METM16 presentation 

Case study: a virtual translation team

Phillippa May Bennett, Coimbra, Portugal; Oliver Lawrence, Norma, Italy; Helen Oclee-Brown, Staplehurst, UK 

Freelancing can be a solitary business. Though often grateful for a bit of peace and quiet, many of us miss the camaraderie of an office environment, on-tap support from colleagues, and group training opportunities. The speakers sought to overcome these problems by setting up their own virtual office.
They will begin by explaining how they set up their team and how it works in practice. Specifically, they will share their experience of following a 12-week CPD course together, setting SMART business-development goals, providing mutual feedback on written work and managing clients, and helping each other curb the lone worker’s typical feelings of isolation.
The second part of the talk will describe what it takes to get a team up and running: time, a good group dynamic and technology. Members have to commit to particular training deadlines and meeting times. Moreover, you must all get along to establish a fruitful working relationship. Finally, members need to use simple tech tools to stay in touch; these tools are particularly important to the team in question, because the three members live and work in different countries.
In the final section, the speakers will sum up how they have benefited from their virtual team and explore how others could use this model. Attendees will come away with ideas about how to set up their own team, how to get the most out of group training projects, and how to beat freelancer disconnect.

Phillippa May Bennett runs PMB Translations, specialising in Portuguese-to-English medical work, from her base in Coimbra, Portugal. Before moving there, she spent 5 years in Brazil as a translator and English teacher. Her particular areas of interest are clinical trials and regulatory documentation. Recent new avenues include interpreting in a clinical context and lecturing in specialised Portuguese-English translation at the University of Coimbra. She is a full member of the CIoL, Aptrad and MET.
Oliver Lawrence is a Chartered Linguist and MITI who has been purveying Italian-to-English translations since 2008, latterly under the name Incisive English. A second-time METMer, he specialises in translating and transcreating marketing copy (and even writing it, on a good day) from his base in Norma, not far from Rome. He also gives the webinar-based online training course “Clear Writing, Clear Benefits”.
Helen Oclee-Brown is a commercial translator who works from French and Spanish into her native British English. A career-long linguist, she previously worked in-house for translation and marketing companies. Helen went freelance in 2009 and now translates business and marketing copy for companies across Europe. She is also a qualified member of the UK Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).