Resources

How Translation Forums Can Destroy Your Freelance Translation Career

While translators are not ancient heroes or social leaders, this sphere of work has its own heights and legends. Just visit translation forums. Being the best translator ever means to be a very important personality in the modern globalized society where existing means of communication connect people from different continents in seconds. To say the least, translators help all businesses operate on the international market and help the best cultural products spread all over the world. The importance of this work cannot be overestimated and new freelance translators also want to excel in the chosen profession. In our article, we have analyzed translate forums and how they can influence your career.

Reasons to Avoid Translation Forums

With the good intention to become better and find new knowledge or piece of advice from more experienced translators, new specialists come to specialized translation forums and this is a big mistake that can be easily avoided since they usually get something different instead of the help they expected. 

Discouraging Complaints

It is in human nature to think that things were better in the past. Usually, the explanation is rather simple – these people were younger back in those days and all they want is to become young again. Thus, when an old experienced translator says that nowadays nobody appreciates translators’ work anymore because of the abundance of automatic translation tools – do not believe. Technologies made the people’s lives easier and while the realities of translators’ work have changed indeed, there are no limited rights or drop in respect. Allowing oneself to dive into this ocean of bitterness and unsatisfaction will bring only emotional discomfort, redundant thoughts related to the appropriateness of the chosen career, and simply wasted time.

Useless Comments

Many people just want to become the best forum’s guru rather than the best translator. Since many forums have some sort of award points system that appreciates visitors who actively participate, many such people do not care much about giving the correct or relevant answer but do care to leave as many comments as possible. One should be aware of such glory hunters and distinguish between truly helpful answers and the ones that were provided for the sake of answering itself instead of helping.

Loss of Time

Many people prefer to complain about the lack of work or good clients instead of devoting that time to improving one’s skills and doing something to attract more clients. Both reading those complaints or posting them on the forum do not improve the situation but the precious time that one could have used to become better is gone already. The translation industry is on-demand as it was before and better professionals get more jobs. Spending time on forums does not make one a professional.

Possibility of Competition

Even though forums’ participants are usually far away from each other, and in most cases, forums’ visitors are eager to help their colleagues with complex questions, the possibility to experience unpleasant conversations and discouraging attitude still exists. Some forums’ visitors for some reason think that the smaller number of translators will contribute to a bigger amount of orders for them personally, which is nonsense. Other people just cannot accept other people’s points of view on certain contradicting questions which results in multiple conversations filled with hatred and intolerance. There is no way these conversations can improve one’s professional skills.

Information Safety

If one truly wants to share experience and specific knowledge, then forums are not the best place to do so simply because visitors and users are not the forum’s administration. In case the account is banned, all thoughts, comments, ideas, useful resources that one may refer to as his or her achievements or even intellectual property may be gone. That is why if one has something important to say or share knowledge, it is better to do it in the form of guides or courses on a personal website. This will not only be incredibly useful for other newcomers but also contribute to the reputation of wise experts. One cannot include “the most active contributor to a forum” line in the resume while personal course or website will be a good addition to that important document.

Actions vs. Reading About Actions

One cannot learn how to do certain things properly without actually trying to do them. Reading about certain skills and their application on forums may create false confidence in one’s ability to utilize those skills oneself. Reading and listening to educational materials is essential but one should not forget about actual empirical experience and practice on real tasks. Overindulgence in effortless reading will not advance one’s career as a freelance translator.

Some Translation Forums to Watch Out For

All these potential issues do not mean that one should forget about forums’ existence and never uses them. Reasons to avoid translation forums were provided for new specialists’ being aware of potential downsides and ways to avoid them. The one who is informed becomes more prepared to resist the negative influence. Occasional and very limited use of forums to solve complex problems is useful for new translators when they are stuck. 

  • Proz.com: Being the largest network in the industry, this platform was designed for both translation specialists and clients who want to hire them. It is advisable to spend time checking multiple offered resources such as events, training, dictionaries, and so on rather than forums. While they may definitely contain a lot of useful information provided by experienced translators, there are so many threads that one can spend days just reading posts and answering them, which is a useless waste of time.
  • Wordreference.com: While this is more a language forum than translators’ one, it is more convenient for those who are stuck with a certain linguistic problem and want to receive help without getting involved in the useless online discussions. 
  • TranslatorsCafe.com: It is often being recommended on websites such as Quora or Reddit to new translators as the place where they can read guides and seek for advice, but it is recommended to avoid this time-waster. Just think what would a thread related to the best translation tool be like. Exactly, it will be a long thread with people arguing that the one they use is better than others. 

Final Recommendation

It is always more valuable when a person obtains experience through real-life work, mistakes, and wins instead of reading about how things should be done in guides or messages written by someone else. Balance is the key factor in many situations, and using translation forums sparingly is one of the best representations of one’s ability to balance professional life.