Business skills: What I wish I had known in the beginning

NEaT presents a panel designed to help both those starting out and support more experienced freelancers and business owners. Four language professionals with different business styles and operations will be on a panel to present their solutions and answer your questions.

Finnbrit Language Centre
Fredrikinkatu 20 A 9

October 21, 1 pm until 4 pm
To make sure we have enough tea/coffee and biscuits/cookies for you,

Virve Juhola

I have a master’s degree in translation studies from the University of Turku, and after working in various positions in language services since 1995, I set up my own limited company Cape Context Oy in 2012. I specialize in writing about and translating design, architecture, construction and innovative technology as well as in fiction translation, lately audiobooks, and my goals and interests for the future include reception theories, cognitive processes and illustration. From 2010 to 2014, I participated in the UoT mentoring programme for translation graduates, resulting in four new freelancing or sole-trading translation professionals. In the panel, I’d like to address the importance of specialization and branding, as well as the false messages spread within our field that translation services are a difficult or dying business that is hard to enter and rather impossible to succeed in. We need to encourage our teachers, colleagues and the general public to appreciate and understand what language professionals do in terms of service provision and culture promotion, for example, in order to help us all make a living in professional language services.

Alice Lehtinen

I set up my “toiminimi”, Altexta, in January 2017. My main work is editing, but I also do quite a lot of translation from Finnish to English. I have two main larger clients, a few regular ones, and then some private clients who either get referred to me or find me on the internet. I will talk about all the support I got at the very beginning from Keuke and how useful Suomen yrittäjät is. In Finland, microentrepreneurs get a lot of support when starting out. All kinds of training is available, but you need to know where to find it. I will also talk about occupational health services – I have an entrepreneur “package”.

Kate Sotejeff-Wilson

Can sole traders go it alone? I have been translating and editing for academics since 1999, but I set up my full-time business as a sole trader (toiminimi) when I moved to Finland, 7 years ago. I was registered as self-employed in the UK before that, and the system here is undoubtedly more supportive and better organised. But once you’re up and running, you’re on your own, and you need colleagues to thrive. I will talk about working with colleagues as a team to deliver a larger project: how to find them, how to work together, how to manage it, how to cost it, how to keep the client and everyone on board. I can also talk about how I did this for my own website.

Kenneth Quek

I’m a freelancer for the University of Helsinki Language Centre, which functions legally and administratively as my employer. I also do other revision, editing and proofreading work, which I usually bill through an online invoicing service. I’m thus considered a keytyrittäjä, or “light entrepreneur”.

I cover ongoing skills training and keeping up with developments so that you can find and fill niche demands and create your own unique value proposition. I’ll use my own example of revising natively in LaTeX, a text format that is very good at handling mathematical notation and is thus popular with authors in certain fields. Learning to edit in LaTeX has helped me create a lot of value for my clients and establish a specific niche in the Language Centre.

Another thing I’d like to touch on is the value of creating a clear workspace for yourself. I have a workroom five minutes’ walk from my apartment. It’s an investment in your work and it pays off in increased efficiency. Those with more room or fewer inhabitants in their home might manage it at home, but especially if you live with family, and doubly so if you have kids, a workspace away from home can be a sanity saver. 

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