If you are working as a professional translator, especially in a freelance capacity, you know that there are plenty of things that need to be managed in order to make your client work proceed smoothly. Luckily, there are plenty of tool available to aid with managing everything from your clients, to documents and invoices, and everything in between. Below are five of our favourite online tools for professional translators – check them out!
1. Online Encrypted Clouds like DropBox, Google Drive or Sync: Online clouds are essentially folders on the internet or downloaded to a folder on your computer which allow you to share documents easily. You can share with all of your devices by downloading corresponding apps on your phone, tablet and computers so you are never without a much-needed document, no matter which device you happen to be using! You can also access the content even without your devices through the internet by logging into your account. You can also easily share documents with anyone from around the world and have the ability to either share cloud accounts or single documents and folders instead of having to email attachments all the time.
Some benefits of these clouds include: all of your documents being a single place that cannot be destroyed, even if all of your devices break down; most of these options are completely free or very close to free; and they are highly secure as they are fully encrypted services. You can keep all of your business neatly organized in folders in your cloud, from translation documents to blog posts you write to invoices – it is a handy centralizing tool that can make your work a lot more stream-lined. And the more organized we are, the better work we do!
Great options: Google Docs and Dropbox – free
Best option: Sync.com – For a small monthly fee, you keep your cloud services based in Canada with this Ontario company.
2. Google Docs: Google Docs is an online, cloud-based word processing platform that is quick and helpful when you need to collaborate on documents with other people. Rather than doing your word processing in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, you write and edit your document on a Google server that is connected to the internet. All documents can be downloaded at any time and are automatically saved as you edit. This can be handy for translators who use copy-editors or proofreaders, particularly as margin comments can be added and any changes by any involved users are highlighted. This helps with avoiding having to send documents back and forth via email and running the risk of working on the wrong versions or having messy formatting changes as the document is passed back and forth. Oh, and it’s free – you just need a Google account to access it.
3. Online appointment keepers: If you have ever had to set up a meeting with a client to discuss the details of a project in person or over the phone, you know there can be a lot of emails back and forth in an attempt to find a suitable time to chat. There are, of course, apps and webpages to help with that! One that is well-received by professional translators online is youcanbook.me which is cloud-based and allows you to easily set your availability and book appointments. All of these appointments can easily be synced with your Google Calendar to ensure continuity if that is your email host. Once you pass the link onto your clients, they will be able to see when you are available in your online calendar and can book themselves in whenever works for both of you!
4. Social Media Marketing Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite: Gone are the days where word-of-mouth can solely be relied upon for professional translators to get new clients and projects for work! The importance of self-marketing for freelancers cannot be overstated, and few places is this more important than on social media. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and so forth, offer us the opportunity to connect with new and existing clients, to send updates to our followers with great ease, and to generate a buzz around ourselves and our services. This can feel overwhelming for some professional though – after all, their work is in translation, not social media management! Fear not as there are easy-to-use options online that will make your life a lot easier. These social media management tools allow you to schedule content to all of your social media accounts in advance. It also allows for centralized access to your analytics so you can see how your audience is interacting with what you do – all from a single, user-friendly dashboard.
5. Invoicing Templates: After all is said and done, professional translators still need to get paid and this leads to the sometimes arduous task of needing to invoice our clients. You can save time with your invoicing by using online software that can help create templates that you then store in your online, encrypted cloud for ease of access later on (especially during tax season!). Whether you search for free templates that you can download or you build the invoice yourself by using Google public templates, it is sure to make the management of your invoices a lot more professional and streamlined. And you will save time too!
What are your favourite tools?