Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Here we go again!

New adventure: translation.

I took a course in translation as an undergrad at NYU, and immediately was hooked.  I spent a couple psych lectures that semester working on a particularly finicky translation.  (It's not the lecture's fault that it directly followed my translation class!)  Ever since then, I've been translating something, at least once every week or two.  But it's always been on the side.  And I've never gotten paid for a single word.

Now it's career-building time.  Back in Brooklyn, ready to learn a ton and figure this out.  How does one build a freelance translation career, anyway?  I've hit the blogs, the American Translators Association website, the monthly meetings of the New York Circle of Translators.  I've started talking to people who do this for a living.  I took a job as a proofreader (and occasional project manager) at one of the largest translation agencies in the world, to get experience from the other side.

But the biggest "first" step I'm about to take?  I'll be attending the ATA's Annual Conference at the end of the month.  What a learning experience I will have, if I can overcome the learning curve.

My fears (of course they exist, and they are indeed plentiful) for the moment center on the conference.  What if, what if, what if?  What if nobody talks to me?  What if I don't learn a single thing?  What if this is just too hard?  It's like the first day of school all over again.

But any hurdle demands pogo stick, or a horse, or possibly a helicopter.  My current pogo sticks include:

  • creating a modest website
  • ordering business cards
  • sprucing up my resume
  • physically writing out a list of questions to ask people while chatting or networking
And my helicopter?  I'll be staying with a good friend of mine from high school who lives in Boston now.  Lifeline: procured.
(To be fair, I was considering staying in the conference hotel, which would have been a better professional option.  At the moment, though, my income is a bit too modest to warrant such extravagance.)