a creative and technical way to diversify your business. Our colleague Anne-Lise took the plunge into subtitling last year, an experience she talked about in her subtitling guide for beginners for our LiT blog. If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into this sub-genre of translation, you’ll find a wealth of free resources online that will help you in your subtitling endeavours.

Another path that I find very appealing (and am actually going to give a try as soon as Covid permits) is language teaching. I’m sure many linguists started out their career in teaching, as sometimes it feels like this is the only option available to you if you have a degree in languages. In my case, I’m keen to start teaching languages because, for me, it’s a way of looking at languages from another perspective, and, let’s be honest, it’s a fantastic way to socialise with other people, too.

Going up (or down) the corporate ladder

Yes, I meant to write “down”. In a translation team, like the one I described in the article “Together We Create”, there are a number of different roles that need to be covered: translator, editor and lead editor. Before, I used to think about this structure as a ladder, but now I consider it a circle, as each role requires different skills: translators are creative writers and clever researchers, editors are meticulous text surgeons and lead editors need good management and organisational skills.

Working in any of these roles has plenty of advantages, as it allows you to cultivate different skills, learn from your colleagues and see projects from other perspectives. And covering all the roles in the circle is actually one of my challenges for 2022. Hopefully, I’ll be brave enough to go for it!

Do you have any other challenges in the pipeline or already in progress?

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