What do translators need internet for?

There are a few services we take for granted, and we even can’t imagine our lives without them. Try thinking of having no electricity for 48 hours (those of you wishing for 2 days away from information overload and having candlelit meals just nod!), or no water supply for a day. What about switching the internet off for a weekend? Just for one weekend, it can’t hurt too much, can it? Unless you are a translator. It may not be true for everyone, but I wouldn’t have my job but for the internet. What do translators need internet for?

Work

Obvious, but essential. If we don’t have the internet, we’ll never be able to accept projects. Even if an agency makes the effort and calls us from a different continent, we still won’t be able to receive any files, and to send them back when done. The internet became the tool, replacing pen and paper.

Research

Yes, we all have our paper dictionaries, bought once for our translation exam and hardly ever opened afterwards. We still have our bulky encyclopaedias and dictionaries – my huge, almost 8 kilograms encyclopaedia travelled with me to 7 different houses since I moved out from my parents. But to be honest, they’re just for the show off. Internet resources prove to be much more reliable and up-to-date, if you know where to look for. I tried translating without the online resources once, and I hope no-one will ever have to do that.

Education

With the importance of CPD in mind, translators are bound to use online resources to hone their skills. The internet is getting richer and richer in valuable and reliable opportunities. Translators can attend webinars, presentations, read journals and books online. Translators can even get an MA degree over the internet!

Socialising

We don’t usually live close to each other. Translators, by definition of this profession, live scattered on the map. And taken into account our privilege to move wherever and whenever we want, we deliberately chose remote and beautiful locations, where we can translate in peace. But we do need to talk to our colleagues. We need to know we’re not alone. And there’s nothing better than blogs, Facebook, Twitter, you name it!

Marketing

This point is my favourite. Imagine that there’s no internet, and you have to advertise your services somehow. Even if you go to the most international and multicultural city in your area, can you actually imagine giving out leaflets to passers-by, pretending that translation services are as popular and as wide-spread as hair-dressing or beauty therapy? The internet allows translators to target their marketing efforts at those who may really be interested in having something translated. And compared with costs associated with traditional marketing, online solutions are more than affordable.

Written by Marta

A Polish English translator and interpreter, she helps freelance translators kick off their careers and she also assists companies in growing their translation businesses. Visit her at http://www.wantwords.co.uk

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