Way back in October/ November, I was lucky enough to win a Twitter giveaway held by the lovely Sara Colombo by describing #myt9nstory – here’s my answer in case you missed it:
— Carol Bidwell (@carol_bidwell) October 27, 2013
As part of the prize, Sara sent me a copy of her book ‘Balance your words: Stepping in the translation industry’. What with Christmas, and work (!), writing a review of the book has taken me far longer than it should, but that’s life I guess. Anyway, better late than never, here goes!
Balance your Words is described on the back cover as a “fresh, witty insight into the translation industry” and that’s exactly what it is. Sara uses her own personal experience to create a book full of useful information for any newbie translator, or any other type of freelancer really! Short chapters are to the point and deal with topics ranging from social media, to health (one of Sara’s specialties!) and what to do when you feel like quitting.
One thing I really like about Balance your Words is that Sara doesn’t sugarcoat the freelancing life. It’s true that at times, everyone struggles, and Balance your Words shows you that you aren’t alone.
Top three things I took away (oh how I love a good list):
1. Use your personality
As Sara writes, “You are your brand.” The advantage we as freelancers have over corporate structures is that we can be flexible, and put an individual face to our businesses. I hadn’t ever thought about the differences between personal and corporate branding before, and it’s something I’ll be thinking about more in coming weeks.
2. Set up solid rules
This is something I am really not very good at. When I’m working, everything else goes out of the window and suddenly it’s 7:30pm, my boyfriend comes in the door and I realise I haven’t moved an inch in over ten hours. Yesterday, I came across an article (thanks to Caroline for sharing it) which reinforced Sara’s ideas – I’ll be setting an alarm for meal times from now on!
3. Create a portfolio
As I’ve mentioned on this blog, one of my goals this year is to get more direct clients. Sara mentions having a portfolio of texts to send to a client as a good marketing strategy, and it’s one Marta mentioned during the Business School for Translators course too. Do you have one? How do you present it to clients? I’m interested to know how you can use a portfolio in ‘real life’!
Overall, Balance your Words is a great introduction to freelancing and translation, and gives a very honest, personal and positive overview of the profession.
Disclaimer: I received the book for free as a prize, but with no requirement or request to review it here! I just wanted to share my thoughts on it.