Five essential IT tips for freelance translators

by OFER TIROSH 29/11/2017
Five essential IT tips for freelance translators

When you work freelance, the buck stops with you. This is the case for financial admin, marketing and a range of other tasks – including the health of your IT setup. If you’re not au fait with technology, there’s never been a more important time to learn! In order to provide a professional translation service, you need to have the right tools and to maintain them properly. That means suiting your IT kit to your own needs and those of your clients, then keeping it ticking over nicely. 

Of course, this doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so here a five essential IT tips to ensure that you remain on top of things. 

Run a virus scan

When you work as a freelance translator, you have to protect not just your own data, but also that of your clients. Even with decent anti-virus software in place, it’s worth running a full virus scan every so often just to double check that no malicious code has sneaked onto your machine at any point. Even if the scan finds nothing, it will give you peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to protect your IT equipment and data. 

Use business management tools

Just because you work freelance doesn’t mean you can’t organise your business properly. Tools like Trello provide a modern way to manage your tasks efficiently, while Slack is a great way to communicate with clients if you have queries while working on a translation. There’s a reason why such programmes are popular – it’s because they can make your working life easier, and who would object to that?

Budget properly for your IT equipment

There can be a strong temptation when you work freelance to cut costs when it comes to your IT equipment. However, saving a few pounds on a laptop might not be doing you any favours if it means that the machine you purchase slows down your workflow. 

Providing a professional translation service means having the right equipment to hand. If that means spending more on a computer, then accept that that’s the case and do so. There are bound to be other areas of your working life where you can cut costs or increase income in order to balance the books. 

Consider each individual aspect of your business

When it comes to IT solutions, the world is your oyster. The explosion of technology over the past couple of decades means that there’s a program or an app to support whatever you want to do. As such, take look at each part of your freelancing in turn and consider what could help you to provide a more professional service. For example, a professional email program can do wonders for the impact of your marketing and many offer a basic package for free. Similarly, using professional accountancy software can elevate the standard of your invoices (and the way in which you manage them) significantly. 

Hand-pick your translation tools

If you want your translation service to stand out from the crowd, it’s time to review the translation tools that form your IT setup. Different people prefer different tools, just as they prefer different foods, cars, holiday destinations and so forth. Therefore, there can be plenty of benefit in shopping around and trialling different tools before you settle on the right ones for you. 

Decent computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, website and app localization platforms, design and desktop publishing software and subtitling tools, can transform the speed at which you produce your translations, as well as making the process of doing so more enjoyable. Working more efficiently means you have the benefit of extra time available – which you can either use to earn more money or to enjoy additional leisure time. Either way, having the right translation technology in place can make a big difference. 

Final thoughts

When did you last review your IT setup or run a virus scan? Are you doing all you can to use IT to ensure that you deliver an ultra-professional service? Share your experiences with your fellow translators by leaving a comment below. 

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