Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Change of Scenery

One common tip for freelancers, translators included, is to get involved in your local community. Nothing beats meeting people in person, putting your name and face out there, whether through business organizations, volunteering, social committees, whatever floats your boat. 

Moving, then, is a blessing and a curse. You have to start again from scratch, but there are so many new opportunities. And as it happens, moving out of a huge city to a more modest one actually works out in your favor. Highly.

In New York City, I got lost in the crowd. Even within the professional translator's association, I was just another face. And so was everyone else. People moved away, got busy, and fell off the face of the earth so often that no real community was ever built. There are too many groups, too many organizations, with thousands of people flowing freely between them.

But now, I have flowed definitively up to Rochester. Out of the big bad metropolis to a smaller city, full of small-town feel and village charm. There are lots of things for a translator to do, but each organization is the only game in town. The Rochester Young Professionals. The New England Translators Association. A strange being called Plüb that has spawned a matching Book Clüb. A university with an MA program in Literary Translation.

And because of these singular organizations, I've practically doubled the number of people and agencies that I work for. Already. I live out in the countryside, for goodness' sakes, and I've met more people -- more of the right people -- in three months here than I did in three years in NYC. This has been a most productive change of scenery.