The #xl8cr8 project

translation inspiration I need to stop working to make this announcement. About a year ago me and Ela Hoffman e-met on Twitter. We talked about things we felt warmly about, things we had in common. Most importantly, creativity and art. We noticed patterns that translators follow online and offline and we felt impelled to join forces and create a project which would explore how translation and  creativity intersect and more. A project began to take shape, evolve. The enthusiasm shared by a number of translators and interpreters is our driving force. Which translates to… immense gratitude for their support. I do not think I would have the courage to write this post here if it wasn’t for them… If you want to know the truth, it is not easy starting something that people cannot measure against something else. To find out more about the Translators / Creators project, visit the site: If you work with languages, you may wish to fill out the survey right here. Results will be shared with everyone. For information on the book I am writing ( as part of the project) called “Translation and creativity: connecting the dots”  please go here. To get a “first” taste of the xl8cr8 concept, check out this post I wrote on Globalme. It is called: 7 Ways Professional Translators Share their Creativity with the World In this project I play a “writing” part while Ela is doing the designing (by the way, she is the one who designed the font and the logo) and she is also involved in writing. Back to translation! M.

Shaping your ideas into projects

Dear all,

These last few days were pretty creative. Not hectic but creative and with small and diverse projects. I am working on a small fashion translation (into Greek) for one of my favourite Italian brands, whereas the one I delivered last week was about parenting. What’s more: today my colleague Ela and I announced the launch of the Translators / Creators project which I will be presenting on the blog soon because it deserves a whole post.

Today I want to share some thoughts on projects and ideas.

The more I write and the more I elaborate my favourite topics, the more I am enthralled by how these ideas and topics can evolve.

It would seem that for every idea, there is an appropriate project, a potential transformation into something more concrete and meaningful both for you and for others.

That is how I came up with the course “Dedicating time to your side projects”.

I was not aware that what I was doing was taking an idea (time management) elaborating it (through personal experience with a side project) and finalising it with the creation of a course.

Since the day I started working on DTtYSP, a lot of “side project” work has been taking place! The course itself, as I mentioned here is inspired by the challenges of freelancing. But there is more. A lot of the ideas in the course sprung from the Translators / Creators project aka #xl8cr8 I mentioned before.

But I want to take a step further and look at the “ideas to projects” process.

1. Solutions (projects) are practically right under our nose. You just have to keep your eyes open. The other day I was over to a translator’s website and I saw what has been there all the time “under my nose”. I then Ianded on the website (through WordPress reader) of another translator and my “idea” just clicked. I connected the two “dots” and I think I am getting closer to shaping my ideas with a view to create the projects I am so much looking forward to.

2. Some ideas have a limited potential but they can still be pursued. For me, this is what I have been experiencing with slogan contests. Writing taglines for a wide spectrum of companies is good exercise for a creative mind but they are not what I would call a real diversification for a linguist or writer. It can only be “shapeable” into something bigger if you work in a creative company that provides this type of service along with marketing and campaign material for their clients. Or if you become famous for writing Pepsi’s tagline. But they have a team for that.

3. For every idea, there is the right project. Start writing down your thoughts and you will see whether they are “shapeable” into something bigger or not. I have found out that writing and putting your thoughts on paper, shows you whether there is a “dead end” or not. I think that most ideas have the potential to be shaped into a project or similar but perhaps not as big as you want it to be. For example, an inspirational phrase can be limited to a quote you can use for your site to attract clients, to share with friends on social media or it can be elaborated for a book or become a chapter of a book.

4. Work on your ideas until you see them materialise. Today I started making notes for a new course in an Excel sheet (that was awkward). Of course at some point, I decided to move everything into PowerPoint. Something unpredictable happened. The course idea developed just because it acquired a new “setting”. I added and removed lots of little clouds, boxes and arrows and I am getting there. And even if I don’t, at least I have taken a step forward. On top, I recalled another idea I had kind of archived in my mind and created another slide. I will try not to be confused but working on more than one project is fine with me.

5. The “idea to projects” process is only a fragment of the bigger picture. I realised this as I was making the draft of the course with the clouds and arrows I was telling you about before. Sometimes you need to start from “thinking small” in order to wake up and see that your ideas or even your projects are only a means to something greater and more meaningful. This means getting out of your comfort zone and into a new zone, a new dimension.

6. Trendsetters are go getters. Talking of a new dimension, have you seen the film “Interstellar”? That “5th dimension” had a bit of an impact on me. What we are currently witnessing in the digital world is bound to fade away and loose its initial charm while going out of fashion. Those who have had a tremendous success are the trendsetters and the early adopters (usually with the funds but not always). It is a wise to learn from the best but it is wiser to tap into what could evolve into the adoption of a new idea.

Self-paced online course “Dedicating time to your side projects” now available on Proz

dedicating time to your side projects

Hallo everyone,

I am pleased to announce that one of my “writing projects” has now been concluded!

Dedicating time to your side projects (a practical approach to becoming more productive) is a self-paced online course with a dual purpose:

  • Identify your ideal side project & find ways to allocate time to it

This is a very practical and straightforward course with exercises to help you understand yourself and your current situation better and put things into perspective. Which translates to… a course that could give you the right motivation for your side project plans!

More about the course:

This course guides you through a process that helps you take a good and honest look at how you spend your time. If you have side projects you want to dedicate your time to but feel that there is a lot of pressure from your main professional activity (e.g. translation), this course could help.

How you use your time is up to you. Some things are not necessary, others are just distractions that do not help you work on your projects. You may have to do some compromises.

Think of a garden full of weeds. You need to remove them if you want your flowers to blossom.

Who is it for:

  • Freelancers with another activity / business on the side
  • Creatives / freelancers / entrepreneurs who want to find and dedicate time to a side project
  • Freelancers who are parents
  • Busy freelancers
  • Freelancers who want to review their social media activity

The course is available on HERE and it is offered in various formats. Choose the one that suits you best. Should participants need further assistance, I will be delighted to help.

On more personal note:

This course has been developed in view of how hectic and challenging freelancing can be and how it might be easy to get lost in social media and all the information we are inundated by. Freelancing constitutes a challenge also because we are all exposed to the patterns of success of other freelancers and entrepreneurs and we often forget what our own innate talents are. Your side projects need to reflect your personality, skills and aspirations.

a presto!


Knowing the right answers

Post #7 of Safeguarding your freelance business

Dear all,

When I explain what I do I usually get a smile often followed by a “that must be really hard” or “all those hours in front of a screen …“. But there was one occasion when I was told by someone that if a mom of three, whose personal and family circumstances I am not aware of, can manage alright, then I shouldn’t be having any issues with only one child.

Which translates to… feeling as if they world cannot understand a simple concept: Freelancing has no stable working hours.

In that specific moment I didn’t respond to say that a mom of 3 who works in an office and returns home has a completely different lifestyle from a mom of 1 who needs to stay alert, be available, respond to emails while her child or children are home. I am “fine” with getting emails at 22.00 but if you are a parent it’s not easy. Parents who do “normal” non-freelancing jobs know that the moment they step into their homes, regardless of the noise, no freelancing project is going to “invade” those precious family moments.

Sometimes it takes me a while to react. I mean to things people say. What about you?

The only positive thing about reacting late is that the lesson is not only learned but an “official” reply is ready to be served next time. I don’t recall how I responded but it certainly wasn’t along the lines of my now well-elaborated reply which is now well embossed into my mind:

– Freelancing has no stable working hours (simple) or Freelancing never ends (edgy) or Freelancing moms, compared to moms with non-at-home jobs face a variety of challenges throughout the day (precise)

Safeguarding your business also requires that you know how to describe what you do and that you defend yourself. Don’t overlook at how to best communicate all aspects of freelancing. That way, you avoid a lot of anxiety. You need to be able to communicate your thoughts effectively not only to clients but also to the people that surround you. I thought it would be easy to cope with the latter but apparently it is not.

But – hey – the Spring is here and it seems as if the blossoming around us will show us the path to maturity.

What do you think?


Some thoughts about diversification for busy freelancers

Post #6 of Safeguarding your freelance business

Dear all,

The new year started really well for me. Which translates to….feeling grateful, blessed, lucky and a bit tired.

What I want to address today is the question of …time.

If you have been freelancing for some time and have had to cope with overlapping deadlines and a lot of hours of work from day till late at night, then you know that time is money. Time is a lot more than that.

You need time not just to work. You need time to think. Even if you eventually find out that thinking while working works best. But that is just my opinion. And you need time to figure out how to best diversify your business. What if my clients stop sending me work? What if Italy cuts back on imports to Greece? So far so good but what about tomorrow? However, diversification is also a personal desire. Even if I had the absolute certainty that I would be always as busy as I was recently, I would still do other things.

And by working on side projects (inadvertently diversifying), I have come to some conclusions.

Here they are.

1. UNDERSTAND yourself better. This is the toughest part. Sometimes I think I figured it all out and then I am back to square one. What you are really good at?

2. BE REALISTIC. You might be dreaming of becoming a public speaker at local and international events but if you do not have the time for basic everyday things because you have small kids, then you should be more flexible and find the right thing for the circumstances you are in.

3. BE PASSIONATE. Being realistic is not enough. Your side projects – a way to diversify – need to reflect what you have in your psyche. What is it that could make you happy both professionally and personally? You need to constantly work on your side projects regardless of the little time you can allocate to it. To be able to do that, it has to be something that makes your heart sing.

4. THE SITE (not side) THEORY. I got you now. I am getting into the deep waters of my theory now. Not having my own site has really helped me do some serious thinking about where I am and where I want to be. I am still not there yet completely but some improvements have been made. This is how this theory works: If you were to create a website for your business, how would you name it? What tagline would you have? What pages would you like to see? What clients would you want to attract? I have done this “exercise” a few times and have even deleted a site I started creating. Then I created it again from scratch and the pages I have there now are getting close to what I would like my business to be in the near future. The site is not up yet and I do not even know what is going to happen with it but I am trying to learn from this. For example, if you go for a tagline such as “Connecting Continents” (let us say you are a Chinese translator in France) this could mean opening your horizons for more services and not just translation. You could be a laison or a business consultant too. I have two taglines to be honest. One of them, appears on my Proz and Twitter and the other one…oh well, I keep that for myself. In case, I manage to make all my professional dreams come true.

5. BE FREE. You do not need to do things because others do things. You do things because it is natural for you to want to go for it. If you are busy translating non stop, why worry, why diversify? Yes, I know. It’s your heart’s desire. In that case, yes, go for it. Work while on the bus. I always take notes on the bus. Which I take once a month or so. I started taking notes for a writing project at the playground. Nobody got hurt. :)

6. TEST NEW WATERS. The other day I inquired about writing an article for a publication. I do not know what will happen but I am glad I approached them. I realised I needed to do more than just blogging. If you see an opportunity, try and check it out. A slot of 5 minutes you create today could mean something bigger tomorrow.

That is all. For now.


image source

Tagline or slogan giveaway!


Updated 07/01/2015: Due to new translation assignment (rather urgent too) I might not be able to get back to you straight away. But I will be accepting your requests until the 16th of Jan as promised. :)

Dear all,

I hope you all enjoyed Xmas. May you always be in good health and surrounded by the people you love.

Time to give away something to my readers! I have been thinking about it for some time but I wasn’t sure. Well, today I decided to go for it. Maybe it’s because of the melomakarona?

Here’s the story. After posting some fun and cool slogans on my blog here and here, I took part in a slogan contest and won – out of 300 entries the majority of which were written by English native speakers – which encouraged me to continue exploring this passion of mine.

What you get for free:

A minimum of 3 taglines or marketing slogans for your business to choose from (for the difference between a tagline and a slogan read this) along with ideas, suggestions, keywords to help come up with a tagline or slogan that works.

How to participate:

All you need to do is comment here or email me at phimag (at) live (dot) com. You do not need to follow my blog but I will be glad if you do.

Giveaway period:

From 28/12/2014 until 06/01/2015 (extended until the 16th!)

How it works:

To create your slogan or tagline, I will need the following information about your brand and/or business: goals, mission, what kind of message you want to convey, what you would like to avoid, whether you want to go for something bold, fun, powerful, classy etc. The process is simple, straight-forward and I will be involving you as well for feedback.


The slogan or tagline is written only for you. You cannot sell it. You may use it on your business lit, website, marketing materials and it is completely free of charge. By participating, you automatically agree that your name and/or company will be mentioned on this blog or other channels or material I use for professional reasons. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, I will respect your wish. If you don’t like the slogan or tagline, no worries.

That’s it. Interested? Great! I will be looking forward to hear from you! Really!