CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF WORKING ON A TIME-LIMITED PROFESSION
In this issue, Monica Machado is interviewed about the challenges and rewards of working on a very demanding, time-limited and often misrepresented profession where often translators are very distant from customers, and clients have misconceptions about translation.
Interviewer – You have been trading in translation for 17 years. What is you biggest everyday challenge?
MM – The biggest challenge is to accommodate small fast turnaround jobs for regular clients when already booked for large projects that may take 1 or 2 months to complete. To refuse a small job from a regular client is really difficult but, on the other hand, a few small jobs may considerably delay a larger project already booked in weeks ahead.
Interviewer – How do you overcome that situation?
MM – Usually, when I book large projects, I inform all regular clients of current availability and ask them to keep me informed as much as possible of their unscheduled translation needs. This allows me to plan ahead and fit those in when required.
Interviewer – Are your clients co-operative in that area at all?
MM – Actually they are. I am very fortunate, as over the years I have been able to develop an excellent relationship with my clients, who understand that I still have to keep busy during their slow times. My pre-booking system is a success with most clients.
Interviewer – Is your pre-booking system free?
MM – Absolutely. Pre-booking only means that by knowing that a particular client may need my services for a short report or some meeting minutes in a specific week, I will be better prepared to fit that job in when it materialises. The client pre-booking my services will only pay for actual services performed and the pre-booking service is totally free of charge.
Interviewer – What is the second biggest challenge?
MM – The second biggest challenge is to be able to be the translator and the 5 other managers that are essential to run a business successfully (public relations, administration, finance, service and IT managers), without compromising any deadlines, and still be able to have a personal life.
Interviewer – Would you say you manage that well?
MM – Unfortunately, the administration and finance areas are the ones that occasionally get a bit behind, but I have to say that in the past few years I have managed to have some good quality time for my own personal life, which is excellent progress.
Interviewer – Apart from the obvious advantage of being your own boss, what are the other rewards of running your own business?
MM – Am I the boss? One of the greatest rewards is to have my work recognised by clients. Being selected and retained by the quality of my translation services and confidentially is by far the greatest prize we can achieve in a completely unregulated profession.
This interview was first published in Monica Machado Translation Services Quarterly Newsletter. This and other interviews with Mónica can be read here.
Mónica Machado offers English to Portuguese Translation Services, for Portuguese-speaking African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe in the areas of Oil and Gas, Agriculture and Farming, Environment, Shipping, Mining, Hydro Power, HSE and Social Sciences and International Humanitarian Aid. Fully certified translation services based in the UK. We can also translate and certify translations of educational qualifications, passports, company certificates of incorporation, birth and marriage certificates and similar documents.
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