3 Important Tools That Can Help You Translate More Words

What tools do you use as a freelance translator? Here are some of those I use almost every day:
  1. Headphones

    I use headphones when listening to music, but also as a way to keep out noise when translating. I don’t use them constantly, but sometimes it’s just nice to change the sound environment around you, and it helps me get more work done.
    An important feature of my headphones is that they’re wireless, so I don’t have to get entangled in a cord.

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  2. Noisli.com

    I use this web page together with my headphones to change the sound environment around me. It provides you with recordings of different natural and artificial environments, like being in the rain, the forest, near a fireplace, on a train etc. You can even combine the different environments as you want.

    Click Here to Learn More About Noisli.com

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  3. Linguee

    This is big online dictionary, that I use mostly for technical terms. It taps into for example the regulations of the European Union. It has a nice auto-suggestion feature when you’re typing in your search term.

    Click Here to Learn More About Linguee

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Do you know anyone who could benefit from this list of tools?

3 Valuable Web Pages For Freelance Translators

“Domain names and websites are Internet real estate.”
~ Marc Ostrofsky
  1. OmegaT Compatibility HowTo

    I often go to this web page to remind myself of the different formats that OmegaT is able to support. It’s pretty impressive since it’s a free and open CAT tool. You can also refer potential clients to this page, if you’re using OmegaT for jobs, so they can verify the compatibility with their projects.

    Click Here to Learn More About OmegaT Compatibility HowTo

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  2. The ProZ.com Forum

    Big forum with many different topics related to translation. For example tools, business, training, just to name a few. I think you can read it all for free, and if not, you can create a free account.
    A lot of translators with a great deal of experience are constantly posting here.

    Click Here to Learn More About The ProZ.com Forum

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  3. The ProZ.com List of Translation Agencies & Companies

    A list which today consists of 52,988 translation agencies and companies from all over the world. It has a nice filtering option.
    Knock yourself out.

    Click Here to Learn More About The ProZ.com List of Translation Agencies & Companies

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Do you know someone who could benefit from knowing about the web pages mentioned above?

How ProZ.com Has Impacted My Life in a Positive Way

The ProZ.com translation workplace was founded in 1999 and now has 746,746 users. Today, there are 16 people working for ProZ.com.

Translation speed level: Ludicrous

The translation marketplace today is filled with clients, who believe they can get everything for nothing. They expect to get a high number of words but in a short period of time. That is okay, that is the way it’s supposed to be in a free market. But there’s no end to it. I once received a 10,000 word document from a “potential” client, that the client wanted back in 2 hours! On top of that, it was in the law domain – I’m in the technical domain. Come to think of it, it might even have been with the two languages in the pair switched around! I do English to Danish, since Danish is my native language. The client wanted me to write the thing in English, which would lower the quality and add even more time spent on the job. And, on top of that, this is something I’ve seen several times, coming from different “potential” clients. Sometimes it’s even possible to follow the journey of a job around in the marketplace, as different translators keeps rejecting it as completely unrealistic.
I guess it starts out as one agency promises a high end client something, that they will never be able to fulfill, and then the game starts where they have to find someone new, who will make a new promise, and so on. But who’s going to do the job??

Experience

If you have been in this business for, let’s say 20 or 30 years, you can smell these crappy jobs from miles and miles away. You don’t even call them jobs, perhaps noise, and your noise filter is pretty well developed.
I’ve found that it’s very important to surround yourself with translators who have experience, and that’s what I’ve been able to do via ProZ.com. Even the clients here know, when the jobs are unrealistic. Or, at least they know they’ll get crap back from a job that is pressed into a crappy frame. And they can’t afford that.
I like to think of it as a high end job board. And I like to make high end translations.
Of course it okay to make a translation in a hurry if it’s good enough, but if it gets so bad, that it can’t be used, then what’s the point?

Sustainability

I like my translation business to be sustainable. I don’t want to work 20 hours a day every day, making crap because there’s still not enough time, and be paid to little and not be able to cover even my most basic expenses.
At ProZ.com most of the translators have a sustainable business and it’s a great place to share knowledge, via the forum, or by watching what others do, or reading their profiles.
I use the invoice system too, which is a great way to get started. The system keeps track of contacts, payment dates, what you have sent to who, and more.
Clients are approaching me with realistic jobs, because I have a profile on ProZ.com, and that takes a lot work off of my table, since it basically works as an automatic marketing machine – and that is a very cool thing to have 😉

Do you have stories from your life, that you want to share?

3 Translation Hacks That Can Help You Become More Productive

Looking for ways to become more productive as a translator?
  1. Use a smartphone for email alerts

    If you’re looking for more translation jobs, you can use a smartphone to notify you, whenever a new interesting job has been posted. If you’re able to reply fast, then you can help clients get more work done too, when they are able to send the current job to you quickly and move on to the next.
    Remember to turn off the notification on the smartphone if you want to stay productive when translating the job you landed.

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  2. Listen to music

    Most of the time I prefer to translate in a quiet environment, especially one that is free of words coming at me from the outside via sound, but it’s also nice to be able change the environment, and add sound. I have found that music without any words in it, for example some types of jazz. The music will help me get in the zone or flow.

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  3. Upgrade your keyboard

    The easier it is to get your words transferred to your computer, the easier it is to get more work done. There’s probably always a better keyboard out there, so get the best you can afford, to make your life easier. Things like size, form, backlight and how easy it is to operate are important, and also something to be aware of when you buy a laptop.

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Do you know someone who might benefit from these translation productivity hacks?

3 Most Informative OmegaT Videos

“OmegaT is used 1/3 as much as Wordfast, Déjà Vu and MemoQ, and 1/8 as much as the market leader Trados.”
~ Wikipedia.org
I think that is pretty impressive for a free, open source tool. Here a some videos that explain how to get started.
  1. First steps with OmegaT

    A nice introduction to OmegaT. Note, that there is a newer version available, so it looks a little different if you install the latest version.
  2. Machine translation in OmegaT for Windows

    Note that some clients don’t want to have parts of their source texts sent to Google and back, for security reasons. If you’re translating something that is going to end up on Google anyway, it probably doesn’t matter.
    In Linux you can start OmegaT via the command line like this:
    java -jar -Dgoogle.api.key=***** OmegaT.jar
    in order to activate the machine translation.
  3. Terminology recognition and auto-completer in OmegaT 3.0

    How to make life a whole lot easier by using the built-in glossary and tokenizer. Note that the current standard version of OmegaT is version 3.1.8.
If you love to watch videos and add your own comments:

3 Thoughtful Translation Quotes

If we encounter a man of rare intellect,
we should ask him what books he reads.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  1. I’ve always found that if I have the cohones to say no to a client who wants a reduction, 10 minutes later they come back and say OK.

    Tom in London
    In Denmark we have a saying that goes like this:
    “He, who holds the rice, sets the price.” 😉
  2. Translation can offer you a certain freedom of thought and action that is impossible in regular office work.

    Dan Lucas
    Get paid per word and you’ll have the chance to scale up your business. If you get paid just for showing up, you’ll get to a point where you can’t put in more hours. If you get paid per word, you can find ways to work smarter.
  3. If no one ever thinks that your rates are too high, that means that they’re too low. Or at least that you could be charging more.

    Corinne McKay
    Well, it’s a free market. In which situation are you able to help the largest number of people: being poor or being rich?
As a blogger you have a great opportunity to engage with other peoples thoughts and writings.

5 Lessons I Learned From Applying For Translation Jobs Online

What does it take to land a translation job online? Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

 

  1. As translation agencies and direct clients get bigger so does their time frame sometimes get bigger. I’ve learned that it can take months from the day you apply for a job until the client gets back to you. Then throw in a test plus review of that test, and you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to train your patience 😉 I’ve learned that it’s important that keep marketing yourself although it looks like absolute nothing is happening. Don’t play the waiting game.
  2. A lot of times the timing isn’t right. Someone else might get the job a nanosecond before you apply, or when the client finally decided to get back to you, you may have committed to another job. Lesson learned: Get back on the horse, and market yourself.
  3. Some clients have completely unrealistic expectations regarding price per word. You would either have to translate at a ludicrous speed to be able to have a life besides your translation work, or you would have to work, hmm, let’s say 20 hours a day, permanently.
    Remind me to check back with those clients in a year, and see how that is working out for them. It seems like a very unsustainable situation, and I’ve learned to stick to my rates in order to build a business for the long run.
  4. It seem like translators are divided on the question, whether you should do tests for clients, or not. I’ve learned that for the most part the tests that they use are very doable and don’t take longer than an hour to complete. You could easily spend an hour on getting yourself back and forth for a normal job interview. I would gladly do a test via email, and avoid traffic jams. Sometimes the tests are even interesting texts that will broaden your horizons.
  5. Keeping track of all your marketing efforts is a really good idea, to avoid applying for the same job twice, and to keep focus. What you focus on grows, and you’ll want your marketing efforts to be healthy.
Having your own blog is also a great way to market yourself.

3 Helpful Tools For Getting More Translation Work Done

“One only needs two tools in life:
WD-40 to make things go,
and duct tape to make them stop.”
 
~ G. Weilacher
Let’s apply some WD-40 to your translation business!
  1. OmegaT

    This is a CAT tool (Computer-Assisted Translation) that I have mentioned several times on my blog. I like it because it’s open source and free. It includes many features, like glossary and access to machine translation servers. It’s updated regularly and you can find videos on YouTube on how to use it.

    Click Here to Learn More About OmegaT

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  2. Linux Mint

    Just like OmegaT above you can also get an entire operating system for free. According to DistroWatch, Linux Mint is the most popular Linux distribution today, followed by Ubuntu and Debian. OmegaT runs perfectly on Linux Mint, which is used by many people around the world, so you can easily get support, if you run into technical challenges.

    Click Here to Learn More About Linux Mint

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  3. The ProZ.com Job Board

    At the moment there are “496,342 translation jobs posted”. You might find something you can translate 😉
    It contains a mix of jobs from agencies, direct clients, colleagues and more, with short, medium or long deadlines, you name it!
    Create a free account at ProZ.com to apply for the jobs.Click Here to Learn More About The ProZ.com Job Board

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Do you know someone who could need a little WD-40 in their translation business?

4 Useful Websites For Freelance Translators

Do you want to know which websites I go to that helps me make more money as a translator? Read on to find out.
  1. ProZ.com

    This is a large community of people working with language, if not the largest on the planet. You can have your own profile for free, and get access to directories of translation agencies and translators. There’s a forum, and it’s even possible to let ProZ.com handle your invoicing towards clients. You can become a paid member to get access to even more features. I go there almost every day.

    Click Here to Learn More About ProZ.com

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  2. TranslationDirectory.com

    This is a large portal for translation agencies and translators. I have set up my profile there, but I do not visit daily. Instead, I have set up job alerts in my language pair which gives me a good amount of potential jobs from job posts in my inbox. And also, agencies will often mass email translators in a particular language pair, and I often reply to those.

    Click Here to Learn More About TranslationDirectory.com

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  3. TranslatorsCafé.com

    Also a directory like the one above, and I use it the same way.

    Click Here to Learn More About TranslatorsCafé.com

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  4. MyMemory

    I find this a good place to look up very specific terms in specialized domains. I have mostly translated technical stuff, but I think it works in all domains.

    Click Here to Learn More About MyMemory

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Do you know someone who would benefit from the list above?

How OmegaT Has Changed My Life As a Translator

If you were a carpenter, wouldn’t you want to use a hammer to drive in the nails, instead of some random rock that you found lying on the ground?

 

My interest in translation started out when I was a teenager, hanging around in the family business. We would have these big machines shipped in from Japan for the production of goods, but the manuals were only in Japanese and English but not in our native language. That was a real problem when the machines would have to be repaired, upgraded or reconfigured, but I had an interest in technology and the machines, so I would dive into the manuals and translate into our native language, Danish. This turned out to be a great way to save money instead of flying in a mechanic from Japan to Europe, and I realized that there were money to be made doing translations.

Later I became interested in open source software, which has always been translated into multiple languages due to the nature of this type of software. Everybody is allowed to modify what they want, and that includes the language version. I spent a lot of time translating the Ubuntu operating system and the applications included. This was done via a homepage, and I believe it’s called cloud translation, or crowd translation. Many different people translating the same operating system or application.

When I was translating the manuals from Japan, I was working with a “dead” source text, i.e. pieces of paper with printed text. It was even before we started using a word processor on a computer.

When I later began translating other things, for example something from the Internet, I would use a word processor on a PC, with two files open next to each other, the source file to the left, and the target file to the right. If there was a word that I didn’t know too well I would scroll up to the top of the target document to find it again, and scroll back down. If there were similar sentences throughout the document, I would do the same, scroll up and down until my fingers were tired.

Translating unfamiliar words in the cloud or crowd environment would have me changing web pages again and again to look up the words again on the Internet.

As I began looking at translation as a way to make money, I was already on an open source platform, and I realized that of course there had to be open source software tools for translators too, without knowing what they would look like.

This is were the OmegaT program showed up in my search results – and what a relief. OmegaT is a CAT tool (Computer-Assisted Translation), that helps you remember what translations you made previously, but this was just the beginning, as it turns out that there are many CAT tools out there, both free versions and versions that you’ll have to pay for. A CAT tool helps me:

  • Remember how I translated a particular word or sentence previously
  • Have fast access to machine translations inside the program
  • Work faster
  • Be more consistent throughout the document
  • Build an asset of translation memories over time

OmegaT opened my eyes to the world of CAT tools, although I still use OmegaT today for translation jobs.

Now the scrolling up and down through documents is limited. I’m more consisted throughout a target document, and I’m building my own translation memory and terminologies for future use. It basically means that I’m more efficient when translating, and working is more fun now as things flow in a smoother way. On top of that I’m always excited when new CAT tool features are announced, that could help me make more money.