Top 5 Tools for Translators: the Essentials
Freelance translation is a wonderful career. It means we get to use the languages we love every day, no two projects are ever quite the same and we have the freedom to work from anywhere, should we choose to make the most of it.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its challenges.
We’re often expected to meet very tight deadlines, have to act as our own sales, marketing, finance, quality control and every other department, and have to find ways to stay consistently focused and motivated.
Luckily, there are a myriad of tools out there designed to help us out. If we make good use of them, we can keep our customers happy, keep quality tip top and even carve out more free time for ourselves.
If you’re new to the translation game and haven’t got an arsenal of trusty tools yet, then this is for you.
In no particular order, here’s a run-down of the top 5 tools for translators that could revolutionise the way you work.
Your CAT Tool of Choice
Every translator has their own taste in CAT tools, so we’re not going to stand here and tell you which is best.
Whether you’re a fan of Trados, MemoQ, Memsource, or whatever else, the important thing is to use these tools and use them well.
It’s fairly easy to get to grips with the basics, but you need to go deeper to really feel the benefits.
Spending a little time educating yourself about the more complex functions of the CAT tool in question and the shortcuts you can use on it can send your productivity through the roof.
And putting the hours into building up a solid termbase for a long-term client can boost your profitability - it will take you less time to earn the same money.
Keep quality high and make doubly sure that no sneaky typos make it past you with the help of Grammarly.
You can install this on Chrome or for Microsoft Office, or both, and use it to comb through your emails, Google docs and Word documents.
You can easily switch up the language should you need to, or switch between variants of the same language, like US and UK English.
Hemingway App is an alternative that some people prefer, and is ideal for helping you cut through the noise and express yourself clearly.
As a linguist, you’re probably no stranger to Linguee. This dictionary/search engine combo means you can check out how certain terms are used in context online.
It’s not infallible by any means, but it’s a great place to start.
And it’s also just great as a go-to online dictionary. Although some people think we ought to always be able to translate any given word on the spot, we all know it doesn’t work like that.
Your Focus Tool of Choice
Okay, so we couldn’t narrow this down to just one tool, as this is really a matter of trial and error to see what works for you.
But if you struggle with focus and productivity (who doesn’t?!) then there are plenty of tools out there for that.
Freedom/Stayfocusd will block distracting websites at certain times of day and track how much time you spend being productive, rather than mindlessly scrolling.
Forest is a great app. You set a goal for an amount of time you want to go without giving into distractions. If you stick to it, a tree grows. If you give up, it withers and dies. Talk about motivation! They also plant real life trees, so you can do the planet a favour whilst you work.
Heard of the Pomodoro technique? It involves focusing on one thing for 25 minutes, then consciously resting for 5 minutes, with longer breaks every few hours. It works really well for some people, so it’s definitely worth a whirl if you struggle to focus on a particular task. There are all kinds of apps that will time you, or you can set your own timers.
You didn’t think we’d leave this one off the list, now did you?
LSP.expert was designed by translators who wanted a simpler life. We wanted an all-in-one tool that would let us keep all our ducks in one place and in a row at all times.
We wanted to spend more time actually translating, and less time on admin, sending endless emails or losing a whole day to invoicing at the end of the month.
We wanted to stop having to use different tools for keeping on top of projects, planning our time, tracking our time and monitoring our finances.
We wanted to make sure we had all the information we needed at our fingertips so we could provide our translation clients with the best possible service and keep them coming back.
Which would all lead to being able to work less, earn more and enjoy more freedom.
So that’s exactly what we created, and we haven’t looked back. And we’re pretty sure if you try it you’ll never look back either. Take advantage of our 30-day free trial and see for yourself.