The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020 - 19

AND CONNECT
2 COMMUNICATE
During times of uncertainty
we rely even more heavily on our
networks. Take time to reach out to
colleagues and acquaintances you
don't usually contact when things
are busy. Touching base with others
will help you understand how your
scenario fits into the overall situation
the profession is facing. Are you an
anomaly, or is everyone experiencing
the same drought or stop-and-go of
work? Use the communication tools to
which you're accustomed but be willing
to branch out. Email is a mainstay of
professional communications, but now
may be a good time to become more
active on Twitter or LinkedIn as a way
to keep your finger on the pulse of the
industry and get real-time updates as to
how situations are progressing. Tapping
into the hive mind can usher in some
great solutions, especially in times of
challenge like the one we're in now!
One of my favorite benefits of
being part of a translator collective is
fellowship. If you've thought about
teaming up with a group of translators
to offer mutual support and togetherness
but haven't done so yet, what better
time than now? Begin reaching out to
professionals you feel comfortable with
and discuss the possibility of sharing
a Slack group, for example, to keep in
touch throughout the workday and share
your respective queries, challenges, and
insights with one another.
Another way to connect is through
volunteering. Now is a great time to
touch base with local teachers to discuss
giving a webinar or creating a video for
students to learn about what we do as
translators and interpreters.

AND INNOVATE
3 LEARN
Heaven forbid anything like
the global pandemic and economic
downturn we're living in today should
happen again, but we would be remiss
not to take some lessons learned from
this experience. The first item I would
put on my list is that nothing in life
is guaranteed. What actions must you
take to secure your business against an
insecure world? Maybe you're inspired
to put a bit more cash into your business
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savings account each month, or diversify
your client base a little more broadly, or
diversify into a new specialization.
You can also see downtime as an
opportunity to improve and better
yourself. Free webinars, online
conference opportunities, and podcasts
abound during this time, and in-person
events are turning to virtual ones that are
now easy to attend without spending a
dime on travel. Can you leverage these
opportunities to put a new continuing
education achievement on your résumé
or learn from the expertise of others who
are willingly sharing their knowledge and
experiences during this time?

Conceding anything-price,
quality, or turnaround time-just
because your work situation has
changed will make it that much
harder to return to normal when
the time comes.

additional resources and availability
to each project, which means I can
take the extra time to try out different
quality assurance tools and see which
one is most feasible. This improves
both quality and efficiency in the long
run. If not for the current situation, I
would have struggled to prioritize this
important task.

5 STAND YOUR GROUND
AND STAY POSITIVE

Droughts of work can create a
temptation to accept projects for
which you aren't qualified or develop
poor negotiation habits, giving way
to clients' (sometimes unreasonable)
requests. Don't give in! Conceding
anything-price, quality, or turnaround
time-just because your work situation
has changed will make it that much
harder to return to normal when the
time comes. When in doubt, think like
a businessperson. You offer services and
quality that haven't changed, so neither
should your terms and conditions.

BALANCE REALISM AND POSITIVITY
AND BRAINSTORM
4 ORGANIZE
When work is busy and projects
are flowing, it's often easy to get into the
habit of jumping from one job to the next
without thinking about sustainability and
long-term growth. How can you leverage
the recent changes in your workflow
to brainstorm how your processes
can be improved, and how might you
begin preparing to implement those
improvements now? You may want to
consider changes to your file structure,
file backup system, translation memory
system, terminology management process,
research procedures, etc.
Here's an example. I've been wanting
to develop a more comprehensive
quality assurance process for years (for
the peace of mind of both myself and
my clients), but never had the time to
test out different options since I was
always moving from one project to the
next or focused on an upcoming task
to be completed. With more downtime
than usual, I'm now able to dedicate

And finally, realism and positivity
need not be mutually exclusive. Don't
let concern over lost revenue and an
uncertain outlook jeopardize your
ability to see opportunities, make sound
business decisions, and pave the way
for future growth. However your work
may have been affected by the current
economic upset, we can be certain that a
return to "normal" is a long way off, but
it will come. As a freelancer weathering
unique circumstances, stop to think
about how your current situation could
be transformed into an opportunity for
professional growth and continue seeking
ways to protect your business against
uncertain times.
Jamie Hartz, CT is an ATA
director and ATA-certified
Spanish>English translator. She
is a member of the ATA Savvy
Newcomer blog team and leads
ATA's International Translation Day
efforts. She works as a Spanish>English translator
and transcriber specializing in legal and commercial
translations. Contact: jamie@tildelanguage.com.
American Translators Association

19


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The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020

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