ata 59 tips

20 Translation Tips For 2019 From Translators Who Attended ATA 59

Can you believe it has already been over a week since the brilliant ATA 59 conference in New Orleans? I think we can all agree it was a fantastic event. The SDL Trados team is already looking forward to next year’s event in Palm Springs!

It has become a bit of a tradition during the ATA conference for us to ask translators for their one translation tip for the upcoming year. This year was no different and that question was:

“If you were to give a translator one piece of advice for 2019, what would it be?"

We received 20 brilliant responses which we think every translator should read. Check out their advice for translators in 2019…

You probably hear this all the time, but it really does pay to have a specialism. Specializing in a certain industry or sector will help you develop knowledge and become a subject matter expert in your field. It will also help you stand out from the crowd, as your specialist knowledge will give you an advantage over another translator who does not know that particular industry as well as you.


Knowledge is everything and as a translator, you should always want to learn or improve your professional and business skills. However, with regular deadlines from clients – as well as all the other tasks that go with running your own freelance translation business – we know it can be tough for you to make time for your own professional development.

To make things easier, we have created a simple guide to help you navigate through a brand new collection of free support materials for freelance translators, which will help with your career progression. Check them out here.


Have you ever asked for feedback on your translation projects? If the answer is yes, you will already know the power of gaining feedback. If the answer is no, feedback can help your business grow and help you develop your skills and relationships with clients. Whether it is positive or negative feedback, all feedback is beneficial feedback.


When you’re planning which events you should attend in 2019, don’t just limit yourself to translation and localization events. If you specialize in a particular industry or sector, identifying the top industry events to attend will not only help to improve your knowledge, but the networking opportunities could lead to new business.


Are you up to date will the latest trends and technology changes in the translation and localization industry. Whether it is neural machine translation, the use of the cloud or new product releases, keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest developments can only be a benefit for your business.


Make sure you’re not only networking but networking well! You never know what doors or opportunities might be opened.


In 2019, why not take yourself outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. It could be the beginnings of learning a new specialism or it could be learning new marketing skills to promote your business. Whatever you decide to do in 2019, make sure it is right for you and your business.


There are plenty of webinars and blogs out there to help you attract your ideal direct clients, including this one from ATA President, Corinne McKay. Taking some time to learn new client acquisition tips will help you find the clients you want to work with.


Many of you already have fantastic relationships with other translators. Building these strong relationships has many benefits. For example, if a translator is offered a project but does not think it’s right for them or they cannot take it on, they are most likely going to recommend translators they have great relationships with – that could be you!

So not only are you building lasting friendships, but you are also building up a network of translators who you could recommend to clients and who might also return the favour.


Don’t be scared to say no! If the project isn’t right, do not take it. And if you know of another translator who would be perfect for the project, don’t be afraid to reccommend them to the client – they will really appreciate it.


As a freelancer, you’re not just a translator. You are running your own business and have many responsibilities. It’s important to remember this as you should not only look to improve and learn new skills to benefit your translations, but you should also take time to learn new skills that will take your business to the next level.


Marketing is becoming more important than ever before and building your personal brand is key. There are many marketing channels you could use including your website, email, advertising, direct mailing and social media.

You do not have to use all of these marketing methods, you just need to understand which ones will benefit your business the most. The best way to do this? Trial and error. Test each one over a period of time and see which one(s) yields the best results for you.


We think Maria made a typo here. She obviously meant “Buy SDL Trados Studio." All joking aside, networking at events and joining associations can be great for your career – try it and see for yourself.

Do you have your own translation tip for 2019? Share it with us in the comment section below.

If you missed ATA 59 in New Orleans, you can catch up here.