Entrepreneur and Freelancer: An Interview with CTA Member Rebecca Gilsdorf

by Katja Yeats
CTA Secretary

July 15, 2017

Katja Yeats: Could you tell us a little more about your background? How did you become involved in the translation profession?

Rebecca Gilsdorf: I have a been a small business entrepreneur pretty much since college. With a few stints in corporate America, I have helped others launch their businesses and started a few of my own, including the World Soccer Atlas and my family’s Denver espresso and wine bar. My major was Spanish with minors in French and Italian, plus I spent two years studying abroad (France and Spain) so occasionally I would be asked to translate documents for friends or colleagues.

KY: What are your immediate plans for your translation business/freelance career?

RG: Continue growing it and finding my footing. It seems I have entered this industry in a time of sea change.

KY: Do you enjoy being a freelancer? What are some of the challengers of working for yourself?

RG: I do very much! Striking a balance is very important – between focus and a broader perspective, working alone for hours on end versus going out and interacting with others (not online), being honed in on a project versus relaxing and letting things happen. I think feedback from others is crucial.

KY: Are you specialized in any particular area(s)? If so, why did you choose these areas?

RG: I specialize in law and business, and hope to further narrow that as my business grows. I earned my juris doctor and have years of business and legal experience.

KY: How do you promote your business and services?

RG: I have done agency outreach with little success so far. I have found more work through word-of-mouth and via direct marketing to attorneys or their paralegals or legal assistants.

KY: I’ve seen your Facebook store for translators and interpreters. Could you tell us more about your idea for this store?

RG: One morning I was searching online for a mug or tee that featured something about being a translator and didn’t have any luck. I really enjoy graphic design type work and, with a little research, figured out how I could create and sell items with little overhead. It’s still in its infancy, but it’s a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to more sales and feedback from customers so I can improve and expand my catalog of items and designs they want. I have found Instagram is a great format for promoting my brand. I like it much more than Facebook and am anxious for Instagram integration with Shopify to increase sales.

KY: How long have you been a member of ATA and CTA? In your opinion, is it a good idea for freelance translators the be involved with professional associations?

RG: I joined CTA in February of 2016 and ATA in August of 2016. Yes, it is definitely a good idea to join! For newer translators and interpreters, they are a fountain of assistance, best practice ideas, support, and a professional social outlet. For seasoned members, I would think they continue to provide a social aspect, plus be a source of expanded work and feedback when new situations arise.