We live in the age of social networking, the sharing economy, and crowdsourcing, yet most freelance translators work alone. In this presentation, I explore how freelancers can benefit from building partnerships and collaborative networks with colleagues. I look at different possible working set-ups and forms of organization, drawing on my own experience in a six-year business partnership and interviews with other translators who work collaboratively. I map out the professional, personal, and business-related gains of these arrangements, which include accessing a wider potential market through increased language combinations, improving quality assurance, sharing costs, giving and receiving linguistic and emotional support, and leveraging tangible and intangible resources (from dictionaries, software, TMs, and termbases to subject-area expertise and client networks). Trust and ethical issues, protocols and procedures, and financial matters are some of the practical conditioning factors and caveats I consider before recommending strategies, tools, and apps that can help make collaborative freelancing a functioning reality. I finish by raising questions about the unexplored promise of these business models as a form of collective action against those trying to drive down prices and with them, quality, arguing that collaboration represents a path to growth as individual translators and as a profession.
Victoria Patience is a Spanish to English translator who was born in England, grew up in Hong Kong, and has lived in Argentina for 16 years. Victoria holds a BA in Hispanic Studies from King’s College, London, and is a member of the American Translators Association. After combining solo freelance translating with teaching and travel writing for several years, in 2011 she joined forces with María Inés Martiarena, a sworn translator from Argentina with advanced studies in economics. Operating as Martiarena Patience, they specialize in texts for online and print publications on economics and trade, the environment, and the social sciences. They are staunch advocates for collaboration among freelancers.