written in collaboration with Adam Earl.
Whilst it’s always important to stay up-to-date in your field regardless of your working arrangement, freelancers are perhaps required to do so to an even greater extent. As a freelancer, staying professionally relevant can make the difference between taking your career to the next rung on the ladder or failing to maintain an active client base.
In this Translators’ Hub post we’ll take a look at five different ways to stay professionally relevant in your field.
1. Invest in internet resources
Starting with the easiest and most obvious point of action, make sure to invest time in the pursuit of internet resources. Social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook have a number of segregated communities for freelance translators, and forums such as proz.com serve a similar purpose. You can bet that any changes or significant trends in your field will be discussed there, so be sure to sign up and participate! Moreover, the Internet is also home to useful translation-related webinars, newsletters and blogs that can provide an invaluable resource to freelance translators.
2. Don’t neglect offline resources
The boundaries between offline and online aren't as clearly defined these days, and most 'offline' resources will have some sort of online presence. But there are still communities that primarily interact without the internet, and perhaps on of the biggest oversights one can make when trying to remain professionally relevant is to overlook these resources. By doing a bit of research, you might find local interest groups dedicated to either translation or your specific translation niche. And translation conferences are another great was to stay up-to-date and make new contacts. Perhaps one of the biggest oversights one can make when trying to remain professionally relevant is to overlook the importance of offline resources. By doing a bit of research you might find local interest groups dedicated to translation in general or your specific niche in particular, and translation conferences are another great was to stay up-to-date and to meet new contacts in person.
3. Find news sources relevant to your translation niche
As well as staying on top of developments in the field of translation, if you primarily serve a specific niche with your translation services then it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date with developments in that field too. Finding some news resources and subscribing to updates on Twitter or via RSS is a quick and easy way to keep on top of industry-specific news without having to make a significant time investment. Additionally, if your sector has a specialist publication, such as a top-tier journal or magazine, then it’s well worth taking out a subscription.
4. Benchmark the job market
Thanks to The Guardian for this particular tip: try looking at job advertisements for translator positions similar to that of your own. From the job descriptions and required competencies, you can get an idea for what potential clients will be looking for from your freelance service. indeed.com and upwork.com are great places to start looking, and it doesn't really matter whether the advertised role is for an in-house job or for a freelance position – you only need to get an idea of what employers are currently looking for from translators, tipping you off to new requirements and expected competencies in the field.
5. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself
Disruption is a normality in today’s workplace – the economy is in a state of flux and the marketplace for different businesses and sectors can change seemingly overnight. When you find that your sector is facing significant disruption, refocusing your priorities and services isn’t admitting defeat. For example, if you find that mobile app developers are no longer willing to pay for translators when crowd-sourced, volunteer localization seems more cost-effective, then why not pursue a related field, such as translating technical documents for commercial software? In short, evolve your translation career with the market.
How do you stay professionally relevant? Did any of these five tips especially appeal to you? Let us know what you think below.