Andrew Morris is a French to English translator specializing in arts, travel and copywriting. He is the author of The Book of Standing Out: Travels through the Inner World of Freelance Translation. He is the creator of the Standing Out and Translation Mastermind communities for translators and interpreters. He is currently based in Spain.
Q. How did you get started in translation?
Andrew: I fell into it, to be honest, after a career in education which had ended up in charge of a national training programme in Bangladesh and turned me into a bureaucrat. I jumped out of despair, and landed in translation. I did of course have a background in languages, having studied French and German as an undergraduate, and taught English for many years after that.
Q. In what ways have you been successful?
Andrew: In attracting clients without too much marketing. In building up a portfolio, 90% of which is direct, which brings professional and material rewards. In discovering a whole bunch of excellent translators to work with in my outsourcing capacity. And now, through my social media activity in recent years, in landing a role which suits me perfectly and which I am hugely enjoying.
Q. What do you like best about where you are in your career now?
Andrew: I like having reached a place where I am in full command of my choices: so that I'm no longer a hamster on a wheel like in the first years. I decide who to work with, when to work, what to work on, and how to go about it. That freedom is a real reward for putting in the hard work at the beginning and doing the ten thousand miles...
Q. What has been the secret to your success?
Andrew: A clear vision of what you want, and why. Once you have that, the "how" takes care of itself. My understanding of freelance success has always been that it's 25% skills and strategies, 75% mindset. Others may challenge that, but it's my own experience over a decade in the industry.
Q. How has ProZ.com helped you meet your business objectives?
Andrew: It was there at the beginning, giving me a vital leg-up as I got going. Then it played a key role in supporting the Standing Out Mastermind (now the Translation Mastermind), and of course I have now joined the staff on a temporary basis, so ProZ.com has been pretty pivotal!
Q. What is next for you in your career?
Andrew: I love the role of communicating with people, hopefully motivating them and inspiring them to see themselves differently, so that they push themselves to fulfill their potential. It's what ProZ.com has asked me to do, and for now I'm just enjoying the ride, without thinking of the next step. Ideally, more of the same, I guess!
From The Book of Standing Out: Travels through the Inner World of Freelance Translation:
Take ten competent translators with two years’ experience, in the same city, all in the face of a single national economic climate. Give them all 15,000 euros, a brand new laptop, access to the Internet, a menagerie of CAT tools, business cards and a smart website. Shower them with books on improving their marketing and their rates and every tip and trick in the translexicon.
Then leave them to get on with things for a year. Some will barely survive while others will thrive. But why? The collected musings that make up Standing Out are an attempt to explore this question. They suggest that much of our success in freelance life is down to what goes on inside our heads: our sense of personal and professional autonomy, our awareness of the unique contributions we all have to make and the attitudes we cultivate. It’s a message of optimism and hope, but also one that involves hard work and challenge. It hints at the possibilities all around us, reveals how much is within
our control if we open our eyes, and encourages us to go out and seize it with both hands. Starting today.