Working from home can be a little lonely at times. For this reason, some translators choose to do a bit of volunteering work. It’s a chance to meet fellow human beings and, while you’re busy helping out, it may help your business too.
Volunteering offers the obvious benefits of being a change from the office, keeping your social skills alive, supporting a cause that you believe in and care about, meeting people from all sorts of backgrounds who don’t care about translation (so you have to forget about work for a few hours), etc. But there could be more to it when you run a business.
I used to work at Angel Row Gallery, a fantastic city-owned art space in Nottingham (now replaced by Nottingham Contemporary). It was only casual work and not very lucrative, but I loved every minute of it. It also led to a few commissions for translation from the gallery itself and from contacts I made via the gallery before I even decided to set up my business.
Twelve years later, as a translator with art as one of my specialisms, I still missed Angel Row. So when a lucky chain of events led me to discover that the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol recruited volunteers, I applied and joined as a matter of urgency. On top of the aforementioned benefits, it keeps me in the know of what is happening in the art scene and it enables me to make interesting contacts, which in turn might contribute to expanding my client base a little.
If nothing else, it gives me an enjoyable break and something to look forward to every other weekend.