Being a freelance translator is about translations. But not only. It is also about high quality and tight deadlines, it’s also about dealing with solitude or about the best possible way to stay organized. All these aspects (and a lot more) are important, but this note is only about the latter – how to stay organized.
Accuracy being the main thing about translations (literary or not), organizing the job should not have a negative impact on the final product. This is why in a digitalized world there are a few apps able to increase performance at all levels. Let’s name a few:
I used to create estimates and invoices in Word or Illustrator. Nowadays, there are tons of online apps able to make my life so much easier. I tested a few of them and stopped at Wave. Very user-friendly, able to gather information and produce reports and, most of all, to deal with multiple currencies. As a freelance translator, I have clients preferring to work with particular currencies and I need to adjust to them. Wave is not only able to invoice in the currency of their preference, but it is also connected to a conversion engine that lets me know the amount I’ll get in Canadian dollars and indexes it accordingly in the weekly or monthly reports.
As I have a fairly long list of clients, I use this project management app to do three things: organize my projects by clients, assign a deadline to each project and attach files individually for every project. Trello, even in its free version, is a very powerful tool. You can easily and intuitively move cards from one board to another, set labels, add checklists and attach Dropbox files to specific projects. My favorite part, however, is when I have to archive my projects, and send them to the “done” board! Because the next step is the invoicing part!
Needless to explain the app, most of you are already familiar with. Using it jointly with Trello and Trados, I don’t even need my computer anymore. I can work on yours too!
Or 2017, I didn’t test it yet, but I think I’ll just stick with my 2015. Anyway, I’ve been using the 2009 version for years and I still think it’s my best investment as a freelance translator. The way I can organize my projects, my translation memories or my databases is just outstanding. I have tested several other CAT tools before picking Trados, both free or premium, but Trados really does the job for me. Second on the list – memoQ.
Simply as a bonus app. I used to listen to BBC Radio 3, to Radio Classique Montreal or simply to YouTube. And I still do. But the Australian Buddha Radio (not at all connected to any kind of religious moods) always manages to put me in the right mood for performance and accuracy. Because, at the end of the day, those two are the only ones to help me add new slots on my clients list.
PS: There is another thing, often forgotten, and there is no app to help so far. Naming the folders, naming the files, organizing them by clients, by projects and by dates. I developed a coding system that allows me to easily trace and track clients – and even specific projects. I use abbreviations for my clients’ names and dates in the folder names, as well as option, version or revision numbers – for my graphic design projects.
In conclusion, if I lose my computer and you find it, you can keep it. I will survive with any other computer!