My Twitter account was hacked on Monday, 26 July. I tried to recover it by changing the password, but the hacker was too quick for me and changed the email address and phone number so I was locked out. I immediately reported the hack to Twitter Support and naively thought I’d get back control of my account within a couple of days or so.
Once upon a time, there was a lonely translator in a pretty nondescript room in a rather untidy house. She was sitting down to work rather than walking on her treadmill in front of her stand-up desk as the repetitive movement had given her painful plantar fasciitis.
Besides that problem, she was trying extremely hard not to turn green with envy when reading the feeds of her colleagues during her social-media breaks. Because they all seemed to be jetting off to conferences, workshops and other get-togethers and generally enjoying themselves. Life isn’t always a barrel of laughs when the unthinkable happens, you become a carer and are stuck at home. So she hit upon the plan of asking her fellow translators whether anyone fancied a chat.
Feeling left out as the translation conference season was about to kick off again with me still stuck at home, I thought it’d be interesting to chat to colleagues on a one-to-one level. Since some conferences sell access to videos of the talks after the event, others have even been streamed live and blog posts and webinars on a variety of topical subjects abound, it’s the networking you miss out on by not attending events rather than the content. That’s why I asked you all a couple of months ago whether you fancied a chat.
Once you’ve started a blog, how do you keep it going? What can get in the way of posting regularly? The majority of the survey respondents (59%) admitted they didn’t update their translation and/or interpreting blogs at least once every six weeks. In this fourth and final part of the results, we’ll gain some insights into why some bloggers find it hard to publish posts frequently.
The most obvious and most frequent explanation for not writing more often was time constraints.
In Part 2 of these results we looked at the many reasons why people do and don’t blog. Unless you’re running a blog to improve your writing skills and keep a record of your ideas, you need readers. And to attract readers, you have to write about topics that interest them. Nearly 85% of the survey respondents read translation and interpreting blogs. Let’s find out why they read them and what puts the other 15% off.
As expected, the top response in favour of reading blogs was professional interest:
Back in 2013, when I first started My Words for a Change on Blogger (before moving to WordPress in 2015), the pressure on freelance translators and interpreters to blog was quite intense. We were constantly being told that blogging was a must for marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes and to attract clients (as we learned in Part 1 of these results). I felt positively guilty for months because I had nothing to say (hard to believe now, I know, because once I started, I couldn’t stop) and felt that launching myself into the blogosphere was quite scary.
Judging by the responses to the translation & interpreting blog survey, I’m not alone in feeling compelled to blog:
Back in early January 2018, I decided to create the translation and interpreting blog survey because I wanted to find out whether blogging was a worthwhile activity for colleagues and myself. I’d noticed that many blogs listed in my blogroll had disappeared completely (so I had to remove them) and others hadn’t been updated with new posts for months and in some cases years.
It had also been suggested that Facebook, with its immediate exchanges and discussions taking place in a large number of groups ranging from general (Watercooler, The League of Extraordinary Translators, Things Translators Never Say) to specific (Tourism Translators, Translators who use Speech Recognition, memoQ Users), was the new preferred hangout for translators and interpreters.
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?
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.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and the unthinkable happens: a family member is struck with a long-term illness and you suddenly have to take on the role of carer. Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally draining and as time-consuming as looking after a baby, but often with none of the happy milestones marking a transition from one phase to another. Not only does caring take huge bites out of your available work time, it often does not put you in the frame of mind to focus when you finally do manage to sit down at your desk.
Giving up work entirely is not always a financially viable option for the family. In my case, I’ve had no choice but to cut down on my hours and learn to work smarter. Although my earnings have dropped by about 20% in the past two years I’ve been a carer, I reckon the time I spend translating, on admin and other work-related matters is 50% less. I now very rarely work in the evenings or at weekends and I certainly don’t always work a full day either during the week. My aim is to get back to the same level of earnings without increasing the number of my working hours. In this post I’d like to share a few of the ways I’ve managed to ensure that the unthinkable didn’t turn into a financial disaster for my family.