On speaking the client’s language (not the opposite)

alexandra-633017-unsplash

Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

I changed my bank accounts – moved to another bank. There I was, at my new bank, signing the endless sheets of contract papers while the manager was explaining how they worked using banking jargon. Besides feeling extremely mad I was losing precious working hours because the manager did not have everything ready, as she said she would, I felt lost a couple of times because I did not understand the specific terms she used. And I felt embarrassed for having to ask her what they meant. When I finally understood, I started asking myself why she wouldn’t use another term, a more commonly-used one with exactly the same meaning.

I struggle to understand financial and banking operations. Whenever I have to deal with related matters, I postpone it to the last possible minute. And when I finally have to take the bulls by the horn, I feel bored and petrified I might do something wrong I may regret later. So why make my life easier and use lay terms if they can show off their banking expertise, right?

I use every single experience as a customer to learn how to deal with my own clients. If I like something, I try to adapt it to my translation business. If not, I reflect to see if I do the same with my clients and, if so, I immediately try to change it.

Do I want my client to feel the way I feel when I have to deal with things I don’t understand?

We should always keep in mind that if a client is coming to us it means they want their problem solved. It doesn’t matter how we do it and the terms we use to describe it. In order to win the client, we need to be as straightforward and clear as possible, and make them feel relieved their problem will be solved according to their needs, so they can go on and worry about other things. We should try to make their lives as easier as possible.

On this note, is it really that important that the client knows the difference between a translation and an interpreting service? Will it really change your entire life to “teach” the client that you are an interpreter, not a translator, for Pete’s sake? In Portuguese, we have different terms for translation into our mother tongue and into our B language (the latter is called versão). Do my Brazilian clients need to know this difference?

Let’s leave our ego aside for a moment and take the focus off us and make it on the client.

First and foremost, we are the language experts – the main reason we should be the ones to speak our client’s language, not the opposite. Secondly, we will be the ones to handle their (written/spoken) words – another reason we should be the ones to speak their language, not the opposite. Thirdly, don’t you just love when, as a client, the service provider truly understands you and doesn’t vomit jargons you don’t understand?

Listen to your client, instead of focusing on “educating” them or “teaching” them. Try to truly understand their needs and talk to them in a language they understand. Do your homework and research more information about them to get to know them even further and understand their language and their world. Always remember the client is king/queen.

 

Advertisements

Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra – Parte 1

Nesse último fim de semana, de 15 a 17 de junho, foi realizado o 9º Congresso Internacional de Tradução e Interpretação da Abrates (Associação Brasileira de Tradutores e Intérpretes), no Rio de Janeiro. A localização não poderia ser melhor: Rio Othon Palace, hotel em frente à praia de Copacabana, cuja beleza nem o tempo ruim foi capaz de diminuir.

Eu e minha grande amiga Carolina Ventura, supercompanheira de aventuras e de profissão, chegamos já na quinta-feira, pois queríamos aproveitar para descansar um pouco antes do congresso e aproveitar a cidade. O tempo, como eu já disse, não ajudou muito, mas conseguimos pelos menos ir à Confeitaria Colombo comer torrada Petrópolis e nos encantar com sua beleza.

Na sexta-feira, aproveitei a tarde para gravar alguns episódios para o podcast TradTalk que, aliás, voltará com a segunda temporada no mês de julho. Aguardem! Conversei com a Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia; a Liz e a Pati, da Ideal Translation; e o Fabiano Cid, da Ccaps. Todos bate-papos deliciosos! Mal posso esperar para vocês ouvirem/assistirem.

Com o tema “Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra”, os keynotes de abertura, Petê Rissatti e Rane Souza, mostraram que o tema da inclusão e da diversidade seria o foco do congresso. Como disse Roney Belhassof no Twitter, “É emocionante estar em um congresso com dois keynote speakers negros. Um homem e uma mulher.” Não deveria nos causar estranheza (boa, nesse caso), mas como disse o próprio Petê, embora estejamos em pleno 2018, infelizmente, ainda é necessário discutir alguns tópicos. Petê é negro, gay e candomblecista e fala com conhecimento de causa. Segundo ele, não temos o direito de dar nossa opinião sobre o lugar de fala alheio, mas podemos, sim, falar segundo o nosso ponto de vista, de forma empática. Concordo com ele quando diz que traduzir e interpretar são atos de empatia. Consequentemente, todo tradutor/intérprete precisa ser empático e entender o outro. E, para sermos empáticos, precisamos nos livrar dos preconceitos. Petê, tradutor literário, encerra sua emocionante fala exigindo respeito: “Não dá pra continuar do jeito que está. Nós temos pressa!”

image1

Petê Rissatti

Tanto no encerramento da fala do Petê quanto no início da fala de Rane Souza, também tradutora, Marielle Franco é mencionada. Rane, por sua vez, nos mostrou números e fatos da história negra no Brasil. Embora seja falado em minoria, 56% da população brasileira é negra/parda. Infelizmente, não há dados específicos sobre o mercado da tradução, mas no Jogo do Privilégio, proposto por ela, pudemos ver que não há representatividade. Entre os cerca de dez voluntários, apenas dois eram negros. O propósito do jogo, criado pelo Instituto Identidade do Brasil, é mostrar como a desigualdade racial afeta todos os aspectos da vida dos negros. A princípio, muita gente, inclusive eu, acreditou que o jogo não funcionaria; afinal de contas, quem estava lá, querendo ou não, teve uma realidade de vida diversa. No entanto, o jogo foi chocante e emocionou a nós todos. Uma coisa é ouvirmos falar sobre desigualdade racial; outra coisa é vermos ou sermos expostos, de alguma forma, às consequências dela. Por fim Rane nos disse: “Sou perseguida por policiais TODOS os dias em lojas e estabelecimentos comerciais!”

Assim como na hora, agora fiquei novamente sem ação (e com lágrimas nos olhos) após relembrar essa frase impactante. Eu, em toda a minha brancura, jamais saberei na pele o que é isso. No entanto, fico feliz em sentir, com ela, com o Petê, com a tragédia da Marielle Franco, com meus amigos. Ao chorar ouvindo relatos desse tipo, dou-me conta de que sou humana, que sinto as dores dos meus iguais, que respeito o lugar de fala alheio e só posso tentar entender, embora saiba que jamais serei capaz de saber de fato como é. Isso é um sinal de que estou no caminho certo e que é meu dever como ser humano ajudar meus iguais.

image2

Rane Souza

Fazendo uma ponte com a fala de abertura do William Cassemiro, presidente anterior da Abrates, Rane encerra ressaltando que precisamos estimular a profissionalização do nosso mercado em todos os sentidos, inclusive para os negros. O que podemos fazer? Observar nossas próprias práticas e aumentar a representatividade. O negro se sente mais à vontade sendo traduzido/interpretado por outro negro.

Após toda essa carga emocional e inclusiva da abertura, o primeiro dia de palestras começou, para mim, também com chave de ouro com a apresentação da Aline Tomasuolo, com o título “O método Starbucks aplicado ao mundo da tradução”. A Aline foi mentorada do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates, na época em que eu ainda era coordenadora, e me deixou impressionada com sua evolução profissional. Apresentação visualmente impecável, conteúdo extremamente relevante, detalhes que fizeram a diferença. Ela aplicou em sua apresentação e comprovou, com isso, que também aplica sua fala na prática: padronização de qualidade e personalização do atendimento. Aline disse que, segundo a Adobe, no futuro, as pessoas não comprarão mais produtos, mas experiências. Eu acredito que isso já seja verdade. Pense nos serviços que você usa, nos produtos que consome. A padronização e a personalização aumentam a valorização do mercado de tradução. Um cliente encantado resulta em fidelização e divulgação. Como tradutores, precisamos assumir nossa identidade. As palavras têm poder. Não “fazemos” tradução, somos tradutores! Além disso, devemos manter um canal de comunicação aberto e claro com os clientes, informando sobre disponibilidades/indisponibilidades, e descobrir a preferência de cada um deles. Com isso, nossa própria humanidade acaba sendo um diferencial nos serviços que prestamos no atual mundo tecnológico.

A segunda palestra à qual assisti foi “O método Harvard de negociação para tradutores e intérpretes”, por Claudio Pereira. Uma das principais dicas do Claudio foi que, em uma negociação, devemos focar no problema, não nas pessoas. Segundo ele, devemos ter critérios objetivos e diferentes opções. Precisamos entender o cliente, nos preparar e vender o serviço antes de informar o preço: mostrando os valores que serão agregados com ele. Devemos nos comunicar com segurança e passar segurança para o cliente, descobrir pontos em comum/conflitantes: o que o cliente sabe sobre nós e vice-versa é relevante em uma negociação. Devemos ser criativos e pensar em diferentes formas de satisfação mútua.

Como vocês podem ver, não cheguei nem na hora do almoço do primeiro dia ainda e já teve muita coisa legal! Como ainda tenho muita coisa interessante para passar para vocês, deixarei para uma segunda publicação, em breve, não se preocupem. Fiquem ligados!

IT translation reference material

rawpixel-com-604745-unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Information Technology (IT) translators, like myself, are used to strictly following different reference material. Even when the client has its own glossary and style guide, not always are they totally comprehensive so we have to turn to third-party resources. Luckily, there are some recognized and trusted sources we can follow to base our linguistic decisions on, and not simply throw in anything we like. Personal preference should be our last option.

The most widely used and trusted reference source is Microsoft. Other large IT brands even mention it in their own style guides, instructing the linguist to use it as reference if something is not included in their material. Microsoft has recently (late last year) updated their Writing Style Guide (you can download the PDF for free in the link). It contains topics related to capitalization, punctuation, numbers, URLs and web addresses, everything one expects from an IT style guide. This guide applies to the English language, but you can also find one for your language here (including Brazilian Portuguese, last updated on June 2017). The language-specific style guides are only downloadable (also free of charge); they are not available online.

Microsoft also has an online Language Portal where you can search for terms in different languages, including Brazilian Portuguese. It shows results in its Terminology Collection and in localized Microsoft products in three columns: English, Translation and Definition/Product. This is a fantastic resource! It’s bookmarked in my browser so I can easily access it whenever I need, which is every day.

Apple, another trusted source, also provides its style guide online (in English).

If you know of any other publicly available IT style guide and/or glossary, please feel free to share it in the comments.

Women, unite, go out and kick ass

This weekend I watched Mary Magdalene in the movies. I wasn’t expecting much of it, but it really touched me. It may be due to the current scenario. You may have heard of the Brazilian council woman Marielle Franco’s assassination here in Brazil last week (if not, here’s an article about it, and a quick search on Google will provide you with more information about this brutal murder). Besides, if you are a woman, you know the struggles we all go through, some more than others. If not, you may at least have an idea or have heard of what it’s like.

I thought the movie is really touching, but this line by a woman particularly stroke me:

We’re women. Our lives are not our own.

It suddenly occurred to me that we go through the same problems since forever. Our current reality is not that different from the reality at that time. When I start thinking the only difference is that we are more open to speaking up, Marielle’s tragic story reminds me we are not.

So are our hands tied? Isn’t there anything we can do? Should we simply conform? NO! We will not be silenced.

We do have more success stories, inspiring movies (have you watched Black Panther?), amazing role models out there to help us get inspired, not give up and keep on fighting. Together, we are stronger.

Besides doing my part setting the example and speaking up when I can, I host an interview series, Greatest Women in Translation. This is my teeny tiny contribution to making ourselves seen and valued, as translators. Now, I came up with another idea for women in general. What we need is inspiration and being valued for what we are and do, not for our looks. Every single one of us is important, but sometimes we lack recognition, support, love. Something simple we can do to strengthen our bond and empower other women is recognize them.

Therefore, I suggest you, whoever you are regardless of gender, leave a comment below telling us who the woman you admire the most are, whoever they are, and why. Which women inspire you, always teach you something or make the difference in your life or even in the world? Go even beyond that and let them know somehow.

I’ll start by naming mine:

  • My mom. I know it’s tacky, but it’s the truth. She’s a strong and determined woman who worked a lot to raise three girls and provide them with what she wasn’t able to have: education. She worked with my dad, but she was the one behind everything. She traveled a lot, spent sleepless nights, never fretted and imposed herself. Most of what I am today I owe to her.
  • My dear friend Carolina Ventura. She’s married and a mom of two lovely girls. Being single and having no kids, I always admire those who run a business having a family. And I think she is the perfect example of it. She’s an admirable professional who exemplary juggles business with family and a quality personal life. A great translator, mom, wife, daughter and friend.
  • Emma Watson. She had everything to take a different path: a beautiful face in Hollywood amidst smashing fame with the Harry Potter movies. Instead, she chose the path to do good and make a difference in the world, including empowering women.

I’m inspired by many other amazing women, from my family (I have an aunt who defied my grandparents and pursued her studies anyway – the only woman to do so in her house; later moved to another country due to lack of recognition in her own, and now lives with her husband, daughter and son far from her entire family), friends, and famous people (e.g. Michele Obama), but I just wanted to give an example in each of those groups.

The world will only change as we change. I will not be silent. I will be heard.
Mary Magdalene, in the movie

Now it’s your turn. Empower someone who you admire by recognizing her in the comments below.

In need to feel inspired? Here are some inspiring quotes by inspiring women.

Working less and “il dolce far niente”

julia-wimmerlin-528436

Photo by Julia Wimmerlin on Unsplash

I was scheduling my social media posts when I came across this article. The subject of working less, instead of more, that has been gaining ground recently (finally and thankfully!) has my total support for years, so I loved this article (it’s long, but worthwhile, believe me). I wanted to comment on practically every paragraph of it, so I decided to write a post, instead of simply posting it on social media.

When I started out, I worked a lot – weekends, holidays, nights! At the time, I lived with my mom, and I remember she would bring me food at the desk because I didn’t have time not even to eat. I remember my parents would go to bed and wake up, and there I was, still working. And when I went to sleep for a couple of hours in the morning (or afternoon), it was not the same as sleeping at night, so I would never rest properly.

Have you noticed how people preach being busy and working on weekends and overnight as something to be proud of? I hold a grudge on those memes, and I feel really sorry for people who proudly share them on social media. Just as I feel sorry for project managers who ask for my availability past 8 pm. “Look, I am so professional and dedicated, I work until late at night!” Sorry, pal, not something to be proud of. Your reply will only arrive in the next morning anyway, so you could have used the time you spent writing me the email to leave earlier and go home to your family. Seriously, people, just stop!

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped playing with my health and sanity, but I did eventually. I started respecting weekends and a good night sleep, and taking vacations (with absolutely no work whatsoever). After a while, I started following regular working hours and exercising in the evening (after reaching my maximum weight and having health problems). Mind you, I’m 34, and it must have taken me only a year or so to start having health problems and realizing I needed to change. I learned with practice. That old living and learning thing.

Nowadays, I wake up at 6 am, run three times a week in the morning, take a shower, have breakfast and then start working, at around 9:30 to 10 am. I have a decent lunch at around noon, do the dishes and rest a bit on the sofa while taking a quick peak at social media watching series (maybe not one of my healthiest habits, due to the flow of information to my brain, I know). Every week day, I hit the gym in the evening, so I usually stop working at around 5 to 6:30 pm, depending on the day. Take a shower, have dinner, rest a bit on the sofa while watching series and, again, taking a quick peak at social media and emails, after all, I usually spend all this time from when I stop working until I finish my dinner away from my cell phone (a great break to the mind). I used to do this until the time I went to bed, but nowadays I’m even changing this nighttime habit. At around 9:30 pm, I switch my cell phone to airplane mode, go to bed and read a book for about an hour, before going to sleep.

The secret? Being heavily productive in the restricted working hours you have left, avoiding procrastination and social media during working hours.

[T]he work we produce at the end of a 14-hour day is of worse quality than when we’re fresh, […] undermines our creativity and our cognition, […] it can make us feel physically sick – and even, ironically, as if we have no purpose.

I’m totally aware my routine will hardly fit anyone else. The fact that I’m single, have no kids and live by myself plays an important role in making it easier, but if I wasn’t organized, determined and strict, this wouldn’t work anyway. Even if you are married and have a bunch of kids, you can make it work. The secret is learning your daily routine, creating your own working hours, whenever they are, and strictly following them. Restrict your social media time to avoid procrastinating. Actually, restrict everything that is not work-related. Be professional and respect your working hours. The benefits will be worth it: more time to do whatever you want.

Keep human! See people, go places.

After all, what do you work for? Earning money, paying bills and living the life, right? We all preach the greatest benefit of being a freelancer is being free. However, most people use this freedom to work even more. That will never make sense to me. Use your freedom to go see a movie on a weekday afternoon when you have no projects, walk in the park, have a coffee with a friend or do nothing.

[Doing nothing] helps you recognise the deeper importance of situations. It helps you make meaning out of things. When you’re not making meaning out of things, you’re just reacting and acting in the moment.

Now that is something I seriously need to master, although I have been trying hard to practice: do nothing, be idle. It’s so hard! It’s as the article says, when we have nothing to do, we end up reaching for our phone or turning on the TV. It’s like we can’t handle being left only with our thoughts. Think of it for a moment… This is so sad! The good thing is it doesn’t really mean, in the strict sense, to do absolutely nothing. You can meditate, knit, doodle, discuss a problem with friends, cook… anything that doesn’t require 100% concentration. I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago and I tried to put this into practice: when in the water, I tried to sink in its energy, feel the waves, let my thoughts flow freely; when under the umbrella, I tried to watch the sea, listen to it and, again, let my thoughts flow. Remember: what works for me may never work for anybody else and vice-versa, so find what suits you.

I’d love to hear how you organize your day in order to maximize your productivity and have a decent work-life balance. Also, feel free to share how you practice your dolce far niente.

 

P.S.: You may have noticed I’ve been absent from the blog and from social media. First, the same old thing: projects. Second, I’ve been feeling quite tired lately, so I’m respecting my body and, instead of dedicating time to the social media and the blog, I’m using that time to rest a bit more. I’m putting the free in freelance to great use. 😉 However, don’t fret. I’m already slowly going back to normal. On February 1, a new Greatest Women in Translation interview will be published, with Antonia Lloyd Jones; on February 5, a new podcast episode will be published, with Reginaldo Francisco (Win-Win project), just before taking a break (after 20 episodes, it’s time for a well-deserved break: we return in July with fresh, newly-recorded episodes); on February 9, our guest of the month is Dolores Guiñazu; and on February 20, hopefully, another post by me.

How to make the most of an ATA conference

rawpixel-com-351765

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

This won’t be a Thanksgiving post though. I decided to leave it to my last post of the year, next month, when I intend to make a 2017 wrap-up. Should you miss my Thanksgiving posts, you can read the ones I published in the previous years: What I learned from a bad year (2016), Five things to be grateful for (2015) and Giving thanks (2014).

Today I want to talk about my experience as a newbie at ATA 58. The American Translators Association (ATA) traditionally hosts every year a huge conference with more than 1,000 attendees, each year in a different U.S. city. This year, in its 58th edition, it was held in Washington, D.C. and attended by exactly 1,721 people from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Upon preparing for it, I asked my colleague and friend Melissa Harkin, who had already attended the ATA conference for the first time last year, for some tips. They were all extremely useful, so I’ll make a summary of my tips, based on my experience as a newbie, with hers.

Since it’s a huge conference, the largest in our area, standing out is key. However, be careful with how you interpret this “stand out.” It doesn’t mean desperately imposing and calling all the attention to yourself; it means gracefully leaving your mark and differentiating yourself among the crowd.

  • The conference has an app. As soon as it’s out, fill out your profile with all possible information, including adding a picture and a CV, and adding your language pair in your description, so people can see your language pair straight from the attendees’ list, right below your name. Believe it or not, most attendees underestimate the app and do not use it for anything. Besides being handy during the conference, since it’s filled with useful information, it’s a great way of making yourself visible.
    A potential client contacted me before the conference – she was looking for Brazilian Portuguese translators. Later she said that she liked my app profile because it clearly stated my language pair under my name.
  • Don’t make it about yourself. Focus on the other (either colleague or agency). Truly engage, show interest, ask questions about them. Avoid being forced and sounding like a robot.
    I met a girl during the Welcome Celebration who took the Buddies Welcome Newbies session’s tips too literally, and the poor thing ended up sounding fake to me, resulting in zero engagement.
  • Be open to meeting new people, naturally engage, occasionally exchange business cards, if given the opportunity, and move on. In Portuguese, the expression “alugar uma pessoa” (rent a person) is used when you talk with a person for a long time. Don’t do that. It’s a huge event, with hundreds of people and a bunch of things to do. Time is precious.
  • The Brainstorm Networking features quick brainstorming sessions where a group of people quickly introduce themselves, exchange cards and discuss a scenario. Follow the steps quickly, and don’t dominate it, so everybody has their say. This is not the place for a heated discussion or parallel conversions.
  • The Job Fair is not on a first-come-first-served basis, so be cool and take your time. Don’t rush in front of other people neither simply throw your card on the table. Stand in line, if there is one, and while you wait for your time try to listen to what the recruiters are saying, so you can spare their time when your turn comes. Even if they don’t work with your language pair/area of specialization, be friendly and thank them for their time.
    Extra tip (by Melissa): Create a personalized visual CV for the Job Fair. You will certainly stand out.

If you are shy or new to conferences in general, don’t miss the Buddies Welcome Newbies session, right in the first day. Buddies are seasoned attendees who are willing to help newbies (first-time attendees) around the conference. The session has great tips for enjoying the conference to the fullest, and you sit at a table with other buddies and newbies, so it’s also a great opportunity for meeting new people. If you are by yourself and don’t know anyone, you won’t be anymore after this session.

If you already have a “gang,” don’t stick only to the person or group of people you already know. Whenever there is a different person around you, switch from your mother tongue to English, so they don’t feel left out. It’s great having familiar people around, but try exploring the event by yourself, being open to meeting new people in the halls, seating right next to you in a session, at breakfast, at social events, etc. Keep a friendly, smiley face at all times, face up. Look at people’s eyes, say hi/good morning even when you don’t know them. Though not in a creepy way of course; be natural. I connected with someone at breakfast who I ended up learning was a project manager. She contacted me after the conference for a potential partnership.

Have business cards on you at all times! It’s unbelievable how people don’t take business cards or don’t take enough. Take around 50 cards per day. It’s more than enough. It’s better to have some left than running out of them. Asking people to take a picture of your last card is, in my opinion, mind you, embarrassing.

When exchanging business cards, make notes on the person’s card, don’t rely on your memory. I had never done that before (never thought it was necessary), I started doing it at ATA 58, but it wasn’t enough. When handling cards post-conference I obviously forgot things. For example, at the Exhibit Hall and the Job Fair you will meet dozens of recruiters. However, some of them may not work with your language pair or area of specialization. If you don’t write it down on the card, you may forget and end up following up with the company anyway post-conference, showing lack of attention and care. Possible notes: where you met the person (Exhibit Hall, Job Fair, Brainstorm Networking and which round, speaker, etc.), if you should follow-up or not and why, your personal impressions, etc.

Last but not least, have fun!

After the conference, wait for about two weeks before following up, so you can give people a chance to settle down or even contact you first. When contacting them, don’t assume they will remember you. Briefly recapitulate where and how you met, and attach your visual CV so they can easily remember you.

My post is already too long, so now I’ll leave it up to you: Do you have any other tips to add?

Mindfulness is the new multitasking

daniel-monteiro-313651

Source: Unsplash

Stop!

Hey, hey, slow down.

Now breathe.

Yes, breathe. In and out. Deep breaths. Preferably with your eyes closed. Also, take the chance to check your posture and pay attention to all parts of your body. I will not continue until you do so.

Ok, ready?

How are you feeling? Hopefully, less hectic, and more relaxed. And now you are ready, and able to read and enjoy this post (at least I hope so).

 

The modern world is full of distractions. Everything is for yesterday. If something happens in the other side of the globe, we know live, as if we were there. We are required to do more, accomplish more, be more productive. Meanwhile, time seems increasingly shorter. Everything happens at the same time: you are crazily translating something to be delivered in a couple of hours, someone texts you, another person tags you on Facebook, you get a couple of emails, your phone rings. And all these things usually demand your prompt attention. Amidst this crazy routine, we can even forget to breathe! We forget we have a body that also needs our attention, but since it is quiet – not making a fuss as all the other things requiring our immediate attention –, we completely forget about it. I got short of breath only by writing this paragraph! Phew!

People proudly say they are multitaskers. As if this were something good. Well, here is the naked truth: it is NOT. First of all, you think you are able to multitask, but you are actually task-switching. This process can actually “cause a 40% loss in productivity,” increase your stress levels, have a bad effect on memory, harm your creativity. This article provides a small test that proves that the brain does not actually handle multiple tasks at once, as we believe.

It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much

Have you heard of mindfulness?

It is a modern concept that has been increasingly discussed nowadays, and it means having a deep awareness of the present. It is thus the complete opposite of multitasking. Applying this concept to our everyday lives not only makes us happier and healthier but also more productive, resulting in quality outcomes, since we are 100% focused on what we are doing at the moment.

Think with me: It is better working five hours of your day totally focused on each task at a time than “working” for nine hours multitasking and not actually producing anything concrete, right? If you don’t believe me (neither in the researches), try for yourself one day.

I usually work at one-hour chunks. During this one hour, I focus 100% on whatever I have to do: translate, write a blog post, work on my finances. Then I take a quick break during which time I can check and reply to emails, check and reply to text messages, fetch something to eat, etc. Social media usually has its own time set aside, so I do not keeping checking it throughout the day. This can also be considered mindfulness, in my opinion.

Gym time for me is also precious. No phone, except for listening to music. But even that I seem to be getting tired of. I seem to be incresingly fond of exercising in silence, just paying full attention to each movement, my body, my thoughts.

And weekends are also perfect for practicing mindfulness. A friend of mine usually say, “Doing nothing is also productive.” Resting, having fun, relaxing, laughing, sleeping are also essential for productivity.

So what do you say? Let’s try less multitasking and more mindfulness? Who is with me?

 

I also suggest reading: Why Should We Slow Down? The Lost Art of Patience

Are translators traitors or heroes?

mona-eendra-301115

Photo by Mona Eendra on Unsplash

I do not like to romanticize our profession, saying, for example, that we have superpowers or the like. We do not. Our uniqueness and importance are the same as those of any other professional. Each one has their own relevance in their own areas. We have superpowers as much as doctors or teachers have: each one with their own value in their own area. We are not better than anyone.

However, I did come across a revelation these past few weeks – something I have not actually realized before – while translating product headlines of a major online retailer.

Have you ever bought anything from online retailers with English websites? Their product headlines and descriptions are horrendous, dreadful, hideous! They are a bunch of words bundled into a sentence with no connection whatsoever. And lots of mistakes. Argh!

Unfortunately, though, this is becoming increasingly common in English, in any field: contracts, business presentations, reports, etc. We are constantly faced with poorly-written texts to translate. I am sure you can totally relate with what I am saying, right?

My aim here is not to point fingers at anyone but to discuss our roles as translators. Do we transpose this horrible English into our own target languages? Never. Or at least we shouldn’t. I know I don’t. We try our best, sometimes working miracles, to understand the disastrous source and beautifully transform it into something – if not close to perfection – great in the target. After all, this is what we do. We craft fluent translations as if they were originally written in the target language, no matter how bad the source is.

And who gets all the credit for it? Most of the times, especially in technical translation, as is my case, the author, of course. We avoid misunderstandings, noises, and bad reputation. We facilitate communication not only by simply translating from one language to the other but also by improving the quality of the source.

Isn’t that beautiful? We praise ourselves for turning something ugly into something graceful. We love turning mistakes into clear sentences that flow easily. And I even dare say translations are usually way better texts than most of the original writings out there because our job is to perfect ourselves, day after day, translation after translation. Our job is to enable communication between languages and cultures, and to do so naturally.

So is the translator really a traitor? If anything, the translator definitely is the author’s best friend, godparent, carer – a trustworthy friend they can blindly count on whenever they have linguistic needs. If you have the right professional translator by your side, that is. 😉 If you do, make sure you cherish and value them because they are a rare find. If you don’t, it would be my greatest pleasure to help. 🙂 And if you are one: kudos to you and keep up the good work!

How to successfully network at a translation conference

matthew-henry-86779

Courtesy of Unsplash, by Matthew Henry

Those who know me well are quite aware of the fact that I am a conference rat. I love conferences and, most of the time, they are an “excuse” for traveling somewhere and visiting some place new. So much so that whenever I travel my mom asks if I am going to attend any conferences. Well, sometimes I do travel to visit friends, you know?

After attending so many conferences, you end up naturally mastering this networking thing. However, I know how difficult it can be the first or second time we attend one. We feel lost, most of the times we do not know absolutely anybody, we are shy, and we want to dig a hole on the ground to hide and simply disappear from this frightening place. See? It is normal, it happens with anybody. I never feel comfortable whenever I go to a new place either, like a new gym, for example. But I will not stop exercising just because of that, am I? Well, I know this may be more than an excuse for some people though…

Keeping this conference newbie tiny issue in mind and the fact that the Abrates Conference is just around the corner, I decided to share with you some tips for successfully networking at conferences without simply throwing yourself at the people either.

  • First of all, having and carrying your business cards with you at all times is a must. And this is valid for any occasions. Have a bunch of business cards in your wallet, purse, gym bag, car. Whenever someone asks for your email or phone number, just handle them your card and make a good impression with your professionalism. 😉
  • However, do NOT just randomly start giving your cards away to simply anybody with no reason whatsoever. Wait for the right time. Timing is everything when you want to make a good impression.
  • In order to find the right time, first, you need to be open. When we feel shy, we tend to bury our heads in our notepads, mobiles, or even in the coffee break food. (Who never?) Look up, not down, and keep a smile on your face at all times. Do not be afraid of saying hi to people even when you do not know them, especially those who are sitting right next to you during the numerous talks. This openness is key to finding the right time to “strike,” besides making it easier for people to approach you.
  • Approaching other attendees is not necessarily the worse thing ever. Small talk is there to rescue us! Comment about the icing cold air conditioning, the horrible Wi-Fi connection, the nice venue, the amazing lunch you just had, that coffee you terribly need, you name it, with the person who is sitting next to you. After breaking the ice, show interest and ask the person their name, what they do, where they are from, etc. And take the chance to ask for the person’s business card, so you can keep in touch. Naturally, they will also ask for yours. There you go. It does not hurt, does it? And you cause a way better impression when you show you are interested in knowing about the person than if you make it about yourself from the beginning. This approach can also be used during coffee breaks: comment about the amazing food, the interesting talk you just attended, how sleepy and in need of coffee you are… And repeat the same next steps: show interest to know who the person is and ask for their card.
  • Another way of approaching other attendees is when you “know” them somehow: you always see them commenting/posting on Facebook groups, you like their blog/what they do, you are Facebook “friends,” you name it. These are great ice-breakers.
  • Do not leave a conference without talking to presenters you like or whose presentations you enjoyed! There is no better ice-breaker than approaching the person to say you watched their presentation and loved it. Ask for their card so you can follow them on social media, and there you go. Or, if given the chance, you can even approach them before their talk (even if you are not really planning on attending it), saying you saw they are presenting, you are interested at the topic but unfortunately will not be able to attend it, so maybe they could give you their card so you can keep in touch? 😉

In a nutshell, the key is to be friendly and open at all times, and take every chance to start a small talk and take it to the next level by showing interest at the person. Only make it about you if the person opens the floor for you to do so.

If you engage with as little as one person per period (morning and afternoon), you end up with four contacts to follow up at a two-day conference. If you adequately follow up with them after the conference, these four people may introduce you to other people throughout the year and at the next conference as well. It is a vicious circle that only gets bigger with time, and one that works for itself, with no need to make such a great efforts anymore.

Now, last but not least, it is also important to know how to properly follow up.

  • Write an individual and personalized email to people you really liked meeting showing your appreciation.
  • Do NOT simply add people on social media without sending them a private message reminding them exactly where and how you met, or where you know them from. Actually, this should be always applied, like a best networking practice. It is hard to remember every single person we meet at conferences, and anywhere for that matter.
  • Now, I know this is hard to ask nowadays, but I actually prefer to follow their blog, like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, etc., instead of adding them as friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, especially those I did not really have a chance to connect that much.

Those who are at the the ITI and NAJIT conferences can already start applying these tips. If you do, let us know if it worked. And for those who are attending the Abrates Conference next week, like myself, you can start practicing in the shower. 😉

All the amazing things

5ihz5whosqe-chris-lawton

Photo by Chris Lawton, courtesy of Unsplash

One of these days, I came across a documentary on HBO called Every Brilliant Thing, where a young boy tries to cure his mother’s depression by creating a list of the best things in the world. The list includes items such as “ice cream” and “Star Trek.” I liked the idea, especially because I have been trying (really hard) to stop focusing on bad things, complaining and gossiping; and it instead focuses on good things. I am well aware of the fact that it is easier to focus on the negativity. Take, for example, how people criticize more than praise others. Try scrolling down your Facebook page and count the positive x negative posts. Focusing on the positivity takes effort; it is not as easy and natural as being negative.

Therefore, I decided to go the extra mile and, instead of losing my time and sanity scrolling down my social media channels, taking the time to compile a list of all the good things in my life. Here it is:

  1. Sleeping.
  2. Sleeping on the couch watching TV on the weekend.
  3. Remaining on bed doing nothing for a while after naturally waking up with no alarm on the weekend.
  4. My bed.
  5. Weekends.
  6. Massage.
  7. Feet massage.
  8. Face massage.
  9. Carefully smearing moisturizer on my feet after taking a shower at the end of the day.
  10. Child smile and/or laughter.
  11. Drinking water when I am really thirsty.
  12. Taking a day off in the middle of the week to do something really nice.
  13. Taking a cold shower when it is really hot.
  14. Taking a nice shower after exercising a lot at the gym.
  15. Manicure.
  16. Pedicure.
  17. Having my hair washed at the hairdresser’s.
  18. A nice, frank in-person conversation with that dear friend you have not seen for a long time.
  19. Routine.
  20. Staying at nice hotels.
  21. Nice hotel breakfast.
  22. Sunset.
  23. Beach.
  24. The sound of the waves at the beach.
  25. Sunbathing.
  26. Fresh coconut water.
  27. The smell of a new book.
  28. The smell of new clothes.
  29. The smell of nicely clean bed sheets.
  30. Wearing new clothes for the first time.
  31. Vacation.
  32. Clouds.
  33. Sky.
  34. Flying.
  35. Dressing up.
  36. Laughing until crying.
  37. Dancing.
  38. Singing along to live music I really like.
  39. The mixed feeling of emotions that include exhaustion and mission accomplished after a hard workout. (Someone must create a word for it!)
  40. London.
  41. Guinness.
  42. Having a pint of Guinness at an English pub.
  43. Cinema.
  44. Watching a movie (at the cinema or at home) eating popcorn.
  45. Tight hugs.
  46. Some people’s smiles.
  47. My birthday.
  48. Being pampered on my birthday.
  49. Presents.
  50. Getting something I really wanted or love without expecting.
  51. Listening to a Brit talk.
  52. Reading a good book.
  53. Stretching out.
  54. Receiving a visit.
  55. Traveling.
  56. Talking about life.
  57. Receiving a handwritten letter.
  58. Writing hand-written letters.
  59. Receiving things from the postman, especially when unexpected.
  60. Eating.
  61. Visiting a new place for the first time.
  62. Watching movies that make me laugh, cry and/or reflect.
  63. The smell of coffee.
  64. Cheese.
  65. When my 3-year-old nephew/godson says “dindá” (dinda is an affectionate way of saying godmother in Portuguese, especially by children).
  66. Piano music.
  67. Eating out.
  68. Trying new things.
  69. Autumn leaves.
  70. Great views.
  71. Knowing I do not have to wake up early the next day.
  72. English scones with cream and jam.
  73. Popcorn.
  74. Having a hot drink in a cozy, warm place when it is really cold.
  75. Having a really cold beer when it is scorching hot.
  76. Friends.
  77. Family.
  78. My cousins.
  79. Friendly, smiley unknown people.
  80. Violin music.
  81. Living by myself.
  82. Silence.
  83. Chocolate and all its forms.
  84. Walking barefoot after cleaning the house.
  85. Wearing PJs.
  86. Traveling by myself.
  87. Eating out.
  88. Watching Friends.
  89. Watermelon.
  90. Finally (unexpectedly) finding something I have been looking for for a while.
  91. Prosecco.
  92. Alice in Wonderland.
  93. Freedom: being able to do whatever I want whenever I want.
  94. Christmas.
  95. New Year.
  96. My sister’s chocolate cake.
  97. Meeting new people.
  98. Learning something new.
  99. When people I love and care about are happy.
  100. My own and very company.

I could easily go on with my list, and I will certainly try to keep it growing, but you got the idea.

What do you think of my list? Is there anything that you also enjoy? Would you add anything to it? I would love to hear your thoughts. And should you feel like writing one of your own, please let me know somehow (ping back to this post, tag me and/or use the hashtag #AllAmazingThings). Sometimes we forget some amazing things in our lives, taking them for granted, so it is good to become aware of them again. 🙂