Translation: Always Learning, Always Communicating
“The beautiful thing about translation is that you learn something new everyday,” says Dénis Wettmann, a freelance translator, consultant, and project manager we recently interviewed.
Dénis started his career as a translator in 2007 and currently works with his spouse in mainland Europe. He specializes in psychology and psychopharmacology, but is also skilled in non-scientific translations such as lT and general marketing. He has an organized and mindful approach to his work that helps him deliver consistent and well-structured content to his clients.
What steps did you take to get started in this career?
I didn’t actually start as a translator, but as an interpreter. I had an IT company in Germany, but made the decision to move to Ireland where I was asked to work as an interpreter and consultant for different government agencies. My transition to translation began at my University where I studied psychology and German linguistics and spent a majority of my time translating German literature.
What have you found to be the best 3 ways to promote your business?
Joining associations, word of mouth and LinkedIn. But, I actually do a lot of active promotions through my company where we call clients personally to offer them our services.
How do you network with other freelancers? If you network at conferences, which ones have brought you the most connections?
I haven’t really had the chance to go to conferences, but I plan to in the future. My main networking platform is LinkedIn because I often work with small agencies and it’s the best way for me to communicate.
How do you stay competitive in the translation market?
By constantly improving my process. It’s important to develop your skills by getting accredited and having those certifications. The beautiful thing with translation is you learn something new everyday. Most of the job has to do with research and really trying to master the translation, while the other part is taking intermediate steps and learning from those around you by saying to yourself, “oh that sounds interesting, maybe we should integrate it.” I make sure I’m always responsive and have a really, really high level of communication. Our customers are really happy, so I guess we must be doing something right.
With your experience using Memsource, what are your two favorite CAT tool features? Why?
My two favorite features with Memsource? Okay, that’s easy. I use Macs and there’s essentially nothing out there for Macs, so I love that Memsource is compatible with a Mac. It’s a beautiful thing when I don’t have to worry about compatibility issues while working on a project. Also, I can work in collaborations with my spouse, which is extremely important since we do a lot of the translations together. We can work at the same time and it’s really amazing to have access to one file continuously.
Obviously, there’s all the benefits we get with Memsource’s Term Base and the Translation Memory because it creates consistency and increases the quality of follow up projects. But, Memsource’s ability to work with a Mac and work in collaboration is incredible.
Do you prefer working with the cloud or an in-house server? Do you feel your data is secure while working with the cloud?
As long as it’s reliable I prefer working in the cloud and I can always download the files if I need them. The cloud is crucial because it allows me to collaborate with other translators.
What are your biggest expectations when working with a CAT tool?
Reliability. It has to be reliable. If it’s not working then I can’t deliver my work. Compatibility is also important. I always tell my clients upfront that I use Memsource and I usually don’t have any compatibility issues. I’ve looked at a few other CAT tools, but none have caught my attention, so Memsource has always been my main tool.
What are some obstacles you face as a translator today?
It’s all down to me to expand continuously. I don’t think in terms of obstacles. I think if a problem’s there, then I need to find a solution. There’s a market for everything and I decide which market I want to compete in. I talk to colleagues and look at online forums and while there seems to be a lot of issues, I don’t have the common problem of clients paying low rates or not paying at all.
What’s your best advice for your fellow translators who are new to the business?
Communication. This type of business has a very social and friendly environment and everyone seems to have their own different challenges, so communication is always something that’s very, very important for interpersonal skills. Also, it helps to be frank and straightforward so that you can make everyone’s life easier by not wasting anyone’s time.
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