Joining the Freelance Community: Transition from Student to Professional

“I’m fascinated by the way I can move ideas and perspectives from one language to another, says Joël Dongmo Dontia, a freelancer and a student currently working on getting his Masters in Translation at Université de Dschang in Cameroon.

Joël is using Memsource to help jump start his career as a freelance translator. His determination to excel at school and in the translation market will make him a great addition to the freelance community.

What steps did you take to get started in this career?

I started my career in 2014 when I began a translation training course at my University where I’m studying the translation of English and German to French. I chose translation because I’m interested in learning the culture of each language and I’m fascinated by the way I can move ideas and perspectives from one language to another.

I’ve noticed there have been big improvements in the machine translation domain. They’re so big that it’s not hard to imagine that translators will soon be useless in the industry. Luckily, creativity and emotional intelligence still put humans at an advantage.

Do you know what field of translation you would like to specialize in?

I like journalistic translation, but game translation is one of my favorite domains. I’m always looking at ways to gain more knowledge to improve my translations in this market.

What have you found to be the best ways to promote your business?

Honestly, I’ve found leaving comments on different articles and publications on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to be extremely useful. I also had the opportunity to network with other translation students and professionals at my University to talk about what they find fascinating in the translation market.

How do you stay competitive in the translation market?

As a student, I continue to master my language skills and stay informed about the changes in the translation market. I also train with CAT tools (Memsource) to know all the features that will help me stand out when I graduate.

Have you had the chance to use our mobile app yet? 

I discovered the mobile app just recently and it’s very useful to know I can view the progress of my jobs right in my hands.

What have you found stands out while working within the desktop Memsource Editor?

The desktop Memsource Editor is definitely something I’ve been waiting for because it was difficult to have a preview of my translations when I did not have access to Internet. It’s also useful when I need to split or join segments. In the past I was annoyed at how segments worked because they only applied to parts of a sentence and I had to search for the remainder in order to make my translation correct. But, now I can easily join the segments, resulting in faster and more efficient translations.

What are your biggest expectations when working with a CAT tool? 

I want to work with a fast CAT tool and I want it to be simple to use. Memsource fulfills those expectations and that’s why I like to use it.

What are some obstacles you face as a translator today?

Currently, a major obstacle is gaining experience in the translation market. I’m still a student, but I would like to work more so that I can learn more about the challenges I will have to face when I graduate. Another obstacle I come across is my lack of opportunity to attend conferences. If I had the chance to attend conferences in foreign countries I would do so, but for now I’m just looking for ways to boost my visibility on social media.

What’s your best advice for your fellow translators who are new to the business?

You must keep working to master your language skills and your knowledge of CAT tools. It’s also important to always stay informed about translation tendencies in your market.


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