Let’s be honest, after completing a four-year undergraduate language degree (and spending the previous 15ish years in education), the last thing you probably want to do is go back into education.
That’s how I felt at least. I had just graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in German with Dutch and decided I wanted to be a translator. I started to look for jobs in translation, but it seemed as though they all required an MA, so I did some research into Translation MA courses.
There were two universities I was interested in: Surrey and Manchester. I had no preference, so applied and was accepted to both. Shortly after, my partner received an offer for a job based near Manchester and we decided to relocate together.
In Part 1 of this mini-series on ‘memoQ for the non-tech savvy’, I gave a brief introduction to memoQ and reviewed this CAT tool after switching to using it from Wordfast Classic. That was over three years ago and I’m still getting to grips with all the many features.
If you’re as bewildered as I am by all the tabs and buttons, I hope these posts will help you find your way around memoQ so you can start translating your first document with a minimum of fuss asap (because time is money, right?).
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.
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.
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.
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.