This week, we caught up with Roy, one of Tomedes’ top translators, to find out his views on everything from finding clients to the future of the professional translation sector.
Roy is an English to Spanish translator who specialises in security/military, education, legal, general business and IT translation (software, games and apps). Demand for the latter is huge and still growing. Indeed, according to this research report on app usage by App Annie, users of the iOS App Store and Google Play downloaded over 90 billion apps in 2016, then spent nearly 900 billion hours using them. The staggering numbers highlight the need for professional app translation by hard-working linguists such as Roy.
In that context, let’s settle down to get to know Roy a bit better.
I have been working in translation for 13 years, including seven years as a freelancer.
I'm a fulltime translator, although I also do pro bono work teaching on weekends.
I started reviewing translations as part of my job at a publishing company, and eventually started translating some projects, until I finally decided to become a fulltime translator.
I'm a compulsive reader, devouring everything from newspapers to the last novel published.
You get to decide what you want to work on and who you work for.
There are not many bad things, but what bothers me most are short deadlines, particularly when they’re all at the same time!
Nowadays I don't. When I started as a freelancer, I used proz.com and translatorscafe.com to find agency clients. Now I've had the same regular clients for more than seven years, including Tomedes. From time to time a new client appears, but I don't search for them. Unless a regular client disappears, I like to stick to my client base.
Long ago I accepted, and never did it again, a job to translate a will, that ended being a photocopy of a handwritten document that was almost impossible to read.
Many, perhaps hundreds of projects. I turn projects down mainly for three reasons. The first one: I can't make it on time. I’m proud that I have never, ever turned in late a project.
The second is the format: I only translate CAT materials. I'm not a DTP specialist, so I don't format the documents except for very minor fixes.
The third is the topic: I only accept projects in my fields of work. I also don't accept anything contrary to my religious beliefs or with adult content, hate speech, or the like.
Yes, German and Italian.
I don't think this will be an issue, rather an opportunity. AI still is not actually intelligence, at least as we know it in humans, though machine translation will continue improving to the point where many documents will be fairly translated.
Nespresso machines have not ended Starbucks, or Juan Valdez. On the contrary, things that are well-crafted by humans have more value.
Translation is important in many ways, mainly because it allows people around the world to understand each other, enables knowledge transfer, commerce, etc. Without translation, you couldn’t even teach other languages.
Thanks very much for your time, Roy!
If you would like to hear more musings on freelance translation, why not browse the Tomedes translation blog for further inspiration?