Wrapping up 2012

It’s snowing here in Colorado and the last day of school is Friday, meaning that it’s time to put some wrapping paper on 2012 and call it a year! I always find it helpful to look over my accomplishments and failures for the current year and set some goals for the next year. So here goes!


2012 will have been my second most profitable year of freelancing, in terms of gross income. My highest income was in 2009, when I did a huge amount of legal translation on the heels of the global financial crisis. I would also say that this year was probably my most satisfying year of freelancing, in that I am focusing more narrowly on my main specializations (international development and corporate communications) and working with more direct clients. I still love my longstanding agency clients, but in general I find direct client work to be more profitable and more satisfying, because I’m working directly with the person who wrote the French document, the person who will use the English document, or both.

My income from writing and teaching went way up this year. Book royalties amounted to about $6,000–certainly not enough to live on, but it enabled me to take a month off to bike across Switzerland and Italy. The past four sessions of my online course for beginning freelancers have been completely full, and I find that these additional revenue streams keep my work day interesting and allow me to protect against any downturns in my translation work volume.

I attended some excellent translation conferences this year, including the SFT financial translation conference in Paris and the ATA conference in San Diego. Both of these presented excellent opportunities to learn and network! And eat great pastries and drink fancy cocktails under palm trees! Oh, and I was elected to the ATA Board of Directors; that was very exciting as well!

My next book, a compilation of posts from this blog, should be for sale in about a month. I’m excited about it, and I’m already at work on book #3 (or #4, depending on whether you count two editions as two books or one!). It’s a freelance business guide that’s not industry-specific, tentatively titled “The Fearless Freelancer.”

Failures. Shortfalls. Basically, stuff I wanted to do this year and didn’t

The blog book took much longer than I had hoped. No major technical difficulties, just my high load of paying work (not a bad thing!) and my procrastination because of the lack of a real deadline (a bad thing!).

I didn’t do much networking at client events this year. I really believe in this type of outreach, but I have to travel by plane to get to any conferences or seminars where my potential clients would be. However, I’m determined to do this in 2013! More on that in the next section!

After years of saying that I want to pursue interpreting, I persist in doing absolutely nothing about it. I say I’m going to practice for 15 minutes every day, then I do that for one day and “don’t have time” for another three months. At this point, I’m re-evaluating what exactly about interpreting appeals to me and doesn’t appeal to me, and taking it from there. More on that in the next section too.

Looking ahead to 2013

I have a good feeling about 2013. First, I’m going to rent a desk in a local co-working office for January and February and see how it goes. After 10 years of working from home, I’m starting to feel like I need a) some boundary between home and work b) some more social interaction during the day and c) a reason to get out of my workout clothes before 2 PM, so I’m going to make the leap to a beautiful building in downtown Boulder which has both individual and group offices. I’ll report back on the results!

I’m planning to attend some client-side events for the international development sector. One of them is already on my calendar although it’s in June, because with the trip planning, I need to think about it well in advance.

I have a few projects for ATA that I’m very excited about. One of them, a new roundtable discussion column for the ATA Chronicle, will start appearing in the February issue. And soon it will be time to start submitting proposals for next year’s ATA conference in San Antonio, so lots of irons are  in the fire on the association front!

In terms of my “I love it, I hate it” relationship with interpreting, I’ve decided to explore the option of doing English voice-overs. I’m thinking that maybe I just need some language-related work that doesn’t involve the high pressure and drama of interpreting, but that gives me a little break from reading and typing. So I’ve signed up for an introduction to voice-over class that my local adult education program is offering.

Feel free to add your own thoughts, hopes and fears in the comments! And with that, I’m going to wrap some presents, deliver one final translation and then go skiing; see you in 2013!

12 Responses to “Wrapping up 2012”
  1. Sadie Scapillato December 19, 2012
  2. Megan Onions December 19, 2012
  3. Judy Jenner (@language_news) December 19, 2012
  4. Aleksandra December 19, 2012
  5. Lucy December 20, 2012
  6. tongueincheck December 20, 2012
  7. Yolanda Gordillo December 21, 2012
  8. Svetlana Cunningham December 26, 2012
  9. Karin January 2, 2013
  10. Christelle Souriau January 3, 2013
  11. yuzhi January 9, 2013

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