Freelance Focus: Rachel Malcolm

Today we speak to Rachel Malcolm about travel, translation and the freedom of freelance…

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Three things, mainly: travel, translation and French films. I also edit two national publications (ITI Bulletin and Newsli) and do occasional work as a French-to-English translator.

Where are we likely to see your work?
My travel pieces appear mostly in magazines (I’ve written for ELLE, Candis and Food & Travel, among others) and online at As editor of ITI Bulletin (the bimonthly journal of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting) my role mostly involves commissioning others. However, I do also write features for the magazine myself, and I’ve interviewed lots of high-profile translators and interpreters, including one who worked in Darfur.

Finally, I write a blog about French films at, which I absolutely love doing.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Going on a wild camping trip in Ontario was amazing, and really did change my life as I was such a city girl – now I love being in nature just as much. Seeing bears, moose and deer in their natural habitat was unforgettable.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
It would be fantastic to be invited to a glamorous, red carpet film premiere, and write about it afterwards.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
I keep a close eye on the news, and I follow discussions on various forums and websites. When it comes to ideas for travel pieces, press releases are a very helpful starting point.

How can PRs be useful to you?
By sending over press releases on relevant topics and responding quickly to any queries.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
By email, definitely. Any time of day is fine!

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
I like to attend as many as possible, they’re fun and it’s always good to meet people in person – I find it’s much more effective than email.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
A couple of times, I have been promised something but then been ignored when I’ve followed it up, which is frustrating.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I’d probably be a translator, as I love the French language so much – working with words is my passion so I can’t imagine doing anything radically different from that. I also really enjoy being freelance and the freedom it brings.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Something totally decadent that I could never otherwise afford: an amazing dress from Liberty, front-row tickets to a West End show and then, the ultimate indulgence, a taxi all the way to my front door.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I love the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith – they’re such lovely, gentle, funny books that restore your faith in human nature. I subscribe to Living Etc and ELLE, which I love, and generally buy a few other glossy magazines each month too. As for blogs, I follow about a dozen but my favourite is Chocolate & Zucchini.

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[img|jpg|Rachel Malcolm]

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