Today, we talk with the lovely Megan Onions. Megan provides French and German into English translations through her business, Speechmarks Translation. A language lover, she has just completed an MA in Translation which she studied for part-time. Read below what Megan thinks of our profession.
Hello, Megan and thank you for your participation! Could you start by telling a little bit about yourself?
Hi Emeline! Thanks so much for asking me to take part in your project. Drawing more attention to International Translation Day is a great idea, and I’m very happy to be interviewed along with so many friends and colleagues.
For those of you who don’t know me (feel free to say hi on Twitter – I’m @speechmarksxl8), I translate French and German into my native English under the business name Speech Marks Translation. I have been plying my trade for over 5 years now, working primarily in the following fields: marketing and advertising, sports and leisure, travel and tourism. For the past 2 years, I have been completing a part-time Master’s degree in Translation, which I will have finished by the time you read this!
What makes you so passionate about languages?
I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I have had some amazing experiences purely because I’m multilingual. The ability to understand another language allows you to see the world from a totally new perspective, which is something that we all need from time to time. The doors that languages can open are staggering, and we have all experienced the buzz that comes from helping others. I have done many a session of impromptu interpreting and it’s a wonderful feeling.
How do you usually celebrate International Translation Day? Is this day special to you or is it just like every other day?
I wouldn’t say that any celebrations have been official. I celebrate languages and talk about the benefits of translation throughout the year, but I do think it’s great to have a specific day that we can use to reflect on the current state of the industry and get the word out!
Which difficulties do you face as a freelance translator ? How has studying for an MA in Translation helped your business?
An issue that is mentioned a lot, and that certainly applies to me, is a lack of confidence. Working at home can distort my self-confidence, but meeting with colleagues at industry and social events is a great way to build confidence and relationships. Fitting in enough exercise can also be an issue but I am very lucky to live in beautiful, rural Herefordshire, which is great for walking!
Studying for my MA part-time has been ideal for me, as I didn’t have to go full-time with my business straight away. I was able to add a new qualification and build my client base gradually. It wasn’t always easy by any means, but I’m really happy with where I am now.
On the other hand, our profession has great aspects. What’s your favorite and why?
I think the lifestyle that my profession allows me to have is a major plus. I have been able to pursue other interests and build new specialities, branch out into related areas, such as copywriting, and set my own hours. I’m more of a night owl, so I schedule my work for the afternoon and evening. In contrast, I can shift things around to accommodate family time and other commitments if needed. Perfect!
Another great side to the industry is the wonderful friendships and professional relationships that I have built over recent years. As a newcomer to the profession, I was given such warm encouragement and great advice, which I am always happy to pass on to students, who contact me. We’re a very friendly bunch!
What do you think the future holds for us translators?
As Chris Durban says, the gap between the bulk and premium markets is growing ever wider. There will always be a lower end of the market and translators to fill it. What’s important is focusing on our own businesses and producing quality of work, which justifies fair rates. There will always be a place for excellent human translators and our professional network is becoming ever stronger. I look forward to seeing what the future holds!
Thanks for this very interesting interview, Megan. And again, congratulations on your MA!