Welcome to the next post in the Great Productivity Project series, part of the Looking-Glass Translations productivity programme! Contact me on today if you’d like to be featured in the series.

This week, I speak to Emeline Jamoul of In Touch Translations! Let’s go!


1. How did you enter the industry and what do you remember most about your first year in business?

I entered the translation industry because of several factors: I had studied Modern Languages at university and had just gotten my Master’s degree in French, was a young mum and wanted to combine all these aspects into a career. I had also gained experience in that field by translating documents for research centres from my alma mater. I guess you can say it was translation that found me rather than the other way round!

My first year as a freelancer ended not so long ago – it definitely was a whirlwind of learning through trial-and-error, networking, prospecting… it took a lot of hard word, long hours and determination to make my business soar in the first few months. Thankfully I work with a language pair that is always in high demand, which undoubtedly helped a lot!


2. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

I’m a morning person because I have to be, but I definitely love staying up to read a good book or spend time with family. I usually wake up around 6 am which is the perfect time to have breakfast and fit in a bit of work before everyone else is up (7 am, and here comes the tempest!).


3. On average, how many hours do you work a week?

It very much depends. When my business was still very new, I used to work around 12 hours (and loved it). Then, as time went on, I realized it might not be that healthy for my sanity to constantly work long hours. Right now, it can vary from as little as 4 hours to 10 hours.

Now that my daughter goes to day care, I must say I find myself a lot more focused and I’m able to finish projects faster than I was before. That decision was definitely a productivity booster!


4. Do you stick to a set routine or do you prefer to go with the flow?

I do have a routine, and because I love being organised and am kind of geeky about it, I love it. As I said above, I try to work a little in the early hours of the day. Not much, mind you: answering emails, checking out social media, organising my day, etc. From 7 am to 8.30 am, I usually take care of my little one and walk her to day care (I’m lucky enough to have found a facility that’s only a 10 minute walk from where I live). I’m usually back at my desk and ready to rock between 8.30 and 9 am. I then work non-stop until 11.30 am, and from 12.30 to 4 or 5 pm, depending on my workload. I rarely work after that time, and I find it much healthier to draw the line there.

I must also mention that I recently started taking Dutch classes so my Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings are spent out of the office. As you can see, the schedule is pretty intense, so it has pushed me to be even more organised and to work more intelligently. This does not exclude work during the weekend unfortunately, but this is a sacrifice that I’m willing to make for a few months.


5. As freelancers, we are very lucky in that we have a lot more flexibility than other workers. How do you take advantage of this?

I haven’t had the chance to try out those co-working spaces everyone is raving about. However, I would not imagine my life as it is now all the while working in an office. Being a freelancer allows me to take breaks when I want, to go to the gym in the middle of the day, to have lunch out with colleagues or friends, etc.


6. What does work-life balance mean to you? Do you think it’s important?

It is definitely important. It took me a while to find that line where work ends and life begins, but I think I have found it now. Having a family, it’s essential to be there at the right moments – and being a freelancer and therefore having a flexible schedule, you really have no excuse 🙂


7. What’s the biggest productivity challenge you’ve faced running your own business?

I think I’m actually facing it now. As I have said above, I am taking Dutch classes every week (which is a good 12-hour block taken from my work hours). As you can imagine, I have to figure out how to make up for the hours I don’t spend at my desk.


8. How did you overcome it / what are you doing to make things better?

I make a point of keeping my schedule clear and organised, every single day. I work on a Macbook and the Calendar application has been a life-saver. I write everything on it, from work deadlines and blog-related projects, to personal projects and medical appointments. I can be quite the control freak at times, so I colour-code everything and organise the different tasks of the day depending on how long they will take and how much time I can spend on them. The cherry on the cake for me is that you can drag those tasks around, so anything that has not been done or taken care of for x reason (lack of time, etc.) can easily be rescheduled to the next day or a more suitable time.


9. What’s the one productivity tip or tool you couldn’t live without?

I think I’ve just answered that question! I also use my iPhone a lot for productivity, especially the Reminders app which contains everything from my shopping list to business-related things to look into or update.


10. If you could go back in time, what’s the one thing you’d tell yourself when you were just starting out?

I met up with a girl I used to study with at university last week, and she’s thinking of becoming a freelance translator. I told her what I wish I had known when I first started: to have patience at the beginning, to start prospecting early and to not doubt yourself when you receive no reply from your prospects. I think this is good advice in order to avoid to getting your hopes up.


JUST FOR FUN: Finally, we often only see each other professionally and I’d love to peek behind the business – can you name a hobby of yours that might surprise us? What do you do in your downtime?

This is not going to be extremely original, but I am a huge TV and movie buff. I spend most of my evenings trying to catch up on the dozens of TV shows I watch or revisiting classics (I’m on a Hitchcock high at the moment!). I am also a booklover (I know… what translator doesn’t like to read, right?) so when I have the energy, I read a couple of pages before going to bed. My favourite genre? Fiction, especially African-American novels.


Thank you so much for taking part in the series!


Three heads are better than one

Feeling inspired by Emeline’s super-powered organisation skills? Then you might like these articles:


Would you like to be involved in the Great Productivity Project? I’d love to hear from you! Contact me today at marie@lookingglasstranslations.com to be part of it.


  • Emeline Jamoul

  • In Touch Translations

An English and Spanish into French translator, Emeline Jamoul always had a thing for languages and communication. She founded her translation business in 2013 and now happily serves clients with translation of marketing & business, IT and medical texts.

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