10 Dec 2018

Our past ITI award winners - Claire Turner

Written by Catherine Park

We talk to Claire Turner, the 2017 winner of the ITI Best Newcomer – Freelancing Award, about how her career has been developing since her award success.

One of the striking things about Claire’s freelance career is the way in which she is undertaking both legal consultancy and legal translation work.

This has brought challenges over the last year, but in a good way! The volume of legal consultancy projects has made it difficult to continue expanding her translation work as much as she intended. However, she has been able to stick to her original business plan and meet the income targets she set herself.

Claire has become more mindful of work/life balance issues in recent months, as she wants to avoid the situation she found herself in early on when she was frequently working evenings and weekends to build up the translation side of the business. She also thinks that, in order not to fall below client expectations, it’s very important not to over-extend herself: “I’m now more confident about not taking on work if I am under quite a lot of pressure. I don’t want to compromise quality.”

Claire has been keeping up with networking in recent months. She has attended several conferences, including BDÜ’s specialist legal translation event, and finds this a very useful way of making contacts. She develops this further by linking to people she has met on social media, and this also helps to identify her as someone working in the sector with specific specialisms.

Much of her work has come via this route, and it has also enabled her to meet like-minded peers who she can approach for help and support when she needs it. This networking has also been useful to help counteract the kind of isolation that can arise from working as a freelance translator which can involve relatively little contact with others.

Based in Devon, Claire has also got involved with the ITI’s South West Regional Group, and she attends their events.

She did a presentation at the Exeter Translation Festival in 2017 on translation, and also found this a very useful occasion for getting to know people in her area.

Over the last year, there has been some interesting cross-over between her legal consultancy and translation projects. For example, she did some legal work involving GDPR, and then found herself doing translation around this subject.

She has now progressed to become an ITI Associate Member, and comments: “I like to keep moving up the professional ladder – it’s another form of recognition”.

Currently, around 70% of Claire’s translation work comes from agencies. She is interested in having more direct clients, but also finds that agency work carries particular benefits for her – if she is asked to do work for an agency but cannot accommodate it, they will move on to someone else from their list of freelance translators but this will not preclude them from coming back to her in the future.

Looking further into the future, she may explore collaboration with other translators as a way of building up the translation element of her work.

On her ITI Award win, Claire says: “I was really pleased to win it. From Day 1, I had put a lot of effort into doing things right, and it was nice to get recognition and reassurance that I had given myself the best possible start. I use the logo on my email footer, and I have had a number of nice comments about the award.”

Find out more about ITI's Awards programme.