lost in translation · projects · work · writing

(Officially) announcing my book “Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity: Connecting the dots between translation and creativity”

BOOK COVER MAY KINDLE
My book is available in paperback and for Kindle here

 

Only translators know what translators do, how translators feel, what happens “backstage” when we translate, run, juggle, keep up with deadlines.

That’s why it was near to impossible to sit down and properly announce that the book I was writing is finished. The blog has become the “last” to know what I am up to. But I had to take a break from it in order to finish writing my book. And in order to create my professional website. And to keep up with work. And to think of what’s next.

I can now share the news: I have completed my project. A book that took about two years to write. In December 2016, I published the first edition as an ebook only (there was a post about it but it wasn’t an actual announcement) and then I was so eager to update the book with new content, make improvements and add pictures (for which I needed to get permissions) that in May 2017, the second edition was out. In fact the first edition is no longer available. I wasn’t happy with it. It was my first time. My first date. Do you remember how your first date was? Exactly… I might actually share a few thoughts with you about the process of self-publishing in case you are thinking of writing and self-publishing a book a translation related topic. There are a few things you should do first and there are things you should never do.

My book encompasses some concepts that you might not expect from a book on translation. Not a predictable topic, you may say. Creativity. Isn’t that what artists do? Well, I don’t think so and deep down inside you know you are a creator too. You are a creator every time you craft an email to a client you really want to work with. You are an artist when you design your translation site. You are creative when you come up with a marketing strategy and different ways to promote your services. You are creative when you work on a translation so it resonates with what the author intended in the original.

Right now, I don’t know what’s next writing wise. Actually, I think I might need to be more open with you. I have (had) another manuscript in the making. This manuscript is old. Older than “Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity”. It’s got wrinkles and I feel as if I need to write about something else. Is there anybody else who has had a similar experience? What happens with old manuscripts that never made it into a book because you decided that you wanted to work on another book instead? Do you go back or do you go forward? Which translates to….. a semi writer’s block.

That’s my dilemma. I am open to suggestions.

M.

finding your way · freelance translation · freelancing · motivation · work · writing

9. Promise yourself

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image source

Lessons in freelance translation, n.9

Ever get that feeling that life is just too overwhelming and you don’t know what to focus on? Projects you started, book(s) to finish, new ideas surfacing. Which translates to… a feeling of overwhelm when I don’t have a translation to work on.

Today was one of those days. I delivered a small fashion translation this morning and I am free. No other deadlines. The good side of it is that these couple of days I wrote long emails to friends, something I haven’t done in a while.

As far as (writing) projects are concerned, I still have a long way to go but I made a lot of progress as my book is almost finished (oops, have I told you I am writing a book?).

However, I know my limits, I have my priorities so I cannot dedicate all the time, energy and money on my writing project. I wish. But I have made a promise to myself not to give up. Freelancers constantly make promises to clients. How about making a promise to ourselves? Work towards the dream.

For some people it takes longer than others and this is why I needed to get this off my chest. I am fast at things I have to do but slow in doing what I want to do. It is a struggle within.

A promise to ourselves, to work on a side project or to conclude one is good for morale. When times are hard, we can look at our achievements and boost our confidence.

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

freelancing · productivity · time management · translation · work

Coffee drinking trick for better productivity

A quick tip!

Make your day longer by doing this: After lunch, wash your dishes. A clean sink is good for your health especially if you are a parent so that when your kid comes back from school and before you prepare dinner, you will be feeling relieved to have a clean sink. However, if you are on a tight deadline you can skip the dishes and… proceed to coffee, preferably espresso.

Pour your coffee in your favourite cup and drink. Go take a NAP for at least 20 minutes. You can sleep longer (try not to overdo it the way I sometimes do) but the point of doing this is to sleep for the duration of the time caffeine starts having effect.

Read this article here for more info (I have known about this technique for a few years, quickly googled it and this article cropped up – it’s from 4 days ago, so go read it).

Magda

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 · work

3. Sow today, reap tomorrow

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Lessons in freelance translation, N.3

I had a busy week and a busier weekend and I had no intention to write on the my blog but ..here I am.

Yesterday I received a phone call from a client I did work for in July (for them I had translated 60 pdf pages of an arbitration award from Italian to Greek in 14 days which meant I was working round about 18 hours per day).

They said they were very pleased with my work and, therefore, due to increased work flow they called to say they would be delighted to work with me on a more regular basis and for a big client of theirs. They already have another translator on board but they need someone else.

And they chose me! Which translates to a bigger challenge of course as I would need to keep up with other projects and family life.

Of course I said yes and later in the afternoon I received my first assignment which I should deliver today by 12.00.

(woke up earlier today to finish up writing this post)

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to hear from this client again. I thought that they only needed someone to do that urgent work in July.

Being dedicated and flexible does count at the end of the day. You might not see the results straight away but people will remember you when they are in need. When they have to make decisions.

We all acknowledge that if you work hard today, you will reap rewards tomorrow but it’s amazing when it finally happens to you when you were not expecting it.

And getting a phone call was a lot better than receiving a simple email. It was good news.

Now that I have talked with the client again (it was impossible to “talk” while that July project was underway) I realised that she was counting on me back then. She knew how tough it was.

And the client returned.

M.

balance · finding your way · freelancing · motivation · procrastination · time management · twitter · work

How freelancers (and Twitter enthusiasts) can tame the procrastination beast

{What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.}

Procrastination.

A popular topic.

A normal human condition.

Here’s what. I will be viewing procrastination as a beast that wants to eat you alive.

Just joking.

Perhaps I should try to be a bit softer around the edges.

Procrastination is a beast you have to kill now.

Too strong?

Let me give it another go.

Procrastination is a BAD AND UGLY BEAST that prevents you from doing the BEAUTIFUL THINGS YOU WANT to do.

I think this sounds better.

Now.

I can’t wait to share with you one edgy way to stop putting things off. Things that mean something to you. Starting ~which translates to…~ blog was one of those things. So bear with me and I will tell you how I did it.Maybe you want to try it out too.

There’s one thing you should always remember.This beast is BAD. It’s stronger than you. And it has many friends.One of those friends, my friends, is TWITTER.

FIGHT THE PROCRASTINATION BEAST THROUGH WORK & LESS TWEETING

Are you spending too much time on Twitter (or other social media) during work or after finishing a project?

(there’s no way of this thing working unless I also talk about Twitter).

If you are a procrastinator, spending too much time on social media can make things worse.

I am not saying that in order to fight the procrastination beast, you should stay away from Twitter or your favourite social media platforms.

(that could actually help a lot though and you know it)

I’m saying that while you will be trying to fight procrastination, you are going to be facing procrastination’s BEST FRIEND. Social Media. So, we will have to take that friend into consideration.

This unusual way of fighting the P. beast and its friend can be summarised this way:

Fight procrastination + Control your social media addiction + Get work done + Do the things you love.

The whole package.

You see, I did it.

Me. Someone who has been putting off having a writing blog for almost two years. Someone who was writing drafts of posts and other stuff on her smartphone and a folder on the computer collecting digital dust.

Yes. Me.

You see, if you are not working, or if you are not very busy, it’s likely that you will don’t feel the pressure of running out of time which translates to spending more time on Twitter (or other social media platforms.)

However, there is one thing I want to emphasize here.

I don’t believe that people that spend a lot of time on Twitter on a daily basis are necessarily people who aren’t busy. They can actually be terribly busy but they also love to spend time on Twitter.And when you love doing something, you do CREATE TIME for it, don’t you?

If you are sending 20-30 tweets a day it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have nothing else to do. It could mean that you are multi-tasking and you are doing YOUR WORK and you are CONNECTING with others.

But what if combining WORK + SOCIAL MEDIA isn’t helping you overcome procrastination?

What if there was a way to fight procrastination, do what you want and need to do and send tweets too?

(but not too many tweets and probably not on a daily basis)

Interested?

Keep reading.

(if you are still with me, that is)

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER

As I mentioned earlier, it took me nearly two years to start this blog.

The moment I started pursuing it, I kept getting more translation work. There was no way I could get down to seriously start my blog project because I constantly had to shift my attention to urgent work (with translation almost everything is urgent). There was no time management that could help me, no praying for time as the song goes.

I was also writing another rather demanding blog and co-writing on another which is partially “to blame” for postponing my writing blog. Still, the idea here is that it was ME who was doing this to MYSELF. Excuses or no excuses.

Basically, I was in a rut that went something like this:

Translation work + family + errands + other blogs + calls and emails from friends + more translation work + family + household chores + other blogs

& so forth

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

And here’s the deal:

The increase of translation work helped me kill my procrastination habit.

What?

(if you are still here, please continue reading)

KILLING THE BEAST SOFTLY

The more you make promises to yourself or create insane to-do lists, the less likely it is to find the time to stick to your plans. If things keep coming up and if freelance life is so unpredictable, you are going round in circles.

What you need to do is be flexible. Don’t go against the tide. Go along with it.

I was unaware that I was finally finding a way to get on with my blog project. And I did this through translating. I guess this was the only or best way for me. I kind of need a challenge to get to do things. It might not work for you so don’t try this at home unless you love taking risks. Or trying different things.

This blog was created while translating on some crazy deadline.

Instead of waiting until my project was over, I started this blog. Because I knew that once my translation work would be over, I would be dragging this tired body for a NAP.

And I was completely unaware that I was coming up with a “way” to fight procrastination. Well, at least my way.

KILLING THE BEAST SOFTLY. WARMING UP

(please follow these steps in this order)

1. Focus on your work but don’t “forget” about your project.

2. Between “breaks” or periods without work, “think” about what you want to do without doing anything. Yes, do absolutely nothing. But make notes about it. Make it even more desirable. Lay out a plan on how you wish to proceed or be totally relaxed and just write down your thoughts and feelings. Why is this project so important to you? Is it important to you? Why do you put it off?

3. Do your job (for me it was translation) and, gradually, every time you have a “break”, look at your notes. Rewrite things so you are convinced that this is something you really want. (I have filled half a diary with these notes about my upcoming blog and other projects. I had to give up on some of them)

4. Go back to paid work. Work that pays the bills. Your project can wait. Give time to your project to simmer. See how much you want it.

5. Let your job “take the best of you”.

In the meantime, try to spend less time on social media. Continue sending tweets but don’t overdo it. If you can, tweet about your project. If you prefer not to, set a maximum of 4 tweets a day for 3 days.

Tough?

I know.

KILLING THE BEAST

1. Start simple. Let’s say you want to apply to a magazine you have been reading for a while for an article submission. Create a new email. Get the email address and the name of the person to address your query to. Start writing the first paragraph. If the beast is trying to bite you, refuse to give up. Stick to your guns. At least, finish the first paragraph. One finished sentence could induce another sentence. Or a hundred more.

2. If along the way you have a job assignment, all you need to do is focus on your assignment. Of course. But you are not anxious anymore about having done nothing for your project.

3. You promise to yourself that the moment you deliver the job to the client, you will get back to your project. If you feel like it, go take a peek at what you wrote or started. Add another piece to the mosaic. Just one. Add more pieces to the mosaic. You can do it while working or tweeting.

4. Add more pieces to the mosaic. You can do it while working or tweeting. But you PROCEED. You combine things. You control things. You control your LIFE. You might not get there very soon but you will.

Procrastination.

A normal human condition.

And with social media it could get worse.

But not necessarily.

Magda