What I learned in February 2016

In February I learned that LinkedIn lets you classify your connections using a feature called tagging. By using simple keywords, you can group people by where you met them, the language combination they translate, whether they interpret, live in your country, etc. I must admit I haven’t tried this yet, but it does sound quite useful.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the most out of LinkedIn, please see my miniseries on the topic. I’ve written five parts so far and I still have at least two more to go. As with most things connected with my blog, my problem is not finding the ideas, but the time, especially as I’ve been spending a lot more it with my family recently.

That came up in this excellent video by Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I came across in February. Well worth almost 7 minutes of your day, this thought-provoking and inspiring animation definitely highlights some home truths about how we spend our time and the goals we should really be aiming for.

I’ve also continued to be dismayed to see that a number of bloggers STILL don’t have any buttons on their blogs to share their posts. I mentioned this ages ago in a post on social media and it truly is a basic point. Asking your readers to copy and paste the title, URL and add your name (for Twitter) might not sound like much, but it does require more effort than simply clicking on an icon and everything being automatic, and it might even explain why reader numbers are not very high in some cases.

But the most important lesson I learned in February was to remember who you are dealing with and that no two clients (regrettably, sometimes) are the same.

Unfortunately, when working for an agency that I don’t usually do many translations for throughout the year, I made a copy and paste error that I thought I had already fixed, but given that it occurred twice, I had only changed the first instance. The agency was none too happy with my explanation and made me revise the whole thing again. Fair enough, I suppose. But my more regular clients would not have assumed that one mistake meant that I needed to go over the whole text again. And I expect that’s because we’ve not only built up a relationship based on trust over the many years we’ve been collaborating together, but also because these agencies spend more time and care on revising their translators’ work in the first place rather than skipping that part of the translation process.

Only yesterday I was offered a job and told that the client had opted not to pay for a revision, so the onus was on the translator to ensure there were no errors. So the client spends less money but expects the same quality and the translator has to worry more about the consequences of making a mistake because there’s no safety net. Sound right to you? No, I thought not. I wrote about this frustrating situation in my post Pay special attention to this translation or else. It’s a shame that nearly two years later it’s still just as relevant.

Revisions and the importance of them and how to go about them are a pet subject (regular readers may have realised!), which is why I’ve now set up a category page for this topic. I know revisions are not everyone’s cup of tea/coffee/mate, but my working month is usually a healthy mix of translations and revisions, and I like it that way.

Finally, I also discovered that it’s impossible to switch off being a translator when helping my daughter with her language homework. She did her first actual translation this month from French into English (very exciting) and every time she asked what a word meant, I fired back either: “Look it up yourself” or “What’s the context?” She had rentrer, which turned out, in this case, to mean go back home. “But it doesn’t say ‘à la maison’,” she cried. “I can’t put that. I’ll stand out too much if I do because no one else will think of putting that!”

Students definitely cannot learn early enough that a) you need to work hard and make an effort to learn a language; b) context is everything; c) standing out is a good thing, mostly 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read last month’s instalment, the very first in this new series.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

Explore this blog by starting with the categories page

4 thoughts on “What I learned in February 2016

  1. Some very useful reminders here, Nikki – I find it odd when bloggers don’t have Like, sharing or even comment buttons on their blogs too. What is the point of writing to the world if you don’t allow people to respond, either negatively or positively?

    I loved your story at the end too about your daughter doing her first translation. My son studied French and Spanish at school and university and while I was rarely asked to help at school, I occasionally got the odd translation to read over from his university days and while being careful not to put words in his mouth, I did find myself saying “but is that how we’d say it in English?” Definitely never too soon to stand out and strive for excellence!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fully agree with you, obviously. I also don’t understand why some people have to moderate comments before publishing them either as it can definitely interrupt the flow of the discussion.
      I’m not sure my daughter’s forte is going to turn out to be languages. I’m also not sure how much translation there is in GCSEs these days. When they first introduced GCSEs the translation aspect dropped drastically from the amount I did at O level, but it seems that it’s all change again now.


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