All-powerful agencies, machine translation, pressure on prices: is this the future for freelance translators? If you’re struggling to attract and retain good clients, collaborating with peers could be just the solution. When it works, those who’ve tried it agree it’s the only way. As Joshua Shenk puts it in his book Powers of Two, when you go back and forth, your ideas, your ambitions, your efficiency, your ability – everything gets bigger. In fact, he firmly believes that “one plus one equals infinity”.
While we can’t promise that the sky’s the limit, we have experienced the benefits of partnership first-hand. We met at the 2017 ITI Cardiff Conference and saw potential in our complementary skills, experience and networks. Since then, we’ve translated a book, won larger projects from existing clients and begun bidding for jobs alongside agencies.
For this talk, we examine the ingredients of a successful working relationship drawing on our own experience, on the latest academic literature, and above all on interviews of our peers. We look at a range of different collaborations: pairs, teams, and partnerships with other freelance professions. We offer practical advice: how to find the right partner, what to look for, what to avoid, the importance of both similarity and differences. We also explore how collaboration not only increases a freelancer’s talent and professionalism, but helps them become entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, collaboration is not only a spur to greater achievement – it is a source of happiness. It removes loneliness, boosts confidence and makes work much more fun! Today’s digital and communication technologies (Skype, the Cloud, etc.) also make it much easier. Instead of letting technology squeeze them out, freelancers can use it to join forces and enjoy a lasting future at the high-end of our profession.
Juliet Baur MITI is a British freelance translator working from French and Spanish into English. She has an M.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and has been translating since the early 1990s. She started her career with the Banque Nationale de Paris in the Investment Research Department before setting up as a freelance financial translator in 1993.
She then gained first-hand experience of marketing and communication while working for Air France and the Frankfurt International School during her family’s expatriate postings in South Korea and Germany. She returned to freelance translation in 2007 and now specialises in corporate communications and creative, editorial texts. She is the winner of the 2016 ‘Translate in Cambridge’ French to English translation competition and is also a member of the Société française des traducteurs (SFT).
In her spare time, Juliet is an avid bee-keeper, a jam and preserve maker, reader, hiker, cyclist and swimmer. Juliet has lived in France for a total of 25 years and has laid down roots in Alsace.