Staying in touch
One thing that has changed my life as a freelance translator is a smartphone. The level of freedom (or, as some might argue, lack of) it offers is boundless. The main function for me, as a freelance translator, is the ability to pick up emails anywhere that I can get a phone signal. It means that if I’m not working on a translation project on a particular day, I don’t have to be chained to my desk. I can pop into town, go to a class or even go for a walk whilst still keeping in touch with my clients.
A wonderful example of this happened last summer. I had a few potentially quiet days (no such thing in the unpredictable world of freelancing) coming up and decided to take to the South Downs. My idea was to enjoy some fresh air, beautiful views and get a spot of exercise whilst being prepared for the fact that work might come in. I was always within walking distance of a train station that would take me to my sister’s place should I need an office to work from. So I set off on my merry way: the sun was shining, the summer was in full swing and I had enough trail mix to get me to Brighton.
A few hours in I stopped to admire the view, checked my phone and lo and behold my translation services had been requested! The delivery deadline was not for another few days and the project was a manageable size for me to be able to continue on my journey and complete it when I got back. I was even able to open the document and check its content before agreeing to do it. My client was inspired by what I was doing, especially when I emailed him a picture of the sun-kissed hills to brighten up his day. Had I not had a smartphone, I would either have spent the day sitting glumly at my desk or would have missed a valuable translation opportunity.
Another useful piece of kit in the freelance translator’s toolbox is a dongle. This picks up a phone signal that allows your computer to connect to the internet. It can be frustratingly slow compared to broadband depending on the strength of the signal in your area and the service provider you use, however, like a smartphone, offers the freedom to work away from home. If you haven’t been able to meet you own deadline because you are going away, you can take your work with you and complete it from wherever you are.