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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St. Jerome’s Days in Prague on November 11-12, 2016

JTP, the Czech Republic’s Union of Interpreters and Translators, is publishing an updated edition of the Czech version of “Translation, Getting it Right” to coincide with the association’s annual St. Jerome’s Days event on November 11-12.

I’m honored to be invited to attend this year and will be giving a brief talk on the project’s origins and implications. And since practical matters are never far from my mind, will also delve into how practicing translators and teachers can use the brochure to promote professional translation in their practice and everyday activities.

Many thanks to JTP and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation (DGT), which is a partner in this event. (St. Jerome’s Days are now a part of the DGT’s “Translating Europe” program.)

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Le marketing du traducteur : positionnement et conquête client le 28 octobre à Berne (CH)

Looking forward to speaking at Swiss association ASTTI’s annual conference on October 28. Venue : Bern’s Kursaal. Topic picks up where my recent talk in Malmö left off:

Analyse des cauchemars (et autres angoisses) qui hantent les traducteurs indépendants dans l’industrie langagière du XXIe siècle.
Voici le tableau : votre marché, et avec lui votre source de revenus, est asphyxié par une vague de titans (qui livrent des traductions soi-disant premium à des tarifs imbattables).
Ces concurrents annoncent des traductions quasi miraculeuses, alliant technologies de pointe et processus ultra-performants (qu’eux seuls maîtrisent).
Vos clients les écoutent, sont séduits, leurs confient des contrats (à la pelle).
Et ces concurrents-bulldozers s’appuient sur des équipes commerciales aussi agressives qu’efficaces (sur des budgets énormes, suffisant à financer des campagnes publicitaires dont indépendants et petites entreprises n’oseraient rêver).
Cerise sur le gâteau, vous sentez approcher, dans votre dos (et en ce moment même), des hordes de traducteurs indépendants pratiquant des tarifs au ras des pâquerettes.

Est-ce le début de la fin ? Mais non ! En abordant ces peurs réelles ou imaginaires, nous proposerons quelques approches pour renouer avec vos clients — ou en trouver d’autres — et remettre votre activité professionnelle sur les rails.

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Paris, 17 September: co-presenting an SFT Matinale on Seth Godin’s altMBA

Once a month the SFT’s Paris delegation holds a Saturday morning get-together open to all comers, with a speaker on a topic of interest to translators. This September, Laurence Cuzzolin (an outstanding Eng & German>French translator) and I will team up to discuss insights gleaned from Seth Godin’s intensive altMBA program—which I took in June 2015, and Laurence in spring 2016. Full details here.

As always, there will be a Vois-là mon travail table where attendees can display work they’ve done. Total alignment with Seth’s philosophy here: if you’ve translated it and sold it—oh, and are proud of it (and shouldn’t you be, if you’re selling it to clients who trust you?)—sign it, people.

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Speaking at SLAM! in Malmö on Saturday, September 24

For the first time ever, eight language associations from four Scandinavian countries are organizing a conference for language professionals from Scandinavia and all over the world. Several hundred participants have already signed up and the program looks very good indeed: visit the conference website (SLAM! = Scandinavian Language Associations’ Meeting).

I’m honored and delighted to be presenting a talk from 8.45 to 9.30 on “Barbarians at the Gate”.

There will also be a Business Acceleration Masterclass on Sunday morning; at this point all places are booked, but get in touch if you’d like to be put on the waiting list. ( AT

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Masterclass in Porto (Portugal) on June 20

The next session of my Business Acceleration Masterclass will take place in Porto immediately after Aprad’s first international conference on June 18 and 19. Check out Aptrad’s program, which looks very stimulating.

And if you’d like to sign up for the Masterclass, please do so quickly as there are exactly two (2) spots left.

Questions? Drop me a line— AT


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April 9 in Barcelona—Working the Room

APTIC’s first conference is coming right up, and I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones there. The association is publishing new foreign-language versions of “Interpreting, Getting it Right” and plans a round table to discuss that challenging endeavor. I’ll also be presenting a new iteration of “Working the Room” for translators interested in building up their direct-client portfolio.


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Workshop in Bratislava this Saturday (March 19, 2016)

I’ll be in Bratislava on Saturday for a workshop hosted by the national translators’ association SAPT – Slovenská asociácia prekladateľov a tlmočníkov.

This is “Working the Room”, a session for translators interested in starting to work with direct clients. (I’ve presented the content elsewhere, but keep updating and enriching it as markets change.)

SAPT reps have just confirmed that there are a few more places available. For more information, visit:

Next stops: Barcelona on April 9, then Prague on April 16-17.

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Next stop: Stockholm—Feb. 19 and 20, 2016

If you’ve been translating for at least two years and want to break into the direct-client market, join Chris for Working the Room, a workshop first presented at FIT and ITI events, updated and fine-tuned specifically for the Swedish market.

Organized by SFÖ, this workshop will take a close look at the skills, techniques and reflexes translators need to develop if they want to link up and work successfully with direct clients.

Participants will then focus on identifying, preparing for and attending client events for the express purpose of building a customer base. Using concrete examples, we’ll address common questions from translators contemplating a shift to this exciting segment: “How do I start?” and “OK, I’ve got my good outfit on and am at the event; what do I say/do now?” Plus the essential “Conversation engaged: how do I shift over into commercial mode?”

Aim: equip all participants to build or add to a portfolio of direct clients over the next 6-12 months.

When:  Friday, February 19, 2016. 10.00-16.00. Coffee from 9.30.

Where: Best Western KOM Hotel, Döbelnsgatan 17, Stockholm

Fee: 1,940 kr excl. VAT (2,425 kr incl. VAT) for members of SFÖ and FIT associations. Non-members pay 2,240 kr excl. VAT (2,800 kr incl. VAT). Coffee and lunch included in the price.

For more information and bookings, contact


And that’s not all!

For experienced translators and interpreters who are seriously interested in moving their translation practice up a gear in 2016, join Chris for her Business Acceleration Masterclass on Saturday, February 20. 

This masterclass, organized in conjunction with SFÖ, is not for beginners, part-timers, dabblers or ditherers.

It targets translators with at least eight years’ experience who have acquired enough experience to know that translation is for them. Who are passionate about their work—or who, facing price and other pressures, would dearly like to rekindle that passion. Who are at a stage in their practice and life where they want to raise the ante, and who are prepared to invest serious time and energy to position themselves in market segments offering greater intellectual satisfaction and significantly higher financial rewards.

Content includes but is not limited to specialization, marketing, pricing and working with Swedish/from Sweden.

When:  Saturday, February 20, 2016. 10.00-14.00. Coffee from 9.30.

Where: Best Western KOM Hotel, Döbelnsgatan 17, Stockholm

Fee: 2,080 kr excl. VAT (2,600 kr incl. VAT) for members of SFÖ and FIT associations.. Morning coffee as well as lunch included in the price.

For more information and bookings, contact




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Stop press: Wellington, NZ—27/1/16

Business Acceleration Masterclass for Translators and Interpreters in Wellington, NZ, with Chris Durban

January 27, 2016, 2-6 pm.

Many thanks to this inaugural group for your active participation and questions. (And… watch your mailbox!)


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