Thursday’s heavy snowfall made me wonder why I had booked the in-person event when I could so easily have logged in from the comfort of my home, but by Saturday the snow had almost cleared and my regret had faded by the time I arrived at the venue, which was the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. A renovated industrial brick building with quotations on the windows and a gallery of vintage typewriters downstairs, the place was appropriately filled with words.
I got talking with Sue Leschen, who was to be our first speaker of the day. Her willingness to share her wealth of knowledge was immediately engaging and made me feel that turning up in person was well worth the effort.
Sue’s talk on the importance of having your own Terms and Conditions gave me a confidence boost to realise that you don’t have to simply accept a job as it is offered to you without first considering what you are prepared to work for and the conditions which you are prepared to work in (particularly relevant for interpreters who travel to different venues). Having your own T’s & C’s makes you better prepared to negotiate terms with clients or LSPs and provides the foundation for you to stand your ground. It was very empowering. Adopting the ITI Terms and Conditions could be used as a starting point and asking a mentor translator with legal experience, such as Sue, to help draft your own terms was suggested as a way to get this task done.
A coffee break provided some light relief and a chance to discuss some of the issues raised. It was interesting to hear different perspectives from translators and interpreters of varying backgrounds and experiences.
Clare Suttie was our next speaker and presented remotely. This did not prevent her CV clinic from being truly eye-opening. There are some very creative people out there presenting themselves in remarkable ways! In addition to seeing some brilliant examples of creative CVs, Clare shared her views from the perspective of a recruiter, giving tips on how to make your CV stand out by making it impactful, visually appealing and include personality – after all, we are all unique. Clare generously offered one-to-one training in this area in return for a donation to charity.
A lunch break gave us time to network over coffee and sandwiches. It was lovely to meet so many translators and interpreters at different stages in their careers and share tips and ideas in such an energising environment.
You may have thought that scheduling a talk on professional indemnity insurance straight after lunch would be a chance for a nap, but Nicole Fenwick’s upbeat presentation was completely engaging. She provided valuable tips on what should be included in your policy depending on your circumstances and what questions to ask when purchasing indemnity insurance. She emphasised how foolish it would be to provide services without being insured and explained the risks involved.
A short coffee break was followed by the return of Clare Suttie, who brought us tips and tricks on using LinkedIn. She encouraged us to move towards commenting and posting, and not only showed us how to improve our profiles and network with other translators, but also how to use the platform to connect with potential clients in our specialist fields. Full of ideas and inspiration, I returned home through the rain and the sleet and went straight to my computer to improve my LinkedIn profile. It was no surprise to find other Boost Day participants already there. Attending the Boost Day in person and meeting so many interesting people was definitely well worth the effort, so I would thoroughly recommend attending NWTN events in person whenever you can.
This was, necessarily, a very jam-packed day, but full of useful information and advice… It was intended to tackle four very important and topical subject matters, namely, terms and conditions, CVs, professional indemnity insurance and finally, marketing via LinkedIn; I personally was highly interested in all four!
The day started with Sue Leschen’s presentation on terms and conditions, including non-disclosure agreements, focusing on the need to have our own version of the former; she emphasised the fact that whilst the ITI’s model terms and conditions provide an extremely good reference point, they should be used rather more as a basis for the preparation of our own, more extensive and possibly more specific terms. In this regard, I believe it is worth mentioning the fact that the ITI’s own webinar on this subject matter recommended the preparation of a set of general terms and conditions, together with a more specific supplement for each assignment…
Sue gave us a number of useful tips, including the fact that it is often more expedient to charge for proofreading by the hour and that we should charge for research time if we spend more than an hour on this. In terms of confidentiality and the request frequently made of us (in particular by agencies) to delete files, she pointed to the requirement to retain records for our PI insurance, notwithstanding any statutory records retention requirements, and advised that we should, for example, insert our own clause to this effect in our terms and conditions.
This excellent session was then followed by one in which I was particularly interested, having not changed the format of my CV for many years now! The speaker, Clare Suttie, did not let us down, presenting us with the very useful perspective of agencies, who have to trawl through many CVs, and giving us extremely good ideas on how to make our own stand out! To my own surprise, while I had the length of my CV correct, namely two pages, my biggest mistake was having a very text-heavy version…. It turns out that unlike translators, clients tend NOT to pay attention to detail, so we have to flag the important information up to them in a very visual and concise manner, whilst emphasising the fact that we are professional and qualified.
One other interesting aspect was the need to include as much key information as possible in the file name: not just our own name, but possibly the languages that we translate and/or the fact that we are multilingual – anything to spike the recipient’s interest! Clare presented all this in a very down-to-earth, practical and fun way and the session was not just informative, but also hugely enjoyable.
Following a very good lunch (M&S sandwiches, yum), we headed into the third session on professional indemnity insurance. Nicole Fenwick, the speaker, was also very to the point and clear, providing an excellent overview of precisely what professional indemnity insurance is and why we need it; although I have an insurance background, there were still some issues that I was unfamiliar with, including the important point, particularly for translators like myself who are intending to retire in the next few years, that we need to ensure that at the latest by then, we purchase so-called “run-off” cover for the event that claims are made in the future in relation to work performed by us prior to our retirement!
Finally, Clare returned to talk to us about the ubiquitous LinkedIn… I personally had previously dismissed this as merely another platform for people who are well versed in marketing strategies, but Clare was able to show us the very real ways in which, with not too much effort and certainly not a steady stream of self-promotion, we could harness the tools offered by the platform to build our business, including how to find suppliers such as agencies, how to be specific and concise about what we are able to offer to target a particular audience and what information to include such as, for example, CPD to increase interest in that offering. Once again, this was presented in a fun, useful and relevant fashion!
Finally, a shout-out to our organisers and technical facilitators, Kate, Kat and Katell, who as usual did a sterling job and one which we highly appreciate…