• 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
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
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
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
Download PDF • 43KB

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

  • Jasmine Heesaker

4 quick tips to help you make the most of your summer, and maybe even get a tan!

The image below is what inspired me to write this post... As translators, we spend a lot of time indoors, it's just a simple reality. However, we don't have to feel cooped up indoors and end up overworking ourselves. We too can enjoy the outdoors and maybe even enjoy this elusive thing people call the "sun."

1. Take an actual vacation

This may sound obvious, but there are so many freelancers out there that don't know how to sit still. Don't feel that you have to stay cooped up inside all summer and not get out and enjoy the good weather. Many of us, myself included, live in parts of the world where we have to endure cold long winters. Take advantage of the extra long days and warm sunlight. Taking the time to separate yourself from your work and focus on your family and friends is SO important.

2. Get moving

Don't stare out longingly from your office window at the beautiful sunshine. You are allowed to take breaks! Take a quick walk around the block, sit out in the backyard or patio or move your daily dose of exercise outdoors. It doesn't have to be long, and your body will thank you for the great boost of vitamin D. It's amazing what just 15 minutes can do! It may be just what you need to refocus your attention and get back to grinding out that translation magic.

3. Change things up

Summer is the perfect time to change up your usual routine. With patios open around every corner, sunny docks and beachside cafes within driving distance, there is no excuse to not try and take your work somewhere else for a change. That is the beauty of freelancing after all, is it not? I know that my creativity, mental health and overall well-being really benefit from changing up WHERE I work.

4. Network

There is always so much going on in the summer, so it is no wonder that I think it is the best time to get out there and mingle. Festivals, conventions, trade shows, you name it! Use the summer months to focus on professional development. We all need a break from pumping out translation after translation. Who knows, improving your skills and growing your network may just make the rest of your year even more productive!

What do you enjoy doing the most in the summer? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Jasmine Heesaker

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

If you have never heard the term "workcation" before, it can simply be described as a vacation that one spends getting work done/working. This trend is becoming increasingly popular among freelance workers. Being a travel junkie myself I decided to give it a shot! My husband and I planned a 3-week trip to Ireland to visit family and friends and I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to try and find that balance between vacationing and working (if it even exists).

Prep: The week before we left, I emailed various clients and agencies that I work with letting them know that I would have limited availability during the 3 weeks I was away. However, I explicitly let them know I was still keen on taking jobs if they came up. By "limited availability" I meant that I wasn't eager to take on a 10,000-word job on cognitive biases but would be more than happy to translate a 1000-word blog post. And not to forget the time change...that would also be something to contend with. I normally work in Central Standard Time (and so do most of my clients) and I was going to have to cope with working in Irish Standard Time. The time difference was 6 hours, which worked out to 6 AM CST becoming 12 PM IST.

Week 1: We arrived in Ireland and immediately went to find a SIM card. My theory was that if I was going to continue working for the 3 weeks we were abroad, I was going to need data. In the event, we couldn't find free Wi-fi, I could tether my laptop to my phone and poof, translating would be possible ANYWHERE. 20 euros later and we scored 20 GB of data on weekdays and unlimited GB's on weekends for the entirety of our trip. Easy! And so, I was thrown into the lion's den. Almost immediately after acquiring the precious data, I received a translation request through email. I was excited and a little nervous to take on a translation so quickly after arriving, but I felt confident that I could handle it. I knew I would have a comfortable place to go to every evening to carve out a few hours to while away translating. We were staying with family and friends, but also at the odd hostel or Airbnb. The time change wasn't actually too bad to contend with and kind of worked in my favour. As I was just finishing up day-time adventures in Ireland, the day had just began back in Canada. In my first week, I took on 5 new projects. Not bad if I do say so myself! I managed to maintain part-time hours all while enjoying a new country.

Week 2: Things were sailing along at this point. I had gotten into a kind of groove and knew where, when and how I worked best. One slightly annoying thing about trying to accept translation jobs on the go is that I often felt ill-equipped (time-wise) to allow myself to accept jobs that exceeded 1500-2000 words. I just felt that I wouldn't be able to scrape out enough time every evening to do a really good job and feel confident in what I had translated. That left me with many small, but interesting jobs sprinkled throughout my 3 weeks. I think that is one of the main things I learned about myself when doing this little experiment. I learned just exactly how quickly and efficiently I can work when being continuously tossed into new environments. I am someone who loves routine and stability and I think that workcationing tested my ability to adapt to different working conditions and situations. In my second week, I added 5 more jobs to the "done and dusted" pile.

Week 3: I was honestly getting a little tired by week 3... but that didn't get me down. The awesome thing about freelancing is that YOU get to CHOOSE your own hours. So, I just took on less jobs. As for using data and Wi-fi... I only ended up having to use data for translating a handful of times when we were staying outside of a town area. I am however, happy to report that it worked smashingly (better than a lot of the Wi-fi I had to use). By the end of week 3, I was looking forward to getting back to my home office. I love what I do and was even more excited to get back to a more stable work environment so I could take on bigger and better jobs. In my third week, I only managed to take on 2 new jobs.

My thoughts...? I truly think that it's possible to be productive during a workcation. Let me caveat that with, depending on how you like to "vacation". Personally, when travelling, I like getting up early and seeing the sights during the day and then taking time to recharge and relax in the evenings. Let's be honest, the only places that are open past 6 PM in the UK are pubs and convenience stores. Once we were done exploring, hiking or wandering around, we would meander back to our cozy abode for the evenings where I could put up my feet and jump on my laptop. My husband and I were also pinching pennies a bit and cooked our own suppers or had suppers cooked for us most evenings. I let my husband do the cooking and I focused on translating. Of course we DID go out to pubs, live music shows and enjoyed a night out a handful of times, but that was only because I was able to strike a balance between the work that I took on and the time that I had off. For me, the hardest part was actually having to turn down work orders and projects that I would have normally pounced on. It pained me a little to let some of them slip through my fingers, being the translation nerd that I am. I am also really luck to be able to work with really great clients and agencies that allow me some flexibility when it comes to turnaround times. And, because they knew I was "limiting" my availability were more than accommodating.

It was a really fun and interesting experiment for me, but I don't think that it's for everyone. I hate to admit it, but workcationg isn't just sitting with your laptop on the beach or sipping cocktails on a rooftop terrasse (like the picture above might suggest). It can be a bit stressful and even a bit of a bummer sometimes to have to limit yourself when abroad. I also don't think that every vacation should be consumed by work. However, if you want to go on a trip somewhere, maybe you've been there 3 times, maybe you are visiting family and friends, or maybe you are going for the first time, why not try it out and see if it can work for you? There really is no harm in trying!

Have you ever tried workcationg? Did it work? Did it not work? Is a workaction something you would try?

Let me know in the comments!

The Articulate Owl

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+1 (204) 671 0114

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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