This week, I’m celebrating one year of Rich Bilingual Content. And what a year it’s been!
Collectively we’ve negotiated Brexit and the arrival of Covid-19, two global game-changers in every aspect. Events in the US brought the Black Lives Matter campaign to the fore. And recognition of our environmental crises grew as we were locked down and forced to take stock.
On a personal level, having left my full-time job, I further exited my comfort zone by returning to the UK… by bike. It was on this trip that I first heard the saying, “life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving”. I fully endorse that now.
Going self-employed has been one of the most important life events so far in terms of getting to know myself. I always wondered, how would I do things if it were all up to me? Well, now I know! Any compartmentalising of “work” from “the rest of life” has dissolved. I’m now taking the holistic approach and seeking out the projects I find truly rewarding.
So what of my projects?
I’m delighted to have built up deeply trusting and fruitful relationships with both Sequoiasoft and Knowmade, based in the tech hub of Sophia Antipolis in the South of France. While the former has regular translation needs that I’m best placed to meet thanks to my insider knowledge of their products and processes, the latter knows that I will consistently proofread their marketing documents with meticulous attention to detail within 48 hours.
There’s been some interesting agency work too, with .txt agency in Lyon requiring some creative input regarding their poetry translations, and Promolang in Toulouse calling upon my website translation expertise.
Another website translation was for direct client Vortech Systems serving the yachting community in Antibes – for which I was recommended word-of-mouth by Exclusive Cannes Apartments, for whom I did my first freelance content writing project, on the back of some thoroughly enjoyable property photoshoots! But more on photography later.
One of my current projects again involves writing and the Riviera, and I’m loving it. Thanks to my Antibes network, I’ve been asked to provide the written content for a unique new magazine focusing on gastronomy in yachting. This has me doing research, conducting Zoom interviews with experts in French and English, translating editorial pieces and writing original articles in English. I look forward to sharing the full details and results of this once it’s published.
While these are just a handful of the projects I’ve worked on this year, they give a good insight into the overall trends: my existing network continues to come good, and word-of-mouth remains the most powerful form of marketing.
The Class of ‘15
A special mention at this point in time for what I’m going to call the Class of ’15.
From 2012 to 2015 I worked as an in-house translator for Studec in Toulouse-Blagnac. During that time, I was in with a group of fellow translators at the start of their careers. Back then, we would help each other settle and socialise upon arriving in Toulouse, and a certain solidarity ensued.
Today, thanks to Lucy O’Shea of Translating Matters, Holly Hibbert of Hibbert Translations, Severine Watson of Elementary Translations, Lena Schmitz of Schmitz Translations and Hayley Leva of Leva Translation, I’m really lucky to be able to rely on a support network of professionals who have also taken the freelance route in previous years, as well as Caroline Gromellon and Laura Duffy at Promolang agency. We’ve been able to share leads among ourselves at some time or another.
At this point I couldn’t not mention Kate Vann-Lorenz and Danny Richardson for their ongoing friendship, nor Laura Johnson and Cecily Arthur – the bright ones of the class! Along with Anna-Luisa Salmon, Florian Hofmann, Catherine Pageault and Kate Wood.
Since going self-employed, all my projects are personal projects! I’d like to talk about the following alongside Rich Bilingual Content or even as part of it, in the mid-long term. There are no boundaries anymore.
In the past year I’ve expanded my photography to add an Instagram account to my existing Facebook page, Chard Faul Photography (the latter of which has been going since early 2019). Both platforms have helped me evolve in the storytelling aspect of photography. Whereas in earlier years I’d go out and capture spontaneous scenes from daily life, I’ve learnt more about building and sharing series and even mise en scène. The best example of this is the first series I shared on Instagram, entitled Confinement.
Having returned to the UK, I’ve joined a new Gaelic Football club, St Pirans GAA. In fact, I’m now Head Coach and PR & Communications Officer on the club committee. These roles allow me to place all my strategic and creative communications skills at the service of the grassroots sporting community and enjoy playing ball with friends along the way. Concretely, I’ve designed and delivered training sessions both on the pitch and via Zoom, and kept the club social media channels ticking over with original photo, video and graphic content – our “Saint Patrick’s Day in Lockdown” video in particular is worth a view!
Both the above projects have helped me learn to streamline the sharing of a consistent brand message across multiple communication channels, and how to adapt the content to each platform. All projects combined, I now manage a website, three Facebook pages, two Instagram accounts, one Twitter account and a LinkedIn page.
I also had a brief foray into video-blogging! I learnt to produce engaging video content using Adobe Première Rush, whilst having tremendous fun surfing, kayaking, hiking and cycling through Cornwall.
Finally, I’ve been volunteering with local CIC Beach Guardian, helping with beach cleans and data collection in the Seven Bays area of Cornwall. My most recent involvement has been to provide visual content for their Trevisker Community Meadow project, which aims to turn a commercially unviable wasteland into a buzzing wildflower meadow and hub of activity for sustainable and social initiatives. The spiritual awakening – for want of a less clichéd term – of the past year has also been an environmental one. When I take stock, I cannot ignore the talk of very real threats to our ecosystems. It feels irresponsible to hope that 1/ they won’t affect us or 2/ someone else will solve them for us. So I’m getting stuck in!
What’s next for Rich Bilingual Content?
As explained above, a whole lot has changed in one year, least of which my outlook. The following are things you might see more of from my business, based on current trajectory:
Though my background is in translation, my last three jobs have been in writing and I’m enjoying it immensely, particularly magazine content.
- Visual storytelling.
Until now, only one of my clients had benefitted from my photography as well as content writing. Just recently I agreed to contribute two articles, with photos, to ECOrnwall magazine. Photojournalism is a grand word to aspire to, but one that I like because it combines my love of writing with my love of photography and gives them both freedom to roam.
Given the environmental issues mentioned in the previous section, I’m keen to donate my time and professional skills to causes I support and improve my own practices accordingly.
Cycling the 1000 miles from the South of France to Cornwall in the UK was an eye-opener. I fared well in office environments, but nothing brings more joy and release than being outdoors and on the move. Expect to see me out and about on more adventures and bringing my work with me where possible.
Two other ongoing events which help give an indication as to Rich Bilingual Content’s direction are: my registration as a UK sole trader, to reassure UK-based clients and prospects while continuing to serve my French network though my auto-entreprise; and my investment in a powerful new PC to better handle Adobe Creative Cloud applications in particular. Multi-tasking written and visual content has never looked so good!
In sum, in its first year, Rich Bilingual Content found its feet on the firm ground of translation. In 2021-22, the business is beginning to grow into all types of content creation and storytelling. And I can’t wait to share it all with you!
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require a bilingual content creator for your projects.