• Jasmine Heesaker

Updated: May 25

4 templates I wish I knew about when I was starting out as a freelance translator


Add these free templates to your freelance translation toolkit! You can thank me later.


  1. Email Signature Template

Since freelance translators mainly communicate through email, it is a great idea to add a professional email signature to the bottom of all of your correspondence. It will make you look more professional and potential, existing and brand new clients will have easy access to the information that matters most. I know that when I started out as a freelance translator, I didn't know where to begin with email signatures. How was I supposed to create one? How do they work? I found a really easy-to-use and customizable set of email signature templates from the Microsoft Outlook website here, that you can use to get started. Remember that the most important things to include in your email signature are: your first and last name, phone number, website URL and links to your social media platforms. Below is a Word doc. with over 20 different templates to choose from.


Email Signatures
.dotx
Download DOTX • 1.08MB


2. Invoice Template (that calculates totals!)


As a freelance translator, having access to a simple and easy-to-use invoice template will save you loads of time... seeing as any work that you do will need to be invoiced. The invoice template that I once again found on the Microsoft Office website here, is a great place to start. You can easily add in your personal information and then change the amounts (pricing) and client details for each job/agency/client. The invoice comes as an excel spreadsheet but once you input all of your details, you can easily save it as a PDF and send it off to get paid (promptly!). Many clients and agencies have their own specific invoice format that you can easily apply using this template. You can find the template that I first used to get my freelance translation business started below.


Customizable Invoice Template
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 66KB

3. Resume Template


When starting out as a freelance translator, you are going to need a clear and concise resume to send out to potential clients. As a rule of thumb, you should really try and keep your resume to 1 page and make it stand out from the crowd. Insert a photo of yourself (professional, of course), add your business logo and use colour! Try and show your personality through your resume. Many agencies and clients receive tons of resumes each and every day so make yours as attention grabbing as possible. I found a set of unique and modern 1-page resume templates on the Novoresume website here that can be downloaded for free. Tip: keep a PDF and a Word doc. version of your resume on hand at all times and only include the most important information such as: certifications, awards, memberships, education, work experience, CAT tools, specific skills and specializations. I have provided one of my favourite customizable templates for translators below.


Customizable Resume Template
.docx
Download DOCX • 49KB


4. Website/Social Media Banner Template


This may sound a little strange, but a nicely designed banner can go a long way. As a freelance translator, your online presence means a lot. I suggest creating a unique banner that you can use on your Facebook page, website, LinkedIn page, Twitter account... you name it! It really adds a professional flare to your business and allows those who you are interacting with online to know what you and your business are all about. The Canva website is great for this. There are tons of free (and paid) templates you can check out here. The website is super easy to use and you can save your work in several different formats. Below is one of my favourite simple and eye-catching banner templates to use. You can really go wild with this and change the colours, add your logo... anything goes. You just want to make sure that you include your name/business name, language combination and what it is you do—simple as that!


Banner Template
.pdf
Download PDF • 43KB


I hope these templates will help save you some time when building your freelance translation business!




  • Jasmine Heesaker

Updated: Oct 16, 2019



Below are a few things I learned about myself since becoming a freelance translator.

Taking the time to notice these things about myself has given me the power to become a more productive and efficient freelance translator. I am hoping that maybe some of you might see these traits in yourself as well and that my quick fixes can help you find a way to become and even better YOU!


1. I am extremely restless

Inevitably, as a freelance translator, you aren't going to be focusing 8 hours a day, everyday on translating. There will be days when you have time to twiddle your thumbs. These times of less chaos can be used to catch up on marketing, invoicing, professional development... you name it. It was these quiet times were really hard for me at first. I would get extremely restless, worried and anxious that I would never get asked to do another translation EVER. During these down times, I would double down on my marketing efforts and go into overdrive searching for new opportunities. I felt tense, impatient and uneasy. Upon recognizing the turmoil my restlessness was causing me, I knew I needed a fix. Upon reflection, I found out that blogging was something that I really enjoyed and that could be done during these slow times. It was a kind of win-win revelation. Blogging is something that keeps my mind from going haywire and begin doubting myself. My blog posts not only help me gain a little bit more visibility as a translator, but they *hopefully* offer some help to those who read them. If you were like me and just don't know what to do with yourself when left to your own devices, take a breath and then reflect on why you are feeling so restless. Look into blogging or creating content to help other translators... maybe just take the time to relax and take a break. Burnout is a very real thing. Stepping back and teaching myself to just breathe, helped me discover a new hobby and opened up a new dimension of my business.


2. I take things way too personally

When I first started translating, I thought I was prepared for rejection, feedback and criticism. Boy was I wrong! Every time I would receive feedback, was politely rejected or thoughtfully questioned, I would take it to heart. I immediately felt as though I was being personally attacked and felt really bummed out. Even if the feedback or criticism wasn't necessarily negative, my heart would immediately sink. I would instantly think that I did something wrong, or feel as though I was not good enough. Taking things personally is emotionally draining! As translators, it can be hard to hear criticism to your work. Translating is, in and of itself, a kind of reflection of your personality. It was really hard for me to teach myself not to overthink each situation and understand that any criticism or feedback I received was strictly professional and should be taken constructively. It's not like the person who was offering their interpretation of my work, knew me personally. The work I do and who I am as a person ARE separate entities. Keep your head up and just know that you can't control anyone else's feelings or reactions but your own.


3. I am hooked on social media

Nothing taught me more about my "addictive personality" than social media. In this day and age, social media is, dare I say, necessary for every freelance translator. As soon as I started my journey, I immediately set up business profiles on all the major social media outlets. Soon after, I began compulsively checking my Twitter to see if I had gained any new followers. I checked my Facebook page every hour to see how many people my posts reached and I would scour my website analytics to see how I could be getting more hits. Before starting my freelance journey, I barely used social media and I never thought I would be one of those people glued to their screen in hopes of gaining more followers or getting more "likes". That being said, there is nothing wrong with diligently and enthusiastically using social media. It really is a great marketing tool for freelance translators. For me, the trouble hit when I started noticing productivity issues. I was wasting so much time just scrolling through social media and not really achieving anything. That's when I knew I had to do something. I decided to actively schedule "social media time" into my daily routine, remove all social media apps from my phone and told myself that every weekend was a social media free zone. These quick fixes helped me reduce my screen time dramatically. If you struggle with social media distractions like I did, as a starting point, I recommend tracking how long you are spending online and and turning off social media notifications. Social media is great, but it should be used with purpose.


4. I crave human interaction

I'm sure many translators agree with me when I say that, in general, we are categorized as introverts, lone wolves if you will. I never really jived with loud office environments or romanticized the idea of working in a crowded café. I thought I would love working at home everyday, in a quiet space with no interruptions. Don't get me wrong, I do love the quiet that my home office offers, however, it can become deafening. After a couple weeks of unending silence, I thought I might go mad. This led to the realization of just how important human interaction is for me. I found that being home alone for so long drained my creativity and motivation. Who knew I would crave social interaction and the comforting murmur of unrecognizable voices? I think as freelance translators, it is really important to build our own group of colleagues that we can either see face-to-face in real life, on Skype video or call over the phone. If you identify with this feeling, you might want to consider signing up to use a shared workspace in your city, or make a pact with yourself to work outside of the home twice a week. You will not only get out and explore new things, but I think you will see a boost in your productivity and overall well-being.


5. I am a morning person

I never thought of myself as a morning person when I used to have to wake up to go to my 9 to 5. I hated getting out of bed every morning and I just couldn't shake the tiredness until I arrived at the office. If I would have had the option to start my day at 11, I would have taken it. However, since becoming a freelance translator, I am the complete opposite. I have noticed that I get my best work done in the mornings. I much prefer starting my workday at 7 AM. At first, I didn't want to believe that it was true. Whenever I would attempt to start my day at 9, as I used to, I just found myself getting sluggish and becoming unproductive within a few hours. I knew there had to be a better way. I began letting myself just start work when it felt right and I slowly settled into a comfortable 7 AM start time... and I don't even drink coffee! I guess I am just so excited to get to doing what I love. It took me a while to really find the right schedule for me and to discover when I had the most energy to complete my daily tasks. If you feel like you are struggling to get through you work day, you might want to experiment with your working hours. Don't just force yourself to work 9-5 because it seems like the right thing to do. Maybe you like to work 6 hours straight, maybe you need to work in 30 minute increments, or maybe you like working through the evening. Test the waters. As freelancers, we have the freedom to switch things up!


6. I am disorganized

Don't underestimate the amount of organization a freelance translator has to master. Between keeping track of project files, glossaries, term bases, invoices, quotes, business costs, marketing plans and more, I was not able to keep up. I couldn't make heads or tails of everything I needed to do. I would spend way too long looking for where I saved project files, I wasn't effectively keeping track of my business earnings and expenses, I was struggling to manage translation work and other business related tasks... talk about disorganized! I felt like I was drowning under so many responsibilities and I doubted myself for making the switch to freelancing. I always thought it seemed so effortless! If this sounds familiar, I recommend reading Tess Whitty's article on the ATA's blog, "The Savvy Newcomer". Her post really helped me put things into perspective and implement some solid new practices. Since becoming a freelance translator, I have really upped my organization skills. Staying organized is now actually pretty easy and I'm kind of obsessive about it.


What have you learned about yourself during your translation journey?

Let me know in the comments below!

  • Jasmine Heesaker

Updated: May 25


What would you say if I told you that translators with less than 3 years of experience are actually good for business?

Before reading: the term "newbie" translator is used throughout to describe translators that are newly entering the field of translation. This refers to translators that have less than 3 years of experience translating in a professional setting (i.e. translating as their main source of income).


As many organizations and agencies require their translators to have more than 3 years of experience, it can be hard for those new to the field of translation to find their first clients. That's where I come in! Below are 5 reasons why you should make a newbie translator the newest addition to your team.


1. They have more time

Having time on your hands isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most newbie translators have a lot more free time as they work towards building their business. This means that they have more time to commit to translating for YOU! Seasoned translators who already have a steady stream of clients can't commit as much time to translating for your company or organization. I would argue that when hiring a new translator for your team, it is important to consider availability. When assigning a translator to a new project, you want to be confident that when reaching out to them that they are ready, willing and able to help you out. Newbie translators are a great choice, as they can more easily help you meet the needs of your clients by being at the ready.


2. They are raring to go

Newbie translators are especially enthusiastic and ambitious. They possess a high level of personal drive towards future achievements and are eagerly seeking their opportunity to shine. In order to get noticed, newbie translators are often willing to take on weekend work, rush jobs or long-term collaborations. The world of translation is constantly evolving and in order to be successful, you have to be willing to push the envelope. Newbie translators, entering an already saturated market, know better than anyone that playing it safe is not how you get ahead. If you are looking for translators that can think outside the box, that are up on the latest trends and technology and that are in it for the long-haul, I strongly urge you to hire an up-and-coming translator.


3. They can handle criticism

Simply put, newbie translators are not stuck in their ways. They are open to change, are willing and ready to follow instructions and welcome guidance. New translators are often more receptive to feedback and can therefore evolve and progress alongside the growing needs of your company. A new translator will never forget their first client or the first agency that gave them the time of day; they will reward your choice by being a dependable and trustworthy counterpart. By building this reciprocal relationship with a newbie translator, you are building the foundation for a successful and loyal partnership.


4. They have experience

You may be thinking that this point doesn't make any sense. However, stick with me! New to translation doesn't necessarily mean no experience. I would argue that most translators have quite a wealth of work and life experience. Most translators aren't usually fresh out of university or jumping into translation as their first job. They have, more often than not, had another job or many other jobs, before they decided to enter the field of translation. That being said, many newbie translators are NOT new to the workforce. As an employer, it is important to consider how previous work experience, whether in the field of translation or not, can ultimately shape very competent, capable and qualified translators.


5. They are necessary for growth

Whether you like it or not, newbie translators are necessary if you want to breathe new life into your business. Hiring a new translator could mean a long-term commitment for your company or organization, therefore, if you are looking to grow your business by developing new ideas and innovative approaches, bringing a newbie translator on board could be just the push you need. Boland Jones said it best in his article The Importance of New Blood to a Startup: "Bringing in new creative blood to an organization instantly grants you a fresh set of eyes: someone who may be looking at your problems for the very first time. He or she is not choosing an angle based on months or years of prior experience. It’s tough in any industry to keep yourself distanced enough from a product or problem that you’ve spent years tackling to stay objective and see the big picture. A new addition to your company brings that distance."


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Disclaimer: I am by no means discrediting or putting down seasoned translators. I wrote this post to highlight the underdogs in the industry and help reshape the way we think about newcomers to the field of translation.



The Articulate Owl

Owl Girl Badge

+1 (204) 671 0114

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

©2017 BY THE ARTICULATE OWL.