We are pleased to announce the winner of our Translator of the Month action for April 2019!
This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals: translators, the driving force behind every translation company’s success.
We want you to meet Juliet Allaway, one of our most trusted Spanish – English translators.
How do you start your working day, Juliet?
I get up at the crack of dawn and spend a couple of hours checking my previous day’s work before the phone starts ringing and the emails start appearing in my inbox. Not before making a nice cup of tea, of course. I love the early hours of the morning when there are no interruptions.
You studied law but you have been working as a translator for more than 20 years. Why did you decide to follow this path?
Your question makes it sound as though I have had a life plan rather being swept about by a series of random opportunities and events! Everything I have ever done professionally has had some kind of language component… from working as a tourist guide to teaching, from a few years liaising with South America for an international P&I shipping reinsurance club in London to the international remuneration and pensions department of a firm of actuaries and consultants (which was occasionally visited by Princess Diana, herself!) Finding out that I could write and my time as a journalist was a precious gift, and now, being able to earn a living doing something that it both mentally stimulating and financially viable is a privilege.
What advice would you give to beginner translators?
Being a freelancer requires guts and resilience because you are only ever as good as your last translation. It is like sitting exams, all day, every day, and the only way you are going to pass is by getting 100%. But you can do it… most of the time!
It’s a good idea to find a mentor prepared to share knowledge and experience with you. I’ve had several interns sent to me by the universities in Alicante and Valencia, one of whom stayed for more than two years after her internship and is now a dear friend and colleague!
Believe in yourself and get as much experience as you can in plenty of fields by getting involved in different activities. Everything you do in life has potential as background knowledge for your translations, from getting your hair coloured to making an insurance claim. For example, translating trade fairs is much easier if you have taken the time to go to one of those trade fairs. You should also read and make an effort to add to your vocabulary. Unfortunately, I cannot bear to pick up a book after a day reading on screens, so I listen obsessively to audiobooks and podcasts. Staying up to date with technological advances and current affairs is essential, too. I could go on all day… I won’t, but I do recommend investing in good hardware and always making sure you have the latest software programmes, particularly CAT tools and pdf converters, that will save you a lot of time.
Being a freelancer, how do you balance work and personal life?
I am useless at balancing my work and personal life and often work late into the night and fall into bed, having set an alarm so that I can check what I have done the next morning. It’s difficult to switch off. I remember lying on a couch in a beauty salon having my legs waxed and talking to a project manager at the same time, between screams! And you just try doing Pilates while you dictate answers to customer queries with one leg behind your neck! Seriously, this is an issue, and I tend to work myself hard for a few months and then travel for a couple of weeks with no phones and no computers.
Which is your favourite book and why?
I love experiencing the world vicariously with Paul Theroux (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star). I cried when I finished Gone with the Wind and the magnificent, time-consuming A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth will forever stay in my heart. Other favourites are The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I love my exotic cookery books, too, since they remind me of my travels.
What do you most enjoy about working with SeproTec?
I enjoy the variety of subject matters, which provide an opportunity to learn more. The work process is also very streamlined without being impersonal. Interaction with the team at Seprotec is always a pleasure and they are very helpful and supportive.
Thank you, Juliet! It’s always a pleasure to work with you. Enjoy your SeproTec hoodie 🙂