The Freelance Diaries: Meet Marketing Translator Belinda Fischer
In our latest interview series, The Freelance Diaries, I chat to freelancers and remote workers around the world to understand what inspires them, the things they love about their job, and any tips they may have to offer to aspiring freelancers.
This month, I spoke to Bee Fischer of Belinda Grace Translating. Originally from Bavaria, Germany, Bee grew up bilingually, and speaks both German and English natively. She founded her brand in 2019 in Manchester, UK, and specialises in German-English marketing translations for e-commerce and SaaS companies. Learn more about Bee and her work here!
Hey, Belinda! Happy new year. Why don’t you start off by letting us know a little about you?
Happy new year to you, too, Abi! And thanks for having me on your blog!
Sure: I’m a marketing translator specialising in fashion, interior design, and language education. My working languages are German and English, but I’ve also learned some Italian and Spanish. You could say I’m a little “language nut”!
I love dogs, singing, photography and travelling (when we can). Having spent lots of time studying and working abroad, I feel happiest when I’m in an international setting. Culture is also a big part of being a translator and working with clients based in different countries.
So, you’re an English-German translator. How did you get started in your role? Was it something you always dreamed of doing?
Even though I’ve always loved languages, it took me quite a while to consider them as a career path. Right before finishing school, I finally realised that I wanted to do something with multilingual communication and business.
My first paid translation job was for a large German company handling e-learning materials when I was 19. After uni, I worked as a marketing executive in the UK looking after a German e-commerce account. I became the go-to translator there and realised, “This is something I want to do”.
At some point, setting up my own translation business felt like a natural next step. Now I focus on direct client work because it allows me to build closer, more long-term working relationships.
How and why did Marketing become your specialisation?
There were a lot of marketing components to my Intercultural Business Communication Master’s degree, and I loved them! So when a tutor of mine suggested I apply for an international marketing exec role, it felt right.
That’s when I learned all about PPC, writing advertising copy, market research and analysis. People seem to think that I’m a creative person, and being creative definitely helps when you work in marketing. I also love singing TV ad jingles!
Do you work mostly from home, or are you part of a coworking space?
I mostly work from home now. Pre-Covid, I used to meet up with fellow entrepreneurs in Manchester, who I knew from the “meetup” app (if you live in a big-ish city, I 100% recommend you try it!). We would have coffee and sometimes work together or hold little accountability sessions. I’d like to pick up a bit of coworking again once things get back to the “new normal” here in Germany.
What is it about the freelance lifestyle that particularly inspires you?
For full transparency, I’ll start by saying that being a freelancer is hard. It’s not always what social media or TV make it out to be. You need bundles of self-discipline, and it’s almost impossible to shut off from work completely.
But what I love about freelancing is that it gives me freedom that I never had in any of my office jobs. No one can tell me how long a lunch break to take, or that I need to ask for permission to go on holiday. I’m my own boss now. And as my boyfriend so very kindly puts it: “Your boss is a pain in the butt sometimes!” It’s funny because it’s true! But all jokes aside, I wouldn’t trade that freedom in for anything. Especially on days when I’m okay physically but not okay mentally, I’m grateful not to have to deal with an office full of people. During the pandemic, I bet many people have come to appreciate working from home, like us freelancers usually do, anyway.
Tell us about a mistake you’ve made in your career, and what you’ve learnt from it.
The more you do, the more mistakes you’ll make. But the biggest mistake is doing nothing at all.
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, for sure. One of them is that I’ve let myself be taken advantage of, and sometimes still do. It’s a work in progress (“lavoro in corso”) for me because my nature is to always want to help people and give more than I take. In business, that’s not always a good thing.
To overcome that, I’m training myself to set clearer boundaries in terms of when and where people can reach me. Experience teaches us more than any textbook or “best practice” guidelines ever could.
The great thing about freelancing is the ability to work from anywhere. Where’s the weirdest and/or dreamiest place you’ve ever worked from?
Ah, that’s a good question! Sadly, I can’t concentrate very well when I work away from home, so you’ll have to settle for: a random coffee shop in Birmingham and the Central Library in Manchester. But now you’ve inspired me to do some cool location scouting!
If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be?
As a teenager, I dreamed of being a film director. That’s probably why I’m into photography now. I love that with Linguamore, you advocate for using your own photos rather than stock images! On Instagram, for example, I’m a big fan of using my own photos rather than creating graphic posts or slides. There’s something magical about capturing a moment and looking back on it later – whether it’s for work, holiday or “the wonderful everyday”, as IKEA puts it.
And, lastly, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to any budding freelancers?
I would say: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. When I started out, I wasted a lot of time in the wrong places. I would spend hours setting up freelance profiles without seeing a worthwhile return. When I started networking on LinkedIn, it helped me grow and connect with the right kind of colleagues and clients. So, spread out a bit and try different communication and marketing strategies. Plus, always continue to work on your craft! You will find your ideal little corner if you know what you're good at, showcase it, and persevere.