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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Why it’s not OK to say ‘a little bit OCD’

As wordsmiths, translators need to use language and terminology as correctly as they possibly can. And that’s why I believe we shouldn’t perpetuate the common misconception that it’s good to be ‘a little bit OCD’. Because it’s totally wrong to assume that being a super-organised person who pays attention to every detail and likes everything to be just so means you’re a bit OCD.

Continue reading

What’s new on the updated ‘Useful Links’ page

First, I’d like to welcome all new followers to my blog. In case you haven’t come across the ‘Useful Links’ page before, it’s a list of links I originally put together for myself to make my working life easier. Over the years I’ve added many more links and divided them into over 40 categories so you can have information at your fingertips to help you work better and faster as well. I use this page every day when I’m translating and, with over 10,000 views so far, it’s also popular with colleagues.

You’ll find more details about the page in this post.

Continue reading

When the unthinkable happens and giving up work isn’t an option

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.

Continue reading

Updated ‘Useful Links’ Page

The ‘Useful Links’ page on my blog is by far the most popular with almost 9,500 views so far. I’ve been working on it in recent weeks, adding some new links that I’ve come across over the past few months. Some of you may have noticed that the clickable ‘Back to top’ hasn’t been working. For some unknown reason, every time I add anything to the page, all the ‘Back to tops’ stop functioning and I have to fix the coding one by one. They should all be working properly again now.

Continue reading

The truth and nothing but: 2017 update on my stand-up desk set-up with treadmill and Steppie

It’s been over two years since I decided my bottom was going to spread no further and that it was high time I got off it and started being more active. Walking the dog (I’ve got a greyhound) just wasn’t enough to counteract the huge amount of time I was spending sitting down either at my desk or with the family on cold winter nights in front of the TV or playing board games.

Galvanised by all the New Year’s resolutions popping up on social media and after reading yet another article on the dangers of our current lifestyle, I decided to get a stand-up desk and a treadmill to go with it in 2015. You can read all about my purchases in my first post on the topic and more details in ‘Answers to Your Questions on the Pros and Cons of Using a Stand-Up Treadmill Desk’.

Continue reading

Fifteen more reasons why you might stop working for an agency

no-1532844_1280Three of the most popular posts on my blog over the years have explored the relationship between translators and agencies: 18 reasons why an agency might stop working with you’; its sequel, based on feedback on the original post, 22 more reasons why an agency might stop working with you’; and a post looking at this relationship from the opposite perspective, ‘Thirteenish reasons why you might stop working for an agency’.

Today’s post is a sequel to the latter based on comments made on the original post, my own experience and opinions I have read in forums or discussed with colleagues in person.

Continue reading

Revision Survey Results – Part 5 – The Final Comments

thank-701985_1280The word is out: having your translations revised is THE way to grow as a translator. If you continue to work in your bubble without any feedback, you’ll make the same mistakes again and again, your word choices will remain narrow, you’ll never learn to think outside the box and your translations might never ever sing.

“I am not sure that one gains too much useful knowledge from a course on revision. Experience of being revised (whether monolingually or via translation) and revising is what makes you a better revisor. The interaction involved in close translator/reviser collaborations on big projects can be an abundant source of learning.”

“I work in a team of three where one person translates, another revises the translation (and the translator accepts/rejects the changes) and a third colleague does a final proof. This system generally works well and we all learn from each other too.”

“My case is special, because we are essentially an in-house team (some of us off-site), working for a host of departments/divisions as our ‘clients’. We have the same cycle for nearly all projects: translator – content reviser – translator – language reviser – translator – final approval (head of team). Therefore the translator has the final say in what to accept or reject from the reviser’s changes. But again, it is generally based on discussion and consensus.”

Continue reading

Review of Christelle Maignan’s ‘Interactive Time Management’ Workshop

‘Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.’ ~Thomas P. Murphy

christelle-maignanAn award-winning, qualified personal performance coach and experienced English-to-French translator, Christelle Maignan is passionate about coaching fellow freelance translators, whether they are new to the profession or have decades of experience under their linguistic belt. With a keen interest in personal development, and over 15 years of experience in the translation industry, coaching seemed like the next logical step in Christelle’s career.

Continue reading