balance · blogging · Christmas · creativity · fatigue · finding your way · freelance translation · freelancing · inspiration · projects · side projects · translation · writing · writing projects

An eye operation, a book, a fainting episode or saying goodbye to 2016

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It’s been a while I haven’t written on my blog. I kind of owe it to myself to write one last piece for the year about to end. Which translates to… trying to account for my mental whereabouts since April. I think I will just focus on the present.

First of all, I have a confession to make. I was thinking of abandoning this blog (and perhaps start a new one some time in the future) as I thought of blogging as an interference with everything else. That is why I haven’t written in 8 months. I gave priority to other things. And I got some pretty cool results, as you will find out if you patiently read along. I trust you will.

What did I learn from this blogging hiatus? Love for writing cannot be an interference with life. And when it does, you take a break.

Taking a break from writing has been impossible, though. The year 2016 has been a good one for me because I have finally finished and published my book Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity. Incredible. I did it. I got there, before the end of the year.

And this is one item off the list, my wish list, my writing wish list. The book is out for the world to read. That’s all I wanted. My exclusive relationship with the manuscript has ended.

A few days prior to the big day of my book’s release, my 7 year old went through an eye operation. I had hoped to avoid being busy with work before and after the operation and, fortunately, nothing major (that I could not manage) happened. Besides the book. I wanted the book to go live before the end of the year and considering it was impossible to have everything ready before December, it had do be right before Xmas and… a few days after the operation.

Theoretically speaking, being ready to publish isn’t exactly the best way to describe the end of a writing journey. The writing journey never ends. Right now, I am thinking of ways the book could be even better. But projects need a deadline and I gave me one.

I will make a tiny parenthesis here to say that in my book I speak of deadlines and of writers and translators. The writers featured in this respect are Tracy Chevalier who wrote her book Girl With a Pearl Earring on a 9-month (biological) deadline and Fyodor Dostoevsky who wrote The Gambler on a 1-month deadline because of an agreement he had with the publisher. Money problems. Inspiring stories we all need to know about. Us whose life is determined by deadlines.

And there I was at the hospital after the operation, fainting. Because of fear, of concern, of love. And because I have a low blood pressure. Let’s be realistic. I know what it means to go through an eye operation, as I went through one myself. But when it happens to someone so close to you, the feelings are just incomparable.

The nurses were nice to their patient (and to me). They gave me tea. I still need to arrange an appointment with my doctor to talk about this, when I am done with a couple of translations, when I am done with 2016. Here’s another deadline for me. See?

I wish you a happy new year and lots of interesting things to pursue!

bohemian · fashion · finding your way · freelancing · life lessons · translation · writing

The many faces of Tilda Swinton (on freelancer’s versatility)

Tilda Swinton from the film “Only lovers left alive.”

“Tilda Swinton is 55 years old”. This is the title of the article I was reading last night. As I was scrolling the incredibly diverse pictures from movies with the Scottish actress, famous for her role as Orlando, I realised I had something to write about. I had no idea what but Tilda’s “many faces” are bound to give me ideas.

I remember reading a stunning article on The Guardian a few years ago, before becoming a translator. It was about the talented, intriguing and unusual Tilda Swinton, actress, model, icon of noble descent with looks and gaze of a solemn, aristocratic yet familiar character, both a woman of next door and a lady to respect. What sets her apart is that singular chameleontic appearance, a self which seems to float between characters, a person of many layers and faces, yet as authentic as one can be.

Life is bound to throw circumstances at you which you might not expect. You might need to shift your focus. Learn your lesson. Read a new book. Finish the one you started. Not to mention continue writing the one you started. Which translates to… an overwhelming loose ends to take care of.

Keeping up appearances is old school. And it is boring. I’d go for a change of direction even if it is on terms of how I perceive life’s events and challenges. I still wear the same outfit. But I wear it with a new conscience. State of mind. I elaborate what happens to me and I don’t want to convince anyone about the changes. I change. The many faces I have are basically one face reflecting an acknowledged and essential versatility.

Many faces means many resources for better life management.

As freelancers, we ought to be as flexible as we can possibly be. This applies not just to how we communicate and work but to how we perceive things and what we learn from life. The learning process requires flexibility. You need to “bend” your convictions if you want to move forward.

Flexibility requires you to act and be someone else so you can be yourself. You are the administrator, the translator, the proofreader, the business owner, the cook, the parent. It is a process.

Happy birthday Tilda Swinton!

diversification · translation · writing · writing projects

Joining the dots: My article for the ITI Bulletin (Sept/Oct 2015) on Diversification for translators

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Hi everyone,

I am happy to let you know that I wrote a piece for the ITI Bulletin, featured in the latest September/October 2015 issue. Which translates to… my first writing piece published on paper (if you exclude a couple of articles I wrote for a magazine and a newspaper back home in my early 20s).

The topic of this article is diversification for which I wrote previously here. The idea has been percolating in my mind recently and finally took shape with this article (page 16 of the issue if I am not mistaken). It is inspired by Steve Jobs’s “connecting the dots” theory and the importance of asking questions.

The power of introspection through words is absolutely cathartic, revealing and …educative.

M.

beauty · creativity · culture · fashion · translation

Cosmetics: Translating for a beautiful yet demanding industry

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Dear all,

Another quick post between deadlines and amidst dreams of a holiday on a Greek island (not happening) or any other nice place even for just three days. Which translates to… I should be taking that much needed long break away from the computer screen.

I recently started working with a client in the beauty industry and I must admit I have often found myself surfing the net looking and cross-checking terms that obviously are to be found on beauty, fashion and make-up sites. IATE and Linguee excluded. The more I translate or review texts for a variety of beauty products, the more I realise how challenging and intriguing it is to recreate the wording in Greek.

These are the difficulties I encountered:

  • The Greek wording for beauty products tends to call for action orientated more towards emotion and a bit less on facts. Information is provided but it is kept to the basics. On the other hand, the description in Italian covers both aspects. On Italian fashion and beauty brand sites there seems to be more accuracy and details when describing a product, what its benefits are and how to make the best out of it, whereas Greek sites tend to focus a lot more on the result and the final impact. Maybe I am wrong but this is the vibe I am getting so far.
  • The writing style is quite different. Most Italian beauty sites express the concept of a product in a more formal tone than the sites in Greek. The Italian wording is clear, powerful and emotional but at the same time there is a lot of explaining. Nothing is missed. Actually there is sometimes “more” than necessary with repetitions that you will not find either on the English or Greek version of a given product.
  • Not all multilingual beauty sites are available in Greek. This means that some of the terms I look up are not always easily found and I need to go in various round about ways to determine the right or best possible translation. Good cosmetics sites include Maybelline, Pupa and Chanel.

And this is what I do:

  • Translate as accurately and as faithfully as possible by making sure that nothing is missed or overlooked while giving emphasis to rewriting the text as if it was written for the Greek audience. What sounds clear and neat in Italian could potentially sound “stiff” and even irrelevant in the target language. This is one pitfall one should be cautious of.
  • Mediate between the two writing styles, between the formal and more accurate way of the Italian source text and the more creative and capturing style that I know that people in Greece (or who read Greek) would expect to read.
  • Ask the client should something is not clear. This is a practice to follow in all cases anyway but it is always a pleasure to see that clients are willing to support a translator’s work.
  • Read more beauty and fashion sites in Greek and Italian and subscribe to interesting newsletters so that news from this industry get right into my inbox. Some valuable sites in Greek are MadameFigaro, real.gr, jenny.gr.

Conclusion:

Things you really enjoy doing can sometimes prove to be particularly demanding. There is a lot of beauty inside “difficult packages”, after all.

M.

inspiration · projects · translation · writing

The #xl8cr8 project

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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.

To find out more about the Translators / Creators project, visit the site: xl8cr8.com.

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.

fatigue · translation · work

Some suggestions about handling translation projects, tight deadlines and fatigue

Dear colleagues, freelancers and tired inhabitants of this globalised world,

Here’s a pretty quick post to share some thoughts of mine (call them tips) about translation work and coping with many projects at the same time. Which translates to…. making the impossible, possible.

I must stress that I have only been translating for five years so these are tips of a newbie. Something tells me I will always be a newbie. It’s a gut feeling.

These are the tips:

  • Take a break every 2 – 3 hours to look outside the window (but please read this article here for specific and professional guidelines). Relax our eyes. Have your cup of coffee or tea standing up.
  • While taking a break you are bound to think of translation work and you could even solve a “mystery” or two about how to better translate a certain term. You rest your eyes but at the same time empower your brain by giving yourself a different “space” to think.
  • Apply used tea bags on your eyes. I haven’t tried it yet but I will do one day. I have been drinking coffee, no tea..
  • Treat translation projects as if they are urgent. If you quickly proceed with one and then another comes in, you are more prepared. I did this last week and as I was approaching delivery of an urgent project (for which I worked over the weekend at high speed), another one came in and I still had an ongoing project to continue working on.

Share your ideas!

a presto,

Magda

creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · translation · writing

Translators who write

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Dear all,

Through the act of translation we get trained to write and with time become more needy of writing. Our desire to write our own things grows. Which translates to…. we are unleashed.

If writing is something you do on the side, it might be intimidating to start, proceed and conclude a project. And it gets worse if you have many ideas because working on many writing projects at the same time could stall the writing process.

But what if you choose to see it from a different angle so that you can actually help your writing?

However and notwithstanding the enigmas of how to handle the writing side of me, I have been able to make a lot of progress this month. So, I don’t really think there’s a best way to do it. It depends on what works best for you.

If life has given you overwhelming events worth writing about, do it. If it has given you frustration and you need to write that too, you can.

But do treat your writing project with love and utmost care. From A to Z. Perhaps as if it was a translation project. You are the happy client that receives a job well done and delivered on time. No one else can judge you. Writing isn’t how you earn your living. Don’t publish your work if you are not ready. The time will come if it’s meant to be.

You met your deadline. A deadline that gives life to more words.

— Do you write too? Do you find inspiration in your translation work? Does translation make you want to write more?

Magda

image from https://stocksnap.io/photo/C332PCV8D0

creativity · slogans · translation · writing

17 fun taglines for promoting translation and language services

To translate isn’t just to articulate. I am sure that my services you will appreciate.

Dear colleagues,

As I was going through my CV this morning now that I have some time, I was thinking to follow Marta Stelmaszac’s advice on including a personal statement. Funny thing, I remember I used to have a personal statement but I was never convinced it actually worked. To be honest, I never invested sufficient time in finding the perfect words. And things are evolving. I get to do more and diverse work in certain translation fields so I must think of something intelligent.

So, as I was trying to find the right words, I have found myself coming up with funny phrases. What’s happening to me?!

And since I can’t use any of them, here I am sharing them here. Which translates to… I better think of a serious one and continue editing my CV now.

These are the taglines I came up with. Some of them might have the potential to sound professional but you be the judge of that.

1. Give me the text and I will do the rest.

2. Trust me with your text and I will do what I do best. Translate! (you have to add “translate” because someone might think that what you do best is making carrot cake)

3. I let no client down because translation is my natural gown. (instead of translation, it can be interpreting, teaching languages etc.)

4. I translate in pajamas but I shoot words like a cowboy in Dallas. (it could also refer to the team)

5. Quality is my second name. Quantity is my first. Nice to meet you.

6. To translate isn’t just to articulate. I am sure that my services you will appreciate. (a bit of a Yoda arrangement here for rhyming purposes).

7. Pick me and peek with me. (come on, it’s not that bad. Look at this from a Beyoncè song:  Peek with me into a parallel universe…)

8. If I can fly you to the moon, why not hire me? Don’t be a fool.

9. People are people, professionals are professionals. Who will you choose?

10. Don’t waste your time and money. Choose a linguist whose speaks like honey. (for extremely polite translators)

11. I will give you the words and you can have my word.

13. I work for your reputation and success so choose me and avoid the mess.

14. What I do is what you want so take the big step cause your competitors could get there first.

15. Serious translator shooting for the stars picking the ones to take you afar. (for the really ambitious ones)

16. I am the one you are looking for so hurry up and come aboard.

17. When I translate, I open a new gate. (or paradise’s gate …that would be too much, don’t you think?)

Seriously though, if you want a serious approach to promoting your services or writing your CV, contact Marta from Want Words.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Oh and don’t forget to tell me what you think.

Magda

PS: My other slogan writing post 15 slogans inspired by freelance translation received an unbelievable amount of shares on social media so thank you everybody!