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Learning Resources for Continuing Education

It doesn’t matter what stage of work and life we are in, we should never stop learning. It is easy to recognize the importance of this oft-given advice but in real life it can be difficult to put it into practice. Sometimes it is hard to save some time in our busy lives or to decide to spend some money on it, as postgraduate education and specialization courses usually doesn’t come cheap.

The good news is that with the emergence of new technologies, we have a lot of resources for expanding our skillset and continuing education at our own pace – and sometimes with any cost.

Depending on what you want to learn, there are a variety of websites that provide training and different educational materials – like downloadable books or articles– for anyone who wants to log in. Simple as that!

  • Coursera is one of these well-known platforms. Provides users with over 400 courses from top universities all over the world and about the most diverse topics. After passing the evaluations and for a small fee, Coursera will issue a certificate of completion that you can share with your network.

  •  Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning is an online library with a huge collection of instructional small videos covering the latest software, business, and creative skills. This method allows you to focus on a specific topic and they are all taught by recognized experts in the field. 

  • To grow your knowledge and keep up with the new developments in your field, the best thing to do it is to read broadly and often. Your reading list should go beyond regular news and saving some time for it everyday is totally worth it. To avoid the distractions of the endless search process until you find something interesting, you can use a news aggregator like Feeder or Feedly. The content is collected from websites via users, webmasters, or RSS feeds and you can create your own reading space by saving the content you like and subscribing to your preferred sources of information.

At first, deciding what to learn can be intimidating, as there will be hundreds of topics to choose from. Start with broad industry knowledge related to your field, which can help you focus on the areas that most spark your curiosity. For example:

  • It can be useful to know the basics of coding. This can be a daunting task, as there is not one best programming language to learn: it will be different if you want to build an interactive website than a mobile app or video game. HTML and CSS are considered good points of entry and the key to success and progression is practice. 

    Signing up for a certification courses from Udacity or Treehouse is a very good idea, as these offer the opportunity to ask a tutor for help instead of having to solve your coding mistakes or questions alone.

    Also, the community in GitHub –a platform designed for collaboration– is full of people who are willing to help the next generation and they’ll give you valuable advice.

  • Who hasn’t thought about learning a new language? There are really no secrets or shortcuts, you just have to dedicate yourself to it. Look for good resources to start on your own – like textbooks and practice exercises–; but I am still a firm believer that if you can invest some money and time, a private tutor or group classes is definitely the best way to start.

    You will master a language by using it, so learning from foreign language media can help you too. For example, FluentU uses real-world videos like music videos, trailers, and TV shows and turns them into language learning exercises. It’s a dynamic way to pick up useful and daily vocabulary and to learn with context.

Keeping things fresh you will sustain your professional creativity and passion, while learning keeps you relevant in your ever-changing industry.

 

How to Get Started as a Freelance Translator

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Translation is a popular choice for global citizens who master one or more languages, and who want to start working independently. What does it take to become a full time translator? How can you kickstart your career once you've made up your mind?

1. Education and Skills

It should be obvious, but do not start marketing your services until you have acquired specific skills and some experience translating for several companies or clients.

There are numerous degrees offered by universities around the world that prepare translators and interpreters, and I would not recommend starting off without some formal education in the field. Translation tools are quite complex, and some skills can only be learned from experienced translators or interpreters who will pass them on to you.

2. Specialize!

As an agency, we receive dozens of applications every day, and it can be hard to understand what someone's strengths are. We would rather hear that a translator is specialized in banking and finance only rather than suggesting that he could handle any domain including medical, legal or automotive translation. Picking a few areas of specialization will be far more rewarding in the long run.

Some specializations to consider:

  • Marketing and creative content: high value since the content has to be impactful. Content will be short so adjust rates accordingly.

  • Literary: this is a great option if you are really passionate about literature or about a particular field (sports, arts, etc.).

  • Legal: to be considered only if you have legal training. The best legal translators are also paralegals or lawyers.

  • Technical: although intimidating, technical translation is mostly about being methodical and paying attention to detail. When leveraging CAT tools, it can be a profitable option for translators.

There are a LOT more areas one may consider specializing in. At the end of the day, the best area of specialization is the one only you can do, due to your particular background and interests.

One may also consider specializing based on specific media:

  • Subtitling (or even voice-over),

  • Websites (it helps if you have basic coding skills),

  • Sophisticated brochures, if you can handle InDesign or similar files too.

In a world where a lot of people claim they can translate anything, it pays to be specialized and to stick to what you're the best at.

3. Finding clients

Once you have chosen your area of specialization and the type of service you intend to provide, what is the best way to find clients?

  • Use your network: update all your professional profiles online, and let your friends, family and former colleagues know what you are doing.

  • Agencies: some people prefer to work directly with end clients, for various reasons, but agencies can actually be a great source of projects. Look for lists of popular agencies online or on ProZ and contact them all. Having 5 to 10 agencies you work regularly with is a good way to create a constant flow of projects and you will be able to focus on translating.

  • Online presence: make sure all your general and translation specific profiles are up-to-date: LinkedIn, ProZ, TranslatorCafe… but also well-known freelancing sites such as Fiverr, UpWork, Freelancer.com. If anything, it will help your visibility to have profiles on all platforms.

  • Direct clients: working directly with companies or individuals in your network is a great way to grow your own brand and negotiate the best terms for your contracts.

  • Conferences and trade fairs: are also a great way to meet potential clients. Check out what is happening in your local area online.

  • Professional networking groups: it can be very useful to join professional networking groups and mingle with other entrepreneurs, whether online or in your home city. Sites like Meetup or Eventbrite always suggest suitable events depending on your interests.

When looking for clients, it pays to have a system to keep track of communications, i.e. using a CRM. A favorite of mine for a few years has been Pipedrive, but even a simple spreadsheet can do.

4. Growing your personal brand

An aspect that is often overlooked by translators, especially once they have a regular flow of projects, is the need to grow their personal brand online.

The following will not take much time daily but could help you secure big clients and interesting projects:

  • Create your profile on all marketplaces and ask for recommendations from all your clients, your friends, their friends… you get the idea. For example, the “willingness to work again” on ProZ influences search results when clients look for translators. Great LinkedIn reviews may be very useful too, especially if you are considering other career opportunities!

  • Write a personal of professional blog: some translators have gained huge notoriety from writing successful blogs. One good example is Dmitry Kornyukhov's blog.

  • Contribute to knowledge bases and groups: ProZ KudoZ help network is a great place to get noticed and acknowledged by your peers, and a good ranking will also help you attract clients. LinkedIn has a large number of groups focused on translation too.

  • Create your personal website: creating your own website is very easy and affordable nowadays. Check out Squarespace and use one of their great-looking templates to create your own site!

5. Being an excellent translator

Translation is a noble profession and there is always room to grow and improve one's skills. Here are a few tips on how to keep improving:

  • Own specialized dictionaries, or bookmark online resources. Translators find a unique pleasure in finding bilingual glossaries that might save them hours of research.

  • Read (a lot!) in your area of specialization, both in your source language and in your target language.

  • Take an interest in IRL events related to your field of specialization (for example, attend Bitcoin meetups if you work on blockchain content!)

  • Maintain good communication with your clients. Asking them questions and requesting reference material is a great way to improve your service and gain their trust.

  • Go on holidays in countries where your source language is spoken.

We hope you found this post useful! There will be follow-up articles on the specific tools and workflows translators use and we hope you'll enjoy them too!

Do not hesitate to leave a comment or reach out on Twitter if you would like to discuss further!

Blockchain Learning Resources and Glossaries

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The translation of technical texts can get incredibly complex if a translator is not knowledgeable about the subject matter involved.

Having a thorough understanding of the specific area of the text and using the correct industry-related terminology is a must for any good translator.

Blockchain, Crypto and FinTech are fairly new disciplines, which are rapidly growing and evolving and in-depth knowledge of these is still scarce among many linguists and translation professionals. Besides this disruptive technology is complex enough to require high expertise and subject knowledge from the translator in order to obtain a quality translation.

We have compiled some free resources to help you familiarize yourself with the most common terms in the blockchain and crypto field, get an overview of the basics and expand your knowledge on the subject.

Here you have a list of the most useful ones:

Interest in the blockchain technology is ever growing and so is the technology itself, so better keep yourself updated on new developments!

How to Apply as a Translator?

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How to apply as a translator?

Are you a qualified professional translator looking for freelance work?

At Kotoba Translation, we are always looking for great translators and proofreaders who have relevant experience in the Blockchain and FinTech fields.

If you meet our requirements and would like to be part of our team, don’t hesitate to apply via our website!

There's a lot more to being a professional translator than being able to speak another language, so we also require our translators to:

  • Be a professional translator. Please state clearly your qualifications and any professional memberships on your CV.

  • Be a native speaker of the language you are applying for.

  • Have content knowledge and related experience in relevant terminology (Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, FinTech, Networks, Banking and Finance).

Applying is easy and intuitive. If you feel that you meet the criteria, complete the short registration form on our website. Fill it in carefully and thoroughly and please be aware that quality of written language is part of the selection process, so pay attention to detail!

State clearly your language combinations, qualifications, and areas of knowledge. Include your rates for translation and any other services offered.

If we find your profile suitable for us, we will contact you to register your information in our database and you will receive brand new credentials for our portal.

We look forward to hearing from you!