2017 has come to a close – and January is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what we accomplished last year! And as reflection is much more fun when you have numbers to back it all up, we’ll give you a data-infused look behind the scenes of our business. Let’s go!
Van der Werf & Van Straalen translated exactly 587,972 words this year. That netted about as much as last year, though we did have much more time off. It seems our efficiency endeavours (smoother processes and working with Dragon instead of making 50 typos per minute – looking at you, keyboard!) are paying off. Dictating a translation feels very peculiar when you do it for the first time, but you get used to the chatting fast enough.
70% of the translations we do ourselves are from English into Dutch, 29% are from German into Dutch and 1% was from Swedish into Dutch. We only started working with Swedish this year, which explains the discrepancy.
We performed about 400 hours of transcreation and copywriting.
Our services portfolio was pretty diverse this year. We’ve performed…
– consulting: does that magnificent product for the US market work just as well in the Netherlands?
– copywriting: translating is fun and effective, but it doesn’t get any more Dutch than having a Dutchman write your copy.
– editing: we’ve brushed up plenty of existing copy. What was good before looks even better now.
– testing: since we do a lot of apps and software, we always want to check whether all copy ended up on the right place (sneak preview: it didn’t, of course, and disaster had to be averted many times)
– transcreation: the noble art of staring at a blank screen for five hours straight, trying to conjure up a brilliant solution for that indomitable five-word slogan.
– other good stuff: guest lectures, presentations, you name it.
Speaking of guest lectures, this year we attended a fascinating discussion with other freelancers, before an audience of fourth-year students of the School for Translation and Interpreting in Maastricht. Another presentation-related highlight: giving two 1-hour lectures about translation and our industry, once again at the School for Translation and Interpreting.
Branco’s personal achievement of the year: winning third place in the Dutch National Translation Conference’s contest for the Best Business Translation.
Branco also wrote two articles for the American Translation Association’s Savvy Newcomer blog, which is specifically meant as an online book of reference for budding freelance translators. It’s nice to be able to pass on ideas and advice to those who can use both. If you missed them, check out part 1 here and part 2 here.
2017 was also the year in which we more than ever before relied on other language professionals. Whenever we needed a Flemish version of our copy, we called on Steven Segaert to ‘flemify’ our work. Whenever a fantastic request came in, but our planning didn’t allow for us to take it on, we counted on Pieta Tilborghs (check out her website here), professional translation badass, to deliver top-notch quality. And whenever something legal came in that we couldn’t handle ourselves, our ever-reliable translation partner Pieter Klok (here’s his website) was there to save the day – without prejudice and with maximum service. Lastly, this year we had the opportunity to work together with Lund Translation Team, with David Friedman at the helm, who continues to inspire us greatly. David also helped out with the ATA articles – honing our ideas and getting rid of any Dunglish lurking behind our carefully constructed facade of English words. Lloyd Bingham translated our Dutch website into English, while Eva Stiekema did an amazing job on the German version. Thank you all for your excellence.
We’re looking forward to 2018. If it proves to be even half as interesting as 2017, you won’t hear us complain.
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