Capital News: September 2016


September is one of my favourite months. As the start of the academic year, it also feels like a fresh beginning within the calendar year. The trees turn ochre, the air becomes fresher and the rain… well, the rain is the same as any other time of year here. My fresh beginning sees the start of a busy few months ahead. Plans include an appearance at the Language Show (see below), delivering my online presence module of ITI’s biannual SUFT course, finalising the programme for the Elia Together conference in Berlin in February and continuing with arrangements for the ITI Conference in Cardiff in May. I’ll also continue with my research into online presence for translators. I explain the results of a recent survey on this subject below, but I intend to explore each platform further, potentially looking at case studies of how translators have leveraged them to attract clients.

Key projects

Project highlights of September included an article for a new corporate web browser, a sponsorship case study for Amsterdam Gay Pride and instructions for, ahem, sex toys. I also worked on a monolingual English project, revising a magazine for beef aficionados. I had no idea people could get so passionate about a steak.

A good two-thirds of this month’s work was for an ongoing project translating content for a Dutch university business course. This module focuses in particular on cultural awareness when doing business in other countries, namely India and China. A lot of time is spent educating students on the cultural and religious history of these countries, and how Taoism/Confucianism has shaped Chinese business today.

Did you know for example that in Chinese businesses you should never say no to a superior, never give feedback to others, avoid conflict at all costs, never resort to whistleblowing or allow others to lose face?


Words translated: 49,572
Words proofread/edited: 26,299

French: 2,723 (5%)
German: 6,268 (13%)
Spanish: 2,623 (5%)
Dutch: 37,958 (77%)

Professional development

I took part in a webinar hosted by Rob Lunn on translating contracts, organised by ITI’s Spanish Network. Rob did an excellent job of explaining the different structures of Spanish and English contracts, and the sections that exist in the former but not the latter, but nonetheless require translating. He also went into great detail about what tenses should be used in what situations in English and clarified the proper use of ‘shall’ (implies obligation), a word that is often used erroneously in contracts where no obligation is actually implied and where ‘will’ would suffice. Take a look at this article to learn about the difference.

Online presence survey results

Q1In August, I carried out a survey amongst freelance translators on which online media and platforms they use to engage with colleagues and to attract clients (and more importantly whether they are successful!). The results are now in and I’ve published a two-part article on them.

The first part is an analysis broken down by questions. In a nutshell, LinkedIn and a website for professional purposes are the most popular platforms used to attract clients, yet respondents actually reported having achieved little success with them. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, were reported to be the most popular media for translators to engage with colleagues in the profession. The clear winner overall is ProZ, which remains a popular and successful medium for those who responded to the survey.

The second part is an analysis of what respondents said about each individual medium or platform. In addition to sharing their thoughts on each medium, respondents also stressed the need for an offline presence and the fact that an online presence should merely complement offline activity, not replace it.

Top articles discovered

Looking ahead

The major highlight of October will undoubtedly be the annual Language Show Live exhibition at Olympia, London.

It will be a busy one as ever as I chair a panel on Career opportunities in Translation and Interpreting on the Saturday and present a seminar entitled Translators: If You’re Not Online, You’re Invisible on the Sunday. I will also be on the ITI stand on the Saturday afternoon, discussing the benefits of membership with visitors.

Oh, and I’ll be getting married in October too!