First published in March 2006
I always wanted to work for myself and after sampling the delights of a couple of different industries, I realised that translation would offer me a good way to do this. Although this wasn’t a career I had given much thought to during my primary education, I did have some idea of what was involved as I had covered commercial translation and interpreting as part of my BA in Applied Languages (not to be confused with a degree in modern languages!).
So I spent months reading everything I could about what it meant to be a professional freelance translator and the best way to start up, and decided that enrolling on a course would be the best way for me to build on my experience and further develop the skills required (although I realised, of course, that there are some very successful translators who are not formally qualified in translation).
I quickly realised from my reading that specialisation was the way to go if I truly wanted to make a living as a freelance translator. Based on this, I chose a course that would introduce me to a range of areas which I could then decide to specialise in as I grew more experienced (more about this in another post!). I then made what I now believe to be the best decision of all: I decided to do the 1 year course part time over 2 years. This allowed me to work at building up a small client base, while ensuring I had the time and flexibility to fully benefit from the expertise of the teaching staff. (I was also more than a little aware that it also meant I could make a quick getaway if I decided that the course was not for me, without losing too much time or money…)
I finished the course in 2004, and after working for a management consultancy for a year, I had saved enough money to go freelance full time. The contacts I had made over the previous 3 years proved invaluable, and I’m proud to say I’ll be celebrating 12 months of full-time freelancing in May.