It’s time to take a look back to acknowledge last year’s challenges and accomplishments.
Thinking, planning, redesigning…
Moving to Brussels has been a great change in my life and that reflected significantly in my work. I guess being in a foreign country makes you think more deeply about why people should be interested in your native language. What value does it has for them? Is it worth the investment? Who might be interested in it and why? I have been giving this a lot of thought lately and, so far, 2017 was the year I did the most planning, preparing and redefining of everything that concerns my business.
A year of challenges
With so much to take care of in my personal life, I ended up being more selective in the amount of work I could take on. This led me to the situation I dread the most in my job: saying no. As much as I love being busy and being able to help out whoever needs my services, this was the year I most carefully chose the jobs I would accept, directing my work almost exclusively at creative translations and concentrating all my marketing efforts on a small but specific and well-defined niche.
New subject field
As part of my decision to translate almost exclusively in certain subject fields, I started my specialization in a new field: interior design. I have done a significant amount of work in this field and I am truly loving it. Not totally unrelated, I decided to buy a house and renovate it, so I hope to put all that research to good use pretty soon. And I might even end up being a client of my translation clients. It’s the ultimate test to see if they’ve got truly appealing copy from me. We’ll see about that!
Living in Brussels, I’m basically a couple of hours away from dozens of interesting cities and I have been taking advantage of that as much as I can: after driving around Belgium and getting to know Antwerp, Leuven, Brugge and Gent, I also paid some visits to Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Hamburg and Cologne. Unsurprisingly, these last two made me realize just how rusty my spoken German was and led to my decision to enroll in the Goethe Institut in Brussels, for that long needed improvement of my German speaking skills. Emerging in the German culture on a more regular basis has quickly started to pay off and exchanging messages with my German clients in their own language is also a wonderful exercise.
As a freelance translator, one of the things you can do when you move to a different country is look for a community of professionals you can relate to, work with, talk to about your challenges and new opportunities or just meet up for lunch or coffee and get out of the office (house) for a while. In 2017, I had the opportunity to meet new colleagues from all around the world, working in the most varied fields and language pairs and it was the most enriching part of my year. Let’s see what 2018 has in store for us all.
2017 in words and figures: this year, I worked on 618 translation projects, consisting of nearly 600,000 words and I welcomed 6 lovely new clients.