5 Belated New Year’s resolutions, a translator’s edition

While you might have already committed to crushing personal goals, there’s still time to shine light on your professional persona and zero in on the path you’d like to pave for yourself this year. No matter how many hours a week you dedicate to translation, setting the right goals will help you advance your career. Before jotting down what will be your game plan for the next 300 something days, look back and notice the direction you’ve chosen for yourself and your career, and map out a plan that will strengthen and challenge it.

As translators, not only are we striving for linguistic excellence, but we are also following the trends and rapid changes in this fast-evolving profession. Before settling on your goals, think deeply and look widely. Apart from building up your technical skills in translation, what other related areas can bolster your career? What habits and routines will not only make you excel in your field, but also stretch your thinking?

  1. Read more. In all the languages you understand. It goes without saying that reading is one of the most important contributors to a strong, rich, and versatile vocabulary. However, picking up a few thick books and setting a deadline to finish them might seem quiet daunting. Reading for 20 minutes every day sounds a lot more realistic. And if you’re looking for an extra challenge, pick books in different languages.
  2. Befriend like-minded people. And by like-minded we mean fellow translators. Resolve to expand your professional network and meet new people who are as devoted to translation and languages as you. Not only that but who also share similar values and work ethics. Although we often focus on the quantity of connections, finding the people who truly value you proves much more valuable.
  3. Invest in workshops, seminars, and mentoring opportunities. Translators can live in silos, secluded in their offices, away from the hustle and bustle of the outside life. As a result of this almost solitary lifestyle, they might miss out on exchanging ideas. This year, commit to attending a professional seminar or signing up for a mentorship opportunity. Most professional organizations host a plethora of events throughout the year or even offer mentorship programs.
  4. Explore creative ways to use your skills. Challenge yourself to go beyond your regular contracts and jobs. How else can you put your technical skills to good use? Think of marrying your passions and hobbies with the expertise you developed as a translator. Are you passionate about technology? Why not running a blog about translating terminology in your field?
  5. Volunteer. Give back to the community. Pass on your passions. Share your talents. Find meaningful and rewarding ways to use your translation skills. Apart from volunteering as a translator, there are many other avenues you could explore as a fluent speaker of at least two languages: teaching foreign languages or poetry, bilingual art programs, and writing.

As you iron out your commitments, make sure they truly speak to you. Even if your professional path might seem murky, look back at the decisions you made in the past, your priorities, and lessons learned—they will help shed light on where you’re headed.