A New Year’s approach to exercising for freelance translators seeking a perfect work–life balance

Many freelancers start their solo career with grand visions of achieving a perfect work–life balance. They plan to shop when the supermarket is quiet, go for long runs on sunny days or take extended lunch breaks to meet up with friends who have also seen the freelancing light.

Six months of working ten hours per day later, and the dream turns out to be somewhat different from reality. Of course, although this isn’t the case for all freelancers, it is for many. Underestimating the time drain that running your own business can entail can play a key role in this. Tasks like marketing, networking and VAT returns (for starters) all take time away from hours that can be spent actually billing clients. This is part of what chips away at that initial vision.

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Translation and Interpreting Blog Survey

In 2017 I noticed that a number of blogs listed in my blogroll had been closed down and that no entries had been made on several others for months and in some cases years. 2018 has begun with some blog writers announcing they will no longer publish any posts.

After years of being told that running a blog was a must for our business, it now seems that it might not be such a good idea (I explored some reasons for this in this post a couple of months ago).

So is blogging dead? And if colleagues no longer read blogs, where have they gone instead?

If you are a translator and/or interpreter, I would be grateful if you could complete this survey to help me answer these questions. I will keep this survey open until the end of February and publish the results on this blog.

Thank you for your input!

On Loneliness, Friendship and Resolutions

Ours can be a very lonely profession. Especially if we live on our own or are tied to the home as parents or carers. And jobs that ping into our inbox at unexpected times can make us change our plans and batten down the hatches until we meet the deadline. Because we need the money, don’t want to disappoint the client or cannot find anyone else to take the work on for us. And perhaps also because we’ve become workaholics.

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Review of MA in Conference Interpreting at London Metropolitan University

What made you choose London Met?

I studied a BA in Translation and Interpreting in Spain and I loved interpreting. However, after university, I got a full-time job and never worked as an interpreter. A few years later I still wanted to give it a go and become a professional interpreter so I decided to move to the UK to brush up on my English. I worked in PR for two years and then I started looking for MAs in Conference Interpreting. I was already living in London and the MA at London Metropolitan University offered the possibility to work into your B language, which caught my attention. Not all MAs offer this option and I thought working into a B language would be crucial for the private market.

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Books on My Shelves – Don’t Trust Your Spell Check

According to the back cover of Don’t Trust Your Spell Check, “Everybody makes mistakes”. Unfortunately, its author, Dean Evans, is no exception. In a book that promises “pro proofreading tactics and tests to eliminate embarrassing writing errors”, nothing could me more disappointing than finding some of the latter in the body of the text and the tests. Given that this is an independently published book, I guess there was no money for a copy editor and/or proofreader, which is a shame.

Having said that, as an experienced editor and content writer, Evans describes strategies and gives explanations that are well worth noting. And the many tests in the second half of the book are extremely helpful as a training exercise. Although it would be more useful to discuss differences of opinion in person with an experienced tutor, tackling the tests is far better than doing no practice at all.

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Review of the Distance-learning MA in Translation at the University of Bristol

Flexibility

This is the Bristol MA’s USP. For a start, it’s entirely based on distance learning. All teaching is on-line: there’s never any need to visit the campus. This is of course invaluable for anyone who has other commitments to juggle, as I did at the time (I graduated in 2015). What’s more, the course can be completed either in one year full-time, or over two to three years part-time, starting in either September or January.

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4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog

Back in June, Hanna Sles wrote a popular piece for My Words for a Change giving four reasons why every translator should blog. When I first started blogging four years ago, many colleagues, especially those focused on marketing our services, insisted that running a blog was a must. I almost felt guilty that I was still sitting in front of a blank screen, racking my brains for something—anything—to say to get started. And it wasn’t until I attended my first ever translation conference that I finally felt I’d hit on a topic worth writing about.

But is blogging everything it’s cut out to be? Judging by a recent clean-up of broken links on my site, several translators have deleted their blogs and I’m aware of many others that haven’t written anything for a while. So, is blogging worthwhile? I’m going to play devil’s advocate today and look at four reasons why it might not be.

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M.A. in Translation from Kent State University

I received my M.A. in Translation (Spanish concentration) from Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics in 2013, and I have been working as a freelance translator and editor since graduation. I entered the master’s program directly from my undergraduate studies with significant interest in translation but very little knowledge of the industry, and right away I recognized that the program was exactly what I was looking for. I was selected for a graduate assistantship, which involves teaching undergraduate language or translation-related courses. I taught two undergraduate Spanish courses per semester my first year, and I taught a hybrid Spanish course and worked in the language lab my second year. Since I did not have another job while being enrolled in the program, this allowed me to pay for my degree, and it also created opportunities for teaching after graduation.

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memoQ for the non-tech savvy – First Translation (Part 2)

If you read Part 1, Introduction & Review, of this mini-series on ‘memoQ for the non-tech savvy’, you’ll know that I switched over to memoQ from Wordfast Classic a few months ago. My main reason to suddenly change from one CAT to another was because of ongoing problems using Wordfast after updating my system to the latest versions of Windows and Word. I was also fed up of the constant crashes every time I switched on Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) to dictate my translations.

In this second post on memoQ, I’ll highlight the basic steps you need to know to do your first translation in this CAT without watching any videos or webinars or reading the manual in case you’re short of time as I was.  Or your mind starts to boggle at too much techspeak.

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memoQ for the non-tech savvy – Introduction & Review (Part 1)

Changing from Wordfast Classic to another CAT tool had been at the back of my mind for some time. Especially after I updated to the latest Windows and Word versions, which robbed Wordfast of some of its functionality and slowed it down considerably. And coupled with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the dictation software I prefer to use for all my translations, things would often come to a complete standstill and crash. Still I resisted because I loathe trying out new programs, resent the time it takes to set them up and learn how to use and fear something going horribly wrong.

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