Work in the Time of Covid-19

Hello everyone!

I suppose it’s impossible not to write about Covid-19, which is what everyone else is talking about these days.

But I wanted to address it more in the way of how the almost worldwide quarantine has put remote work in fashion.

health workers wearing face mask
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For those of us who were already working as freelancers from home, nothing has changed that much, except the fact that we can’t go out as much as we did before, especially on weekends.

So, now that this has happened, will companies and other industries appreciate more the value of remote work?

I think they might. Just because you work from home, either as an autonomous freelancer or as a company’s employee, doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive or that the company you work for will suffer any losses because you are not in the office.

Nowadays it almost seems ridiculous that remote work isn’t more popular among companies. Only very few accept this kind of work, some of them not even full-time, but just a day or two per week.

But now that almost everyone is forced to work from home, opinions may shift. Companies and industries might realize that remote work is not as bad as they thought it would be and might implement it on a larger scale. After all, we don’t know if another emergency like this one might hit us later on, and we do need to be prepared.

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After working for many years in an office, it wasn’t easy for me to transition from that into full-time working from home. It took time to get used to it, and I am sure many of you out there are having a hard time with this, but believe me, you’ll be fine. Just be patient and make sure to establish your work routine, this will help you to keep busy, and you’ll see that your productivity will be the same or maybe even better than working in the office, it is all up to you.

If you want to read more about remote work, read my previous post Working from Home

I hope you are all safe and healthy, and we definitely can do this together! And yes, the title of this post is a little homage to my favorite author, Gabriel García Márquez. Can you guess why? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time take care and remember to subscribe to my blog!

XX

 

Women’s Day 2020

Hi everyone!

We have just celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day, and we are still celebrating Women’s History Month.

But it feels like a day or even a whole month is not enough to appreciate the awesomeness of women.

I pride myself on knowing amazing women, including my mother and my closest friends. Without each other’s support, we’d be not standing where we are today.

Women are referred to as the “weak sex,” but there’s no weak bone in our bodies. We are stronger than we seem, even amid our tears. We believe in change and in becoming better persons.

We want to share and spread our happiness with everyone around us and be a beacon of light for those in darkness.

But we also need that light, that encouragement from other women in our lives. We need the inspiration of those trailblazers who opened doors and paths for us, as we continue in their footsteps for the future generations.

We are hardworking, loyal, sensitive, all wrapped into one. We are free to live our lives as we see fit and fight to make sure our rights are granted and respected.

We lose loved ones and battles along the way, but we don’t lose hope. We keep going nonstop for as long as it takes.

We give away our hearts completely, even to those who don’t deserve them, but we don’t let that discourage us. We mend, we heal, we move on.

I am proud to be a woman, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Share with the women and men in your life; let’s all stand together!

Top 3 Mistakes New Freelance Translators Make

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about a subject that we don’t discuss often, but it is crucial in our industry: the top mistakes we make when we start in the business.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there, we’ve all been new and many times lost when we get started.

It’s not easy for a freelance translator to get started. There’s so much competition out there, which makes it difficult to stand out. “How am I different from other English <> Spanish translators?”, that’s the first question I asked myself when I started working as a freelance translator, filling out a significant number of profiles in different translation platforms.

design desk display eyewear
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Talking about platforms, check out my ProZ.com and Upwork profiles. These are excellent platforms to get work, especially if you’re starting in the business.

So, here are the Top 3 Mistakes New Freelance Translators Make:

Not pointing out what makes you different

When you are filling out your online profiles or updating your resume, make sure you explain what makes you different, better, or unique than your competition. It could be a specialization that not many others have; it could be your years of experience or some of the clients you’ve worked with before. No matter what it is, showcase it in the best way possible.

Accept meager rates

This is a controversial one because obviously when you are starting, you don’t have a lot of experience and both agencies and direct clients will probably offer you lower rates. It’s ok to start like this, but make sure that as your experience grows, so does your standards; you are entirely entitled to it and sometimes it’s fine to say no. For more on that matter check out my post How to Say No

Accept projects that you can’t handle

As a newbie in the business, the best feeling in the world is when you get your first big project! It is a milestone, but you have to be careful about accepting projects that you might not be able to handle. Sometimes we get a big project and we all think about the big payment it will bring, but we need to be very aware of the deadline and the kind of project it is (does it fall within your expertise?).

You might start working on it and then realize that you won’t be able to meet the deadline because it is more complicated than you anticipated. I believe that honesty is the best policy, so if something like this happens, make sure to communicate with the client and negotiate a new deadline immediately.

As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to tell at a glance whether you can take on a project or not and say to the client from the beginning about it.

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I’m sure you think there are other mistakes newbies make, but I think these are the top 3, at least in my experience.

Let me know what other mistakes are critical and let’s start a conversation!

Until the next time, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to receive the latest posts directly in your inbox!

XX

Do What You Love

Hello everyone!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but I don’t want to write about couples and significant others, I want to talk about doing what you love and loving what you do.

Not all of us get the opportunity to do what we love, at least not all the time. This means that we often have no choice but to settle for whatever is available.

And this might work for a while, but sooner rather than later we realize that we can’t be completely happy and fulfilled unless we get to do what we love most in the world!

So, the first step is to figure out what we love to do. What is our passion? What is that thing that we can see ourselves doing for the rest of our lives? Is it writing? Designing? Translating? It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is to make it happen.

I know… many times that means to take a leap of faith but we shouldn’t settle for anything else! We’re talking about our future happiness and that’s a big deal.

Depending on your passion, you should start a plan that leads you to it. It could be something simple like if you have a full-time job that you settled for, start doing what you love during your free time.

Once you position yourself in the market and start getting more clients and work, try to transition to a part-time job. And when you feel completely ready to take the leap… just go for it!

It won’t be easy, it’ll require big sacrifices and lots of hard work but if you believe in yourself and in your passion, don’t let anything slow you down or stop you.

Yes, having a job it’s important, making money matters, but why not have all of that by doing what you love to do? Just knowing that every morning when you wake up you’ll get to do what you love, it will make you not only very happy but also highly productive.

You might want to read my previous post Why Am I a Translator? to find out more about my passion.

We all perform better when we’re happy, and that happiness will spread to all the aspects of your life!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day, but don’t forget to love yourself and what you do.

I can’t wait to read your comments and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to be among the first ones to know when I publish a new post!

XX

 

 

 

3 Tips for Freelance Translators

Hello everyone!

This time I want to give you some tips I’ve learned along the way about being a freelance translator.

I probably don’t have the answers to everything, but I thought I could give some advice, from my own experience to those struggling to be freelance translators.

One of the first things you need to learn as a freelance worker (translator or otherwise), is to be disciplined, primarily if you work from home. The transition from working in an office to working at home can be difficult if you don’t commit yourself to a routine.

So, let’s talk a bit more about discipline:

You need to set a schedule. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you can slack around. Establishing a program will help you commit to your work.

Avoid distractions. You are bound to get distracted when working at home, so you need to find a private space where you can focus. You should also keep away any distractions like your phone (for no business-related matters), tablets, games, etc.

Make sure you have everything you need in your space. This will help you avoid more distractions by getting up and look for something and you end up being gone for more time than you should have.

Now let’s move to being organized.

Before you start your day, make sure that you have a plan for it. I know things can change out of nowhere, but having a schedule helps you to accommodate better anything that was not planned for the day.

What are your tasks for each day? What should you accomplish by the end of the week? Writing all this down will make you feel you have more control over your work and your goals. You can do this on your computer calendar, or if you prefer, in a notebook.

By the end of the week, you should go through your daily and weekly plans. Mark as done those you accomplished, and make sure to reschedule the ones that you weren’t able to meet for the next week. This won’t take long and it will help you stay focused on your goals.

My third and final tip, for today, is being persistent.

Set your goals and your plan to achieve them. This will help you to figure out what actions you need to take.

Starting in this business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, rejections, and failures, but you will learn a lot from this, and you need to turn the negative things into positive learnings.

Don’t give up. Sometimes, especially when you’re not landing any projects, you’ll undoubtedly feel like quitting. But this happens to everyone. It occurred to me, and now I can assure you that my persistence paid off.

I might return with more tips; in the meantime, I hope you find these helpful. Also, check out my blog posts about What Not to Do with Clients and How to Say No

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post and what content you’d like to see in my blog. Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe.

XX

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Hello everyone!

I’m back!

I must say I had an excellent social media hiatus and now I’m back with more energy than ever to start #2020!

Of course, as the new year starts, everyone talks about their resolutions. What they will accomplish that weren’t able to do last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, etc.

I’m not a big fan of resolutions because sometimes you can create expectations that are too high, and you’ll never be able to accomplish them, which will only lead to frustration.

If I’m going to make any resolutions, I want them to be as close to reality as possible and to be attainable.

So, here is my attempt at five simple new year’s resolutions:

  1. Keep my full-time job by doing my very best work, improving myself and always being open to learning new things I can help with.
  2. Continue to grow my business by networking with more potential clients and not depend only on what I have now.
  3. Make more connections, not just through social media but also face to face. We’re so used to all the electronic media available that we forget that real people are on the other end, people we should meet and connect with.
  4. Read more books! Not just about my field, but about any subject I find interesting and helpful, both personally and professionally. And keep on learning!
  5. Get rid of the negativity! Whether it comes from within me or from the outside, make sure to get it out of my life and focus on the positive side of things.

What do you think? Not that bad?

I think that if I keep it short and simple, I have better chances of achieving them. It is better to concentrate on a couple of doable things than on dozens of things we’ll never have time to reach.

What about you? Are you making any resolutions this year? If so, which ones? Feel free to share them in the comments; I’d love to hear about them.

This is it for today; I wish you all the best for this year! Be strong and never give up on your dreams! You can accomplish anything you put your mind and energy into!

Until next time, take care and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog.

XX

The Holidays Are Here!

Hi everyone!

I cannot believe it is that time of the year again! The holidays are almost here!

And besides it being a time to celebrate and spend time with your loved ones, it is also a time to reflect on what was this year like for us.

I mean, it’s not just a year that’s ending, it’s a whole decade!! So, we should reflect on the last ten years of our lives, and that’s a lot of time!

But I think it’s worth doing.

Ten years ago, I was very comfortable with a nice administrative job. I made good money, my bosses were great, and although there were times when my work would get me really stressed out, it wasn’t all the time.

I drove to the office and back. The traffic got worse and worse as the years went by and driving like that was literally affecting me physically. I had back pains all the time, driving in that madness got me more stressed than work, which was terrible!

Not everything was terrible, though. I made some of my best friends during that period, friends I’m still in touch with and who are essential in my life.

A decade ago, I never would have thought that I would become not just a freelance translator but an entrepreneur by the end of the decade. If someone had told me that, I would have thought they were crazy!

It’s funny how our lives can change so much in just a few years. Now, I can’t believe I stayed at that job for so long! Yes, it was good and comfy, but it wasn’t fulfilling my career or my life.

When I think about all the good and bad decisions I made in the decade, I don’t regret any of them. I learned from all of them, even the bad ones. They shaped me into the woman I am today.

close up of two flute glasses filled with sparkling wine wuth ribbons and christmas decor
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So, as the holidays get closer and closer, I have nothing but gratitude for where I am today, for having my family’s support and doing what I love the most.

I hope this holiday season is fantastic for you and your loved ones!

This is my last blog post of the year and the decade, so see you in 2020!!

Until then, take care and let me know how you are spending the holidays.

XX

 

Why Am I a Translator?

Hi everyone!

Recently, someone contacted me to ask what my experience has been as a translator because she wants to study translation, but she’s having second thoughts.

After reading this DM, I started thinking about why I became a translator and my journey to where I am today as a freelance translator.

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I graduated as a translator and interpreter many years ago. I wanted a full-time job as a translator, but I couldn’t find anything locally, and back then being a “freelancer” wasn’t very popular. In those days, we didn’t have social media or too many translators’ platforms to find work from home.

So, I gave up on my dream of working full-time as a translator and started working in several administrative positions in different companies, and I was a translator just during my “free time” like it was a hobby. The experience I got from those jobs was significant, I learned so much… But after a while, I would always end up getting really tired of doing what I was doing, and I would go off to find a new job in the same field.

About a couple of years ago, it finally hit me… I’m not doing what I love, that’s why after a while I get so sick and tired of these administrative jobs, I have to do something about it! And I finally made the decision to quit my last administrative job, which was a good one, and took the risk of starting a new career as a freelance translator.

woman in black long sleeve dress standing on brown concrete pathway
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It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure! There were moments when I thought it was better to stop trying and find another 9 to 5 administrative job. It took me a lot of hard work, self-doubt, desperation, and sacrifices to finally get my first full-time job as a freelance translator. Also, I am working with great clients who pay very well for other smaller projects.

Nowadays, social media and translators/freelancers’ platforms like ProZ.com, Upwork, etc., helped me a lot to network with clients and get projects to work on. They have also helped me to earn a reputation as a professional and reliable translator.

So, going back to the DM I got, I wrote back asking her if translating is her passion. Is she willing to take all the necessary risks and make all the sacrifices needed to succeed in this business, where there’s so much competition? If her answer is yes, then she should go for it!

Translating is my passion! I could not see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life. This is why I am a translator, and I could never go back to boring jobs that don’t fulfill my dreams.

What was your journey like? Was it easy or not to make the decision to follow your dream? I’d love to hear your comments and remember to subscribe to my blog!

Until next time, have a wonderful time!

XX

 

 

 

How to Say No

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about how to say NO.

As a freelance translator, I know how difficult it is to say no to a project or a client.

When we begin in this business, we can’t afford to say no to any work, otherwise, how are we going to find and keep clients? But many of those first projects are paid at very low rates or have tight deadlines and we drive ourselves crazy trying to accommodate.

After a while, if you are lucky, you begin to get more clients and more projects, some of which will bring a better payment.

So, you need to prioritize, which clients are bringing more work at better-paid rates? Or which projects are the ones that pay the best?

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook
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Here is when you will need to start saying no. Either because the rates offered are too low compared to how much other clients are paying you, or because the deadline is ridiculous.

Has it ever happened to you that you are asked by a client to complete a project, the same day, but they send it to you at 4:55 pm of that day, offering a low rate per word or per project?

You’d probably say yes and keep on working until late to get it done and sent. But when your business starts to grow, you also have to think about which and how many projects you can actually take, and which ones work best for you.

I know many people say you shouldn’t say no, but sometimes you have no choice. Saying no is not a bad thing, as long as you are very polite about it and you explain why you cannot meet the requirements.

It is not about getting in a fight with a client, it is about charging what you deserve to make for a certain project, especially if it comes with a tight deadline. You can say no or you can say, “I can do it, but I will need to charge you an extra fee for rush delivery or for a weekend surplus.”

I try not to take on projects during the weekend because it is the only time I have to spend with my family and with myself! Also, it is when I can run errands and do other stuff that I don’t have time to do during the week.

Also, I don’t take on long projects that have a 24-hour deadline. I know I won’t have enough time to finish it and proofread it, or if I do, I know it will be a rushed work that I won’t be happy with.

Of course, may clients say, “But it is not so many words, why can’t you deliver them earlier?” or “I thought you were available 24/7?”

design desk display eyewear
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I love my work as a freelance translator, but that should not mean that I cannot have any sleep or that I always have to feel like I’m not going to meet a deadline.

Your health and your sanity will thank you for taking the necessary time to take care of yourself. If you are feeling great, your work will also be great.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t make exceptions for loyal clients, but you have to learn when and how you can make these exceptions.

What has your experience been like? Can you say no? Let me know your thoughts on this subject in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

Until next time, have a wonderful day!

XX

 

 

 

Instagram Partnerships

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about Instagram partnerships.

First, what do I mean by “partnership”? I mean, working with a company that pays you to post some of their material on your feed.

I don’t use the word “influencer”, because to be one on IG, you need more than 10,000 followers and the posts become “sponsored” ones.

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Partnerships, is for those accounts with less than 1,000 followers, like me. I am close to 500 followers, not a lot in comparison to a true influencer, and this is why I was so surprised about a DM I got.

It was from a translation agency, and they pretty much told me how impressed they are with my posts and want to work with me to post some of their material so it reaches my followers.

I said I was surprised, because this is the first message of this kind that I have received since I opened my IG business account, and also because they were asking for fees…and I had no idea about what to answer!!

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Thank God for contacts! I immediately asked a very famous IG marketing expert and influencer, @elisedarma, if she could help me. And she sent me a link to a blog she wrote about this subject, which included a calculator to know how much you should charge someone for each post, depending on how many followers you have.

I also searched the internet for further information. I read that it was important, before discussing fees, to ask the client what their budget is for this project and what exactly do they need me to do.

Would they send me the material, ready to be posted or would I have to do some sort of designing? How many times per week was I expected to post their material? Did they want a regular picture/video post or a story, or both? Or is it just a one-time thing?

So, I asked the client that, and right now it is all about discussing the details.

I’m not sure if something will come out of this, but whenever I heard people say that you can actually make money from Instagram, I thought they were crazy and that it wasn’t possible…but now I see how it can happen!

I know I won’t be making buckets of money with such a small number of followers, but if one company has reached out, and if it works for them, this could mean that other companies could approach me to provide them with the same service.

This has nothing to do with translation, but I am always open-minded about learning new things and working on new kinds of projects.

Have you ever done work like this? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about your stories and how this form of partnership has worked out for you.

Don’t forget to leave your comments and follow my blog…I promise you won’t regret it!

Until next time…Happy Halloween!!

XX

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