Conference Confessions: Intimidating, yet Powerful.

 

CATI’s annual conference is coming up! (yay!) So, I thought this would be a perfect time to share how important it is to attend these type of conferences if you want to learn, grow and further your career.

There is a concept called “sharpening the shaw”, taken from a book written by Stephen Covey, which is one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This concept explains that you need to constantly preserve and enhance yourself since you are the greatest asset you have. Conferences help you learn from others that have been there, done that; they help you get inspired and come up with new ideas for your business and/or your personal growth; they help you improve your network: “you become who you associate with.”

I can write about one hundred pages of the benefits from attending conferences. However, since I do not feel like torturing you at this time (I am in a good mood today), I will tell you how attending my first CATI conference made a difference in my life. I promise it will be short and sweet.

I attended my first conference in 2016; I met about 10 people and exchanged cards;  one of these people referred me to an agency for a freelancing opportunity (thank you, Luz!); after I joined this agency, I met the owner; after I met the owner, I created a relationship with her; a few months later, I became the Marketing Director for this agency, hence landing my absolute dream job!

There you go. Simple and to the fact! Had I not attended the conference and met this person, there is no way I would have gotten this far, this fast. Not only that, but I met several other interpreters and translators that have been doing this for way longer than I have. They have been wonderful and are always willing to teach me, help me and guide me through my adventures.

Always be on the lookout for events that can help you grow personally, as a leader, as a business owner, as a professional, it doesn’t matter. You have to stay ahead of the game in order to standout and be your best. Conferences will certainly help you achieve continuous growth and excellence.

I cannot wait to see you all in April!

conference meme

 

 

 

 

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Great Business Resources in our Backyard!

sbtdc

Hello all,

Since I have started to do more research for my new adventure, being a Marketing Director, I have come across many different resources that I had absolutely no idea existed, and they are right here in NC!

Thanks to my very smart partner, we were able to get an appointment with two wonderful counselors from the  UNC Charlotte Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). How much did that cost? Well, prepare to have heart attack: nothing! The service is absolutely free, and they can advise you on so many different subjects! Small business ownership, certificates, licenses, how to create a marketing plan, and so many more I don’t even know about yet.

After a one-hour meeting, I came out with a huge to do list for our business. Not only did they give us guidelines, but they also referred us to other companies that offer some of the services we need in order to grow. As if this wasn’t wonderful enough, they will help us throughout the entire process, and the only payment required is your gratitude.

This service is not only available in Charlotte, NC, which is where I live. You can contact the counselors from any of the UNC campuses across NC. I strongly encourage you to do so, as there might be many things that you are missing out on in regards to growing your business simply because you are not aware of them.

My future postings, dear interpreters and translators of NC, will be showing you some of the specific tasks I have completed because of the initial meeting I had with these two great counselors.

Click Here to access their website.

If you know of any other services or companies that offer assistance to small businesses, such as those from freelance interpreters and translators (yes, we are all small business owners), please share them!

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Back from the Dead…the Busy Student Interpreter

busy-student

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being absent for so long! Let’s just say that good things are happening, but they all happened at the very same time. Hey, this is just one one of the many lessons of growth, so I will take it in gladly!

I am now on a new chapter of my interpreting career, yet still a student at the same time. I am currently learning about note taking, legal translations, and much more. I enjoy every minute of it.

However, the most important subject I am learning at this time is marketing. Why you ask? Well, because I am finally changing gears and leaving my regular job in order to pursue my dream job: Marketing Director for an interpreting company. Yes, life is good! It is also crazy, busy, stressful, confusing, but so good!

Since I have not written anything for so long, I figured this post would update you on what was going on with me, the student blogger, and to ensure you that I will be writing again with useful, informational and great material from everything I am learning at this time. As for now, I will actually ask you, my dear readers, to help me with suggestions on how to sell our services, create leads, increase website views, better social media activity, create marketing materials, and all of the other fun stuff that goes into making a company go to the next level!

Please, I am eager to hear your suggestions and recommendations. Go!

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The Intimidating Task of Creating my Logo

logo blog

“Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English–but are great in remembering signs” ― Karl Lagerfeld

If you have ever owned a business, or have worked as a freelancer, then you know exactly what I am talking about. You are not the only person that is doing what you are doing; there are many, many others out there; some of those other freelancers are a lot better than you are, simply for the fact that they have a lot more experience than you. The overwhelming beginning stage of promoting yourself can be intimidating when there is so much competition out there. However, us newbies need to look at it from another perspective: every single one of those seasoned, amazing and experienced freelancers started out the same way we did.

When it comes to starting your own freelancing adventure, there has been a common denominator from all the sources I have researched: create your brand. One of the most important aspects of this step is coming up with a logo for your business, in this case including the team of me, myself and I. Confession: I am a very impatient person, so I went ahead and sort of created a logo by myself, which I did not like. I realized quickly that my logo was something I was going to see every single day, that my clients would associate this image with my services, and that, eventually, many companies would come to know it as the image that represented my company, Quick Click Translations. Instead of using my brains for a change and hire a professional service, I created a second logo. I do not hate it, but I do not love it.

I just started listening to podcasts related to the translation business. I happened to come across a great one from Marketing Tips for Translators, hosted by Tess Whitty. The episode was titled “Outsourcing for Translators”, and the guest speakers were Corinne McKay and Eve Bodeux. All of the them agreed that outsourcing some aspects of your business, especially the ones that we know we are not good at, it’s not an expense, but rather an investment. If you read any entrepreneurial books, you will see that investing in the growth of your business is essential to your success.

The most important aspects of your branding, according to a class I took at the University of San Diego Extension, instructed by the wonderful Judy Jenner, are the following:

  • Value proposition
  • Message
  • Consistency
  • Repetition
  • Positive associations

I personally know a very young, vibrant and wonderful graphic designer. Her name is Claire Geary, and I am currently working with her in order to create my final and unique logo that will highlight my talents, personality and services. You shall see it once it’s ready!

What did it take for you to come up with your logo?

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My First Insight into Court Interpreting

wrong court interpreter

I decided to give myself a nice birthday gift this year, and there was nothing better than going to observe my mentor, Luz De-Castro Olaya, as she worked as a court interpreter! It was one of the few times I did not mind waking up very early in the morning, being that I am a night owl without a doubt, and not letting a little incident (cutting my finger almost to the bone), stop me from going to watch her and learn from her.

As I arrived at the Courthouse in Shelby, NC, I was excited and a tad nervous. In my mind, I pictured going into a high security building, with lawyers in suits walking all over the place like they owned it. As I went in, I was actually surprised to see how friendly all of the security guards were, and how laid back the environment was.

I entered the courtroom where Luz was waiting for me, and I saw her sitting right next to the court officials. At that point, I am thinking I am just going to sit where everyone else is sitting, so I proceed to do so. To my surprise, Luz calls me over to sit with her. All of the bailiffs were polite and friendly, and she introduced me to many of them. I loved the fact that she knew them, and was even cracking jokes with them! What a relief.

Finally, she gets called in to interpret. Contrary to the drama we all expect after watching movies that take place in courtrooms, the cases were short and to the point. However, witnessing the unspoken gratitude and relief from the people she interpreted for was far more exciting than all of those movies together. I cannot wait to work as an interpreter.

I want to say thank you to Luz, because that hour and a half that I spent with her increased my passion that much more. What interpreters do is not just a job, it is a passion, and it really does make a difference in people’s lives.

I would love to get some input, or comments, about how you felt the day you started to interpret, or the first time you witnessed an interpreter in action. Please share with us!

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My Resume: From Good to Great!

Resume Cartoon

I recently took a class called “Strategic Marketing & Branding for Translators & Interpreters”, and one of the lessons was based on how to create a great resume as a translator. Due to the fact that our profession is directly related to words and writing , we have an extra layer of pressure to have a perfect resume, with beautiful writing, without any misspelled words, and perfectly presented. Makes you sweat a little, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, our instructor provided an additional link for us to read about this subject: Curriculum Vitae That Works in the Translation Industry. It was written by Marta Stelmaszak, and it has many tips that are very useful.

One of the things I learned from this lesson is how important it is to personalize and customize your resume for a specific customer or project. I know it can be time consuming to have to adjust this document over and over, but, don’t you want to stand out from all of the other translators that might be applying for the same project you are? Don’t you want to go from being good to being great? Even if it takes extra time, and if I do not feel like doing it sometimes, I am certainly going to follow this rule.

Here is a prime example for you. I am trying to gain a new customer, and it happens to be a company that I worked for as an account manager. Imagine I send them my resume without stating that I have personally worked there, that I have specific and advanced knowledge about their products, that I personally wrote instructions on some of their internal procedures, and that I managed one of their biggest accounts. Do you think all of these details would make me stand out from other translators trying to gain their business? All of that information is extremely important and relevant to my talents and ability to do a great translation for this company.

Do you have any tips you can share with us about things that have made your resume stand out? I would love to hear other ideas that can help many of us!

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The Case of the New Interpreter’s Sweats

This blog is dedicated to all of my fellow students that are currently going through the early stages of interpreting, in which the interpreter’s sweats are a bit intense. The dedication is also extended to all of those veteran interpreters that can give us some encouraging words, advise, and share their sweat experiences with us.

Place yourself on the following scenario: you are on a live online class, with 6 people logged in from around the world, being watched through a webcam. The speech starts…it is time to interpret from language A to language B. Let the sweats begin! You know you got this, you are doing great and you are capturing every word from the speaker. Suddenly, that one single word comes up, the one you completely forgot how to say in language B, and the world stops. All of the following thoughts run through your head in about 3 seconds: “I forgot how to say that word. How do I say that word? Oh no, I missed 5 more words as I was thinking about that stupid word. Did I just miss an entire sentence by now? They all know I missed it, I can feel it. I am a disappointment. How am I ever going to recover from this? This is the end of my interpreting career. Can they see the sweat drop on my forehead? I am going to faint now.” As you are thinking all of this, you are not realizing that you kept going even after you missed that single, scary and intimidating word. You did not miss anything else, and now you are catching up on your comfortable stage of décalage. You survived this! Your thoughts completely change now, approximately 10 seconds after missing the word: “I did it! Holy cow I kept going, I am a rock star! I am up to speed. I am so excited I want to scream! but, I cannot, I have to concentrate or I am going to miss another word. I am going to be the best interpreter there is!” However, the most fascinating thing of all is: you were interpreting the entire time these thoughts were going through your head, and no one even noticed you were sweating. How incredible is that? Isn’t it the most amazing rush you have felt? How accomplished do you feel when you are done with the interpretation, and you stand up and feel 15 feet tall?

I live for the interpreter’s sweats. Do you?

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