Case study

English-Polish translator and conference interpreter — Elzbieta Wilson

Elzbieta is self-employed and likes the freedom of being her own boss. She also enjoys meeting new people and visiting interesting places, both perks of working as a freelance translator

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My MA in interpreting and translation is incredibly relevant and important. Without having studied it I wouldn't know half of the things I know now and it would be much more difficult to start in this industry.

What are your main work activities?

With conference interpreting, you may have a job in a huge plant in Denmark one day and a conference at the stadium in Old Trafford the next. It's a constantly changing environment.

When it comes to translation, the workload involves responding to requests for quotes to secure work. Once a client accepts, you complete the translation over a week, then ideally, if you have the luxury of a long deadline, you leave it for a day or so and then read it through to see the mistakes or typos you might have missed.

You are your own boss so you need to decide when you get up, how often you can have a break and what time you finish your work for that day. For some, this may be quite challenging.

What do you enjoy about your job?

With conference interpreting I like meeting all the interesting people, being in places I normally wouldn't be and learning interesting facts and topics that I otherwise would know nothing about.

When working on translations, I can deal with topics that help to broaden my horizons. I also know that I'm helping other people, whether a target audience to have a better understanding, or a company to increase their profits.

The freedom that comes with the job is another great bonus. Although it is much more comfortable to work at home, if I have to, I can work from wherever, as long as I have my laptop and a Wi-Fi connection.

What are the challenges?

While I am at home working on my own, I don't have any other people to chat to. If you need to see people all the time and talk to them, it may be quite difficult.

How has your role developed?

My role developed when I added new services and a new specialisation to my current services.

I'd like my business to flourish the way it is now and have a fantastic relationship with my clients.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Respect yourself and be patient. Don't start with low rates just because you need to start somewhere. It's much better to be stubborn and stick to what you think you should be getting for all your efforts.

Use the local professional network for support. Don't think you are on your own. Talk to colleagues and meet other professionals.

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