"Diversification in the Language Industry" by Nicole Y. Adams

Title: Diversification in the Language Industry ― Success Beyond Translation
Author: Nicole Y. Adams
Published in: 2013


This quarter, I'm recommending a new book to my Tools & Technology in Translation students because it addresses a subject that all beginner translators and interpreters should have in mind when getting ready to enter our industry or expand their business: income diversification. The name of this new book is "Diversification in the Language Industry ― Success Beyond Translation" and it was written by Nicole Y. Adams, an award-winning German/English translator, editor and translation business coach with a Masters in Contemporary English Language and Linguistics.

We all know that this is a highly-competitive, fast-paced, and somewhat unstable industry, in which you have to balance keeping your current clients happy and constantly looking for prospects in order to assure a steady workflow and sustainable income for your business, whether you are working part time or full time.

When students express their concern and ask me if it's actually possible to make money as translators and interpreters, I tell them that things can be hard in the beginning, so it's a good idea not to quit their day job just yet while trying to establish a new business. Some are fortunate to have a spouse who earns enough to pay the bills and keep the household safe while the translator/interpreter is setting up shop, so they are able to focus on their business without the added stress of paying for their rent/mortgage and putting food on the table.

However, there comes a time when language professionals reach a business plateau, so they need to find a way to break the routine and take their business to the next level. In "Diversification..." Nicole was able to address several subjects that are relevant to today's language professionals by bringing articles written by individuals who are success stories in our industry. Each of these language professionals shared their experiences in a wide variety of areas, including industry trends, post-editing machine translation, editing non-native texts, voice over, subtitling, transcription, terminology management, transcreation, copywriting, cultural consulting, linguistic validation, language teaching, project management, and diversified specializations. 

The author also brings attention to how we can stand out from the crowd by enhancing our marketing and networking strategies through blogging and social media. On that front, the book features interviews with well-known translators and interpreters who have been raising the public's awareness of the role of language professionals in the world, including Nataly Kelly, Attila Piróth, Corinne McKay, Fernando D. Walker, Judy Jenner, and Lisa CarterAdditionally, there is a section dedicated to case studies on those who have been very successful in finding their unique niche: Mox's Blog, Translator Pay, Translators Without Borders, and Rainy London Translations.

Two sections I'd like to highlight are "Diversification: choice or necessity?" by Anne Diamantidis, and "Diversification: not optional, but imperative" by Pritam Bhattacharyya.

  • Anne said she wasn't aware that she was diversifying herself until she reflected on it and realized that there are two ways to diversify a language-related business: offering additional services (new language, new field, new skills, etc.) and starting a new language-related activity in addition to translating. Still, she maintains that diversifying is a choice, not a necessity, given the fact that our industry isn't insecure and we have a bright future ahead of us.
  • Pritam advocates for it because we're not living in a "static universe" and diversification becomes imperative because of manifestations (new ideas and new ways of doing things), un-manifestations (industries or activities that are disappearing), wear and tear (ideas and activities that don't remain in their original form) and malfunction (technical issues that interfere with our activities.)

Considering this wealth of information, "Diversification in the Language Industry" is mandatory reading for beginners and seasoned professionals alike. It will definitely make you see your activities as a translator or interpreter under a whole new light, giving you ideas to expand your business and work smarter, not harder.

Finally, here's the official synopsis of the book:

Technology and globalization are changing the environment for translators today. Is it possible to maintain a viable career in a climate of increased automation of translation and downward pressure on rates? Nicole Y. Adams' book brings together the experiences of successful language professionals who have explored ways of capitalizing on their different skills to enter new areas and ensure viability and variety in their working lives. Among other ideas, learn how: 
• machine translation can be on your side
• a translator can be creative
• language teaching is not confined to the classroom
• voice over is not the exclusive domain of actors
• advanced technical skills can give you the edge
• a translator can become the hero of a cartoon strip.

This book will inspire today's translators and set them up for "success beyond translation."

RAFA LOMBARDINO is a translator and journalist from Brazil who lives in California. She has been working as a translator since 1997 and, in 2011, started to join forces with self-published authors to translate their work into Portuguese and English. In addition to acting as content curator at eWordNews, she also runs Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators, and coordinates two projects to promote Brazilian literature worldwide: Contemporary Brazilian Short Stories (CBSS) and Cuentos Brasileños de la Actualidad (CBA).