As mentioned in previous post, this year, I decided to feature on my blog 12 translators translating into different languages. My February translator is Amandine Lepers-Thornton who runs Amend in Style Translations. I've asked the French-English translator and colleague 7 questions and here are her answers.
1. What is it like running Amend in Style Translations?
Hugely satisfying! I love the variety and flexibility that come with freelance work. I really enjoy translating about something different each day (my favourite fields are arts and travel), helping individuals from all walks of life and being able to work from anywhere.
2. So what’s a typical day like at Amend in Style Translations?
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ but my hours aren’t too far from 9 to 5, when my regular clients are in the office. Certified translations tend to be urgent jobs and I do my best to offer clients fast turnaround times, which sometimes means evening or weekend work. I like to do admin and quotes first and last thing and always have a lunch break. Some days, I spend long hours glued to my PC while other days are more relaxed and I can fit in a walk, yoga or a coffee with a colleague.
3. Why translation?
I’ve always loved literature, languages and cultures. I knew I wanted a career in languages when I was about 10 and I started thinking about translation at around 14. At the time, I couldn’t anticipate it would involve living abroad and being self-employed and in the first couple of years, I certainly found the IT, marketing and accounting a bit challenging.
4. Where do you get your energy from?
Coffee, vitamin D (admittedly, after a decade in Scotland, Oxford is a bit like the Med for me!) and regular exercise. These days, we’re all aware of the risks associated with desk-based jobs and sitting too much so I try to stay as active as I can during the day.
5. Do you have any hobbies or any particular interests?
Reading, knitting, painting and decorating my house. I also really enjoy gardening and cycling, any outside activity to make up for staring at a screen. And like most linguists, travelling and discovering new places and cultures.
6. Do you think that hobbies can attract clients from those fields?
Absolutely. As a translator, it’s useful to have more than one string to your bow. I’d say it’s important to translate things you enjoy. I love travelling and reading about new places, which is definitely a plus when I’m translating travel/tourism documents and websites.
7. What would your advice be to students pursuing a career in translation/languages?
The advice I was given when I started out: network and tell everyone about your business. Be careful about money (i.e. save each month for taxes, holidays and pension) and think about the future. Be professional and look after your clients. As a sole trader, your reputation is everything. I regularly have clients from many years ago who get back in touch when they need a new translation because they were pleased with my work. Or people who contact me because their friend or colleague told them about me. Make sure you ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to turn down jobs when they’re not for you or the rates are too low.
Amandine Lepers-Thornton is an English-French translator who specialises in certified translation, corporate, marketing and tourism documents. She runs Amend in Style Translations from Oxford and, with her colleague Catherine Barteau, she organises a networking group for freelance translators and interpreters, the Oxford-Reading Translators Network. Amandine is also a qualified French teacher. You can follow Amandine on Facebook.