It’s been about six months since I purchased the 2018 11” iPad Pro. This was my first iPad, and I bought it for the express purpose of transitioning as much as possible to a paperless existence as an interpreter. I want to compose a blog entry detailing how I use it, what exactly I use it for, and my recommendations for anyone considering buying one. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, as there really is a treasure trove of uses I’m continuing to discover.

In summary, my iPad has essentially revolutionized my business life. I now go on my laptop a couple times a month, and I would say 80-90% of tasks I need to complete are just as easy or easier from the iPad. I use exclusively my iPad for note-taking during assignments, for billing, emails, terminology, and social media. My trusty but lonesome 2012 MacBook Air now stays at my desk and is pulled out only for the occasional document translation and other odd jobs.

So I’ll just break down the professional tasks I use the iPad for, and any apps I’ve found essential or useful along the way.

  1. Note-taking

    I no longer use spiral-bound notebooks at assignments. I keep one on hand for emergencies, but have only needed to defer to paper for interpreting in detention facilities where electronics are not permitted. My go-to app is Notability by Ginger Labs and I highly recommend it. Besides allowing for seamless note-taking in consecutive, it has a lot of great potential for language learning as well. I won’t go into detail here, but if you’re wondering, here’s the skinny on consecutive with the iPad: it’s way better and way easier than with a paper notebook. I’ll never go back.

  2. Scanning apps

    For the neanderthal agencies who still require submission of paper invoices, I use ScanBot to immediately scan and upload paper into my iCloud drive, where everything is labelled and sorted. I also do this with tax forms, interpreter manuals, checks etc. I have a tiny one-drawer file cabinet at home that is about 1/4 full and rarely gets used these days.

  3. Glossaries

    I use Google Sheets to create terminology glossaries according to category (oncology, immigration, traffic etc.). With Google I can easily share them with colleagues and update them between devices.

  4. Invoicing, mileage, deductions, receipt tracking

    I do all of this with QuickBooks Self-Employed, and I’m not sure it could be more smoother. At the end of the day, or a few times a week, I swipe all of my trips and all of my transactions as business or personal. All my direct clients are invoiced through Quickbooks; I accept essentially any form of payment: check, bank transfer, card, PayPal. QuickBooks keeps track of payment dates, overdue invoices, and remembers your clients to automatically generate future invoices for them.

  5. Reading

    With the comfortability of the 11” screen, reading in Spanish has become much more accessible to me. I read El País and mark up articles in Notability. With Kindle I’m able to read during downtime at assignments, helping me with my goal of reading 50/50 English/Spanish this year.

I’m sure you can tell by now, but I can’t really imagine life without the iPad at this point. I carry around much less, spend less time on my laptop, read more, and have quick and full access to my iCloud drive in ways that I don’t on my phone. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned in the past months with anyone interested in taking the plunge and using an iPad as an interpreter. Thanks for stopping by!

Photo by Darrell Moore on Unsplash