creativity · motivation · music · paraphrasing lyrics · translators

Made of stars

As I am trying to wrap up a hair product translation for which I found myself navigating through a plethora of hair-styling sites and emailing a Greek hair care specialist, I need to stop to write this.

You might have heard of The Open Mic founded by Dmitry Kornyukhov), a breakthrough blogging platform for translators and translation professionals. If you haven’t heard of it yet, check it out now. This is the first time that translators get together and call the shots without being “conditioned” by the big players of the translation industry. If someone knows about translation work, bare and real, it’s those who stay up all night to meet deadlines to pay rents, bills, loans, coffee packs. I think that The Open Mic has potential and what I feel like saying is that Dmitry has proved to be a creativity star.

What I got to share with you today is inspired by the origami stars created by Kozue MacMichael, a lovely, warm-hearted and amazingly creative colleague I had the opportunity to e-meet recently through my course.

As I was looking at the little shiny origami stars she made for The Open Mic here, my mind flew to a song by Moby and – you know me – when I connect the dots, something unusual occurs! Which translates to...a book, a post, another idea for an article or skipping lunch, to name some effects of creativity. In this case, it’s paraphrasing lyrics. This is not the first time I do this and believe me, I don’t want to be “labeled” as someone who paraphrases lyrics but I guess I will take my chances.

(few changes have been made to the lyrics)

We Are All Made Of Stars

Growing in numbers
Growing in speed
Trying to shape up the future
Trying to create what to see

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars

Efforts of others
Left in my mind
I sing in the reaches
We’ll see what we find

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars

Slow slow slow, come come
Someone come come come
Even translation is goin’ ’round
You can’t ignore what is goin’ ’round

Slowly rebuilding
I feel it in The Open Mic
Growing in numbers
Growing in peace

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars

Translators they come together
(Translators they come together)
Theories they fall apart
(Theories they fall apart)
No one can stop us now
(No one can stop us now)
‘Cause we are all made of stars
(We are all made of stars)

We are all made of stars
Translators they come together
We are all made of stars
(Theories they fall apart)
We are all made of stars
(No one can stop us now)
‘Cause we are all made of stars
(We are all made of stars)


Original lyrics here

branding · creativity · inspiration · music · translators

For Olatz Rodriguez

I didn’t know Olatz in person but I came across her on Twitter. She was one of those translators I considered highly creative and with a passionate story to tell. People give you signs that if you interpret them wisely and with an open mind you just know there are things you share in common.

Olatz was tremendously creative. It was easy to see by her brand name: Transolatzion, a mix of her first name Olatz and Translation. I am stunned by how translators are creative and she was a glowing example. It couldn’t be more personal than that. If your brand is you, Olatz gave us a great example to be inspired from.

I assume that the beautiful handwritten fonts on her site were designed by her.

I was shocked when I read that she died. And I even sent a direct message to one of the girls who shared the devastating news to find out what happened to this girl of an angelic face and wise eyes.

I can’t even imagine the pain and shock her beloved ones might feel. She was only 23! I repeat: 23 years old.

As I wanted to somehow write about Olatz on the blog, I went over to her site and discovered that she had a YouTube Chanel. I would like to share with you a little video by Olatz. She is playing Nothing Else Matters.

Let us all learn from her departure. Let us embrace our future and go after our dreams. Olatz was teaching English language to children in China when she passed away. That was the story she somehow tried to tell the world. Your dreams are out there. Nothing else matters.


PS: For Spanish speakers: Marie Claire Cruz has dedicated a post for her colleague here. Also football player Aritz Elustondo dedicated a goal to Olatz.



creativity · diversification · freelancing · projects · side projects · training · translators · writing projects

Self paced course now available: How to find the right business side project

productivity course

Hallo everyone,

I am pleased to announce that one of my writing projects has now been concluded.

How to find the right business side project (and allocate time to it) 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 a 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.


freelance translation · freelancing · kids · mom · parenting · translators

7. The right words

image source


Lessons in freelance translation, n.7

When I explain what my job is, I usually get a smile of amazement often followed by “what do you translate” or “where is your office“. I have learned to be proactive and normally give a brief description of what I do based on what I was asked in the past to avoid feeling awkward. Which translates to… feeling as if the world cannot understand a simple concept:

Freelancing has no stable working hours and parenting is a 24/7 “job”.

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. That someone was not a parent, of course.

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.

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 carefully thought out reply, 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)

Communicating effectively with everyone, including non-clients, is also a way to improve self-awareness and increase self-esteem (and avoid unnecessary anxiety) But – hey – the Spring is here and it seems as if the blossoming around us will show us the path to maturity and prompt responses.



creativity · freelancing · inspiration · lost in translation · mom · parenting · slogans · taglines · translation · translators · writing

15 slogans inspired by freelance translation

translation is embedded_grey
image credit

Dear all,

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but I think it’s time to share some of my slogans with you. These phrases are inspired by translation and everyday life as a translator, freelancer and mom. Which translates to things you can’t exactly predict as some of these popped out of nowhere!

As you will see, a few of these phrases are inspired by titles of movies and other famous sayings but still they are mine so please bear in mind that if you need to use them in anyway please kindly indicate the source. Commercial or marketing use of these slogans isn’t allowed without permission.

1. It’s never too (trans) late.

2. When the cat’s away, the mice will translate.

3. Natural born translators will always try to translate silence.

4. Translate your emotions.

5. Translation is embedded into life. The things we say or do often get translated, mistranslated or completely lost in translation.

6. Freelance translator: Owner of a life between deadlines, coffee cups and hopes for a better pay.

7. Some women wish they could afford diamonds. Others wish they could afford a baby-sitter.

8. Coffee is a translator’s best friend.

9. Having trouble with a foreign text? Hiring a professional translator is what you should do first!

10. Translators rewrite the world so you can have a better life in it.

11. Freelancing and raising kids on a budget isn’t as hard as you think. It’s actually a lot harder.

12. Nobody is going to wait until you are ready so forget about not being ready and follow your dreams now.

13. There are two ways to achieve work life balance when you have kids: Hire a baby-sitter or a cleaning lady or both.

14. A shy translator meets deadlines. An extrovert one also meets direct clients.

15. The text is yet to come.

Those are the 15 slogans I have right now. Let me know which one you like best and if you are interested (or know someone who is) in hiring me to write catchy phrases for, let’s say, a marketing campaign, I will be delighted to do it. It would be fun! Just email me at mgdp05 (at) gmail (dot) com.


balance · movement · productivity · translators · work

Changing our movement habits in our everyday activities with the Alexander technique


Today a post on Olga Arakelyan’s blog Your professional translator had me thinking. It reminded me of how much I used to dance and the dance courses I attended in the past and so forth. One of the things, I vividly and passionately recall is the Alexander Technique.

And I just had to write something about it.

Continue reading “Changing our movement habits in our everyday activities with the Alexander technique”

freelance translation · freelancing · translators

2. Ousourcing is a delicate process

Lessons in freelance translation, n.2

Today’s post is about choosing the people to outsource work to and collaborate with on projects. Translators or other freelancers if you are in a different type of industry.

Before I start hitting those keys, I wanted to recommend a blog post by Alina Cincan of Inbox Translations on Lingua Greca’s Blog Adventures in Translation where she was describing the difficulties of dealing with translators.

I think that’s a must-read post and I had to include it here because it kind of encourages me to share some things about this topic myself regardless of the fact that I am not a Project Manager. From the comments of that post (60!) you will see that many translators have something to say about this.

At the beginning of your career, you will probably find yourself collaborating with other freelancers.They can be beginners. They can also be more experienced.

One of the things I love about freelancing is exactly this:

Getting to meet and interact with new people.

It’s through people that we learn. It’s through experience that we develop our skills. We construct our freelance career along the way and always through interaction with others.

The moment we see that we get more and more work, we may choose to outsource to other freelancers instead of turning down a job. Especially if the project comes from a new client.

Choosing the right person to outsource our work to isn’t always easy.

We might be lucky if we already know someone but what happens if we don’t?

These are a few things you may want to consider:

1. Pick someone you know will do an excellent job. If you are a translator, don’t be tempted to hire someone who simply knows the languages or a translator you know very little of. Also try to work with someone who works in the same country as you do. If you decide to work with a someone who’s both a friend and a colleague, make sure that he/she can do an excellent job and above all that your friend will accept feedback and that he/she will not take any corrections personally. One way to find someone reliable is to ask around. As far as freelance translation is concerned, if you know professionals who work in different language pairs, ask them if they know someone who works in your own pairs. I once found an interpreter this way for a client of mine and I have the names of two “verified” translators in case I need to outsource.

2. Have your “touchy personality” radar on. If you realise that the person you are hiring might have issues accepting feedback (regardless of whether this is a friend or someone you have just connected with), it’s advisable not to proceed. You need to be able to be honest with others the same way others should be honest with you. Great collaborations are built on dedication from both ends, honesty and sincere (yet polite) feedback.

3. Make sure you have been clear about payment and delivery details. If you are a freelancer and not an agency you would need to consider that a timely payment to your collaborator might not be always possible. You must clarify that from the very beginning. You may also want to advise what’s the official deadline (Monday 10.00am to end client) allowing time for review (please let me have this by Thursday 16.00). I believe that having those two deadlines in mind is better. But that’s just my opinion.

4. Provide help, resources and links. Send glossaries if available, links or anything that can facilitate the work. After you have reviewed the translation, send a copy to your colleague so that he/she is aware of any corrections you might have made and ask him/her to go through the reviewed translation and to let you know if he/she agrees or has something to add. This is key to a sincere and productive collaboration.

If you have something else to share, I’d love to hear it.

Freelancing doesn’t always mean working alone. We might be alone in the house, but we are part of a team. A team that includes PMs, colleagues and you. Which translates to a rather intriguing kind of work that begs for flexibility and collaboration.

Let’s make the best of it.


image credit

freelancing · kids · mom · motherhood · parenting · translators

Keep calm and don’t panic (for parents who freelance)

keep_calm_and_don__t_panic_by_miss_cupcake1102-d4rzhud{be calm and help
your kids be calm too}
Parents learn the hard way. (Okay, sometimes, they learn the panic way. It’s wrong but it’s normal.)

Same way as most freelancers do. We can get iffy projects, suspicious projects, clients that don’t understand the work we do and expect lower prices and fast deliveries. We can’t afford to be too emotional. And most important of all: We need to give an image of calm, of self-restraint, of being cool.

Most of the time we only realise how crucial it is to be able to maintain a certain level of calm and self-control until we come across situations which test our patience.

How we react to those high hazard challenging situations shows how fragile we really are.

With kids, things get a bit more complex.


It’s daily routine!

Today’s tip is very simple yet very tough to always follow.


Which translates to enjoying a peaceful day of freelance work.

No surprise how “Keep calm and carry on” and a variety of versions has gone viral!

The name of the GAME is CALM.


Your baby cries desperately because he/she cannot find a favourite toy. Keep calm and in a calm way explain that we are going to find it. You know you probably won’t but if you see desperation, show hope. Avoid saying things like “it’s nowhere to be found”. Don’t panic. Don’t try looking into the bin for it. Keep calm. It helps your kid to stay calm. Then, under a calm situation (can be the day after) you will say “still can’t find your toy, have we looked everywhere”?

The moment “it gets to you”, is when you know how fragile you still are.

And you want to be less fragile.

You must work on being less fragile.