Setting up as a translator in France—coming soon to a venue near you (in France)

For over a decade, Nathalie Renevier and I have presented a day-long, hands-on introduction to working as a translator in France four or five times a year for SFT, the French translators’ association.

SFT’s reasoning was simple: translators tend to be word people, not numbers people, and many academic translation courses have neither the time nor the in-house expertise to teach candidates how to run a professional practice. Yet in the Land of Red Tape, poor or misinformed decisions by newcomers on tax, health insurance, invoicing and other admin issues can come back to haunt them. Not to mention marketing: many young and not-so-young would-be translators have little or no idea how to go about identifying and winning good customers.

Whence “Réussir son installation et se constituer une clientèle,” offered by SFT in partnership with universities across France. Sessions are organized at the request of academics at these institutions or at the initiative of SFT regional delegates. For obvious reasons, the course is taught in French. (Even experienced translators report finding the content—updated regularly to reflect changes in French law—very useful.)

The next one-day course will take place this Saturday (December 10) in Lille, to be followed by Créteil (Paris area) on February 4 and Rennes on March 11. More dates are in the pipeline and will be announced on the SFT website in spring  2017.

Registration: Students and faculty members of host institutions attend for free. External participants are also welcome and can register via the SFT website (, “Formations” tab—where you’ll also see feedback from past participants). The very reasonable fee qualifies for reimbursement under France’s FIF-PL/OPCA-financed training systems.

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