Welcome everyone to the sixth episode of the translation & interpreting “red carpet” series, featuring remarkable guests of the industry who kindly accepted to share with us their views on some common points. After having Scheherezade Surià, Clara Guelbenzu, Valeria Aliperta and Marta Stelmaszak as special guests in the previous episodes, the red carpet guest of this week is probably the best-known Spanish guru of the industry, Xosé Castro.
It’s very likely that everyone reading this post perfectly knows him already thanks to social media, some articles he wrote or because you attended one of his workshops. Personally, I would regard Xosé as the best example of diversification… a successful one. Just in case you missed some of his many professional sides, let’s refresh our memory a little bit…Xosé Castro
Xosé has been a freelance translator, proofreader and copywriter since 1990. He is also a photographer and some other things, because he basically fell into the Multitasking Magic Potion when he was a child and can’t stop doing different things. He also regards himself as a helper: he loves to help to the best of his ability (and time). Since 1995 Xosé has given courses and presentations on translation, writing and communication in Spain, Latin America and the US.
It’s a real honor for me to host this great interview. Thank you very much, Xosé, for finding the time for it. And whoever is reading this post, get ready to be inspired!
When did you first become aware of your calling and what happened since then?
“When I moved from Corunna (my hometown, in NW Spain) to Madrid, I became aware of the potential in the growing translation business. Who would have imagined back then the bigger demand it has nowadays! I love transcultural communication, so I guess that attracted me the most. I am self-taught. In addition, it was a profitable profession, and that also helped me to decide.”
Did you choose your specialisation or was your specialisation that chose you?
“I think mine is the usual story: I did some market research and saw that there was a high demand for software localization and dubbing/subtitling translation so, in a way, the specialization chose me. I would have preferred to translate literature, history, arts and classic culture (I was studying Geography and History back then) but I was drawn to more profitable specializations. After 24 years in the business I think I have translated just about everything—except for medicine, legal and finance.”
Why did you choose to go freelance rather than working as an in-house translator?
“I worked as an in-house Translator, Project Manager and Content Curator at different times in my life for different companies, but the catch with these jobs was the “monthly pay.” I usually wanted less money and more time (a 2-month vacation, for example), which is generally a non-negotiable with companies. That’s why I always came back to teleworking. I love my space, my time, feeling free to move and travel and work on the go.”
Should anyone want to specialise in your field, would you recommend anything in particular?
“Well, nowadays, I recommend taking any kind of specialized training they think will be interesting and is reliable. Do some research first; talk to people who attended the course/seminar/masters you are interested in.
That being said, direct work experience gives you more tools and resources than any course can offer.”
How significant are or have been social networks and personal branding for your current position?
“They have definitely been crucial. Associating my name with quality, helping others, being a professional who shares information, spreading the word and broadening my professional circle have been instrumental to my professional success. As far as I know, I am the Spanish-speaking translator with the most Twitter followers, so there you go… ☺ ”
Don’t worry… there’s more coming! Next Monday Xosé will be back here to share his personal experience and some tips on how to make your name in the translation industry. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, in case you missed it, learn about Xosé’s first client hunting experience and his three tips for translators and interpreters in “How can freelancers find new clients“, a previous post featuring also Marta Stelmaszak, Valeria Aliperta, Gabriel Cabrera Méndez, Scheherezade Surià López and Pablo Muñoz Sánchez.
Plus, if you speak Spanish, you’ll probably be interested in reading the last two posts on Lenguando, a two-day translation event that took place a week ago (29-30/04/2014) in Madrid. There you can find summaries of Xosé’s worshops, together with many more.
As always, feel free to leave any comment. Have a great week everybody!