Guest post: Alimentação saudável como freelancer

Sejam bem-vindos de volta a mais uma publicação convidada!

Tivemos uma pequena alteração este mês: a publicação convidada trocou de data com a entrevista. Portanto, teremos a série Greatest Women in Translation no dia 10, com a Alison Entrekin.

É com grande prazer que apresento a vocês minha nutricionista, Cyntia Galante. Como não só de tradução vive o tradutor freelance, resolvi convidá-la para falar sobre alimentação saudável.

Seja muito bem-vinda, Cyntia!

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Imagem fornecida pela autora.

Trabalhar em casa e me alimentar bem? Como?

Que a alimentação saudável deve fazer parte da nossa rotina todos já sabem, mas por quê? O alimento é responsável pela prevenção e tratamento de doenças, bom desempenho na atividade física esportiva, controle do peso corporal, estados de alergias e intolerâncias alimentares e redução de fatores de risco para doenças crônicas. Alimentação também é parte importante do tratamento de doenças, como hipertensão, diabetes, dislipidemias, cardiopatias, doenças renais, hepáticas, etc. Com o passar dos anos, o corpo sofre transformações. Além disso, o sedentarismo tem se tornado constante, principalmente entre os adultos e idosos.

Mas como manter uma alimentação saudável nos dias de hoje, principalmente com pessoas que têm seus escritórios instalados dentro de casa?

Separei algumas dicas pra vocês conseguirem se organizar melhor!

  • Organize os horários das refeições: comece com a primeira refeição assim que você acorda e tente organizá-las de 3 em 3 horas. A rotina de horários fará com que você sinta fome em horários mais padronizados evitando, assim, possíveis beliscos fora de hora ou longos períodos em jejum.
  • Coloque o seu celular para despertar no horário das refeições. Quando nos envolvemos com o trabalho, é comum nos esquecermos do tempo e, quando percebemos, o dia já acabou e fizemos apenas uma refeição.
  • Planeje as refeições do próximo dia na noite anterior. Isso minimiza a possibilidade de beliscos por falta de ideia do que escolher para comer ou falta de opção saudável.
  • Tenha sempre o planejamento de todas as refeições da semana, principalmente se você cozinha e almoça e janta em casa. Vá ao supermercado com uma lista de compras semanal e compre apenas o necessário. Quanto mais planejada a sua compra de supermercado for, menos tentação você terá em casa, além de não correr o risco de ficar sem nada para preparar e acabar pedindo algum fast food.
  • Hidrate-se!!!! Água é fundamental para o bom funcionamento do cérebro, portanto, trabalhamos melhor quando estamos hidratados. A recomendação de água é de 0,045 ml x kg (por exemplo, uma pessoa que pesa 65 kg deve ingerir 2,9 litros de água por dia). Essa recomendação pode incluir água e chás distribuídos ao longo do dia.
  • Cuidado com o carboidrato! Você já deve estar careca de escutar essa recomendação, mas a ingestão de pães e farinhas (massas, macarrão) é altíssima em pessoas que trabalham mais tempo em casa, pois o acesso é fácil, e é um alimento rápido e prático para preparar.
  • Pratique atividade física regularmente. O exercício regular ajuda na manutenção do sono. Quando o sono ocorre de forma regular e saudável, temos mais facilidade para manter o peso.
  • Durma e acorde sempre em horários regulares e o mais parecido com a rotina de trabalho de escritório. Acordar por volta de 7h e dormir por volta de 22-23h faz com que tenhamos a liberação hormonal adequada durante a noite e tenhamos um dia mais produtivo.
  • Dê preferência e atenção aos alimentos VIVOS. Alimentos que a natureza nos oferece são sempre saudáveis e com certeza devem ser priorizados em qualquer plano alimentar saudável. Eles estão livres de conservantes, corantes, aromatizantes, realçadores de sabores, etc., produtos esses que a indústria alimentícia usa para produzir a maioria dos alimentos.

Use o alimento como a sua fonte de nutrição e energia. Lembre-se de que o seu corpo é a sua principal ”casa” e que, se ele não for bem cuidado e bem tratado, vai ficar mais difícil realizar tarefas rotineiras. Nosso corpo é o nosso maior bem! Não estamos falando de magreza e padrões de beleza. Estamos falando de SAÚDE. Queremos corpos mais saudáveis para vivermos vidas mais saudáveis e mais felizes!

Como vocês podem ver, uma alimentação saudável aliada a uma vida ativa é fundamental para a nossa saúde, principalmente para nós, tradutores, que temos uma vida profissional tão sedentária!

Muito obrigada por aceitar meu convite e nos dar conselhos tão importantes para uma vida mais equilibrada, Cyntia!

Sobre a autora
Foto Cyntia GalanteCyntia Galante é nutricionista formada pela PUC Campinas em 2005 e pós-graduada em Doenças  Crônicas pelo Hospital Albert Einstein. Atua em consultório na cidade de Campinas, SP, desde 2005 e é Personal Diet desde 2008. Idealizadora do Noiva Slim. Siga-a no Instagram em Cyntia Galante e/ou em Noiva Slim. Curta as páginas dela no Facebook em Cyntia Galante Personal Diet e/ou Noiva Slim. Telefone para contato: (19) 98830-1014.

Why Datasheet Is Not Enough for Today’s Freelancer

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Image provided by the author.

As a freelancer or a small company, your business is closely connected with computers. You receive and fulfill various orders from different clients; your business is prosperous, it grows, and as you gain experience, the amount of orders gradually increases.

You have to find a way to keep records about your tasks, because you have to know exact sums and the currency of payments received, the client who sent it, the files to be delivered, the deadline, etc. This work can be tedious, and, what is even worse, it diverts you from performing your skilled work, as it is not directly connected with the creative/productive side of your business.

At the first stages of your business, an ordinary Excel sheet is entirely sufficient for that. But the more orders you have, the more time you need to spend on accounting. Furthermore, as everyone knows, losing time means losing money. And one day you find that you forget to issue an invoice and a client has not paid you for six months, or you miss a deadline, or you do not remember a contact’s email or phone number, or a client complains about a project you performed a year ago, but you cannot even recall what that project was about, and so on.

In this moment, you try to find a program or a service which can save you from these accounting tribulations. But the first links provided by Google may dissatisfy you, as they can lead to huge and expensive TMS’s. For you, they look like a Ferrari or an Alfa Romeo, when what you need is a Smartcar.

Here is where Protemos comes in handy. It allows you to significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on drudging accounting. It is a solution specifically designed to simplify your business.

Protemos is an online tool. To be more exact, it is a so-called ‘SaaS’ (Software as a Service). That is what determines its advantages. Since full-time internet access is a must in today’s globalized, digital world, ‘onlineness’ is its main benefit. With Protemos, you are not limited by which device or OS you use, or hindered by their file storage and retrieval. On the contrary, you can receive incoming files on your home Windows PC, create a Protemos project on your Android tablet, perform the task on your iMac and then deliver the processed files from your iPhone. All you need is a browser and an Internet connection.

Protemos does all the monotonous tasks for you. It automates the routine actions, reminds you about the assignments and deadlines, stores information about your clients (and possibly vendors) and keeps financial records about costs and revenues.

Yet, it is very simple: you do not need to take a two-week course to learn it. Its intuitive interface lets you get started in no time. All you have to do is create an account and enter data about your clients and/or vendors.

Here is how Protemos looks on a usual laptop screen:

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Image provided by the author.

And here it is on a standard 5.5″ Android smartphone screen:

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Image provided by the author.

Of course, smaller mobile screens do not provide the same seamless experience as PCs. Not all the items fit on the screen and you have to scroll the page to find the option you need. But the main actions are still possible, so you can, for example, accept or deliver urgent files on a smartphone, even when you sit on a bench in a park.

The structure of an ordinary project is straightforward:

  • Receiving files (and possibly creating a quote, if you do not use/have a set price for a client)
  • Creating a project (or converting the existing quote into a project)
  • Uploading incoming files to ‘project input’
  • Fulfilling a task (or assigning it to a vendor)
  • Uploading ready (or received from a vendor) files to ‘project output’
  • Closing a project
  • Issuing invoice(s)

At any moment you can add files, create new jobs, reopen a closed project, and much more. Protemos is highly customizable, because, from the very beginning, it has been developed with flexibility in mind.

The next benefit is pricing. Compared to other systems, Protemos’ rates are very competitive: you will not have to work for it. Also Protemos allow you to receive a referral bonus for involving new users.

And last but not least: Protemos is developing very quickly. New features appear regularly. Some enhancements introduce new features, while others are intended to simplify the interface. The developers readily respond to user’s requests and implement changes in the following builds.

Thus, the main aim of Protemos is to streamline your work processes and free you from boring, routine tasks, so you can spare more time focusing on what is more interesting and profitable for you.

Sign up to try it today!

About the author
vkOver 16-year career in translation Volodymyr Kukharenko advanced from a freelancer to CEO of translation agency and founder of software company. He managed all types of tasks associated with language production: translating and self-training as a freelancer, editing and teaching as an editor, managing the pipeline as a PM. In 2010 he co-founded Technolex Translation Studio and led the company to its current leading positions on Ukrainian market. Having the deep knowledge of the processes in the translation companies and the translation industry as a whole, in 2014 he created Protemos, a software startup to create the new tools for the translation industry which he was missing on his previous positions. By now, the company have released 3 tools: ChangeTracker, Protemos and TQAuditor, and thousands of users are already using them.

Guest post: We need to be taken seriously (in Portuguese)

Um bom dia congelante para você que mora no Brasil e está sofrendo com esse frio fora do comum. Minhas mãos estão congeladas e está sendo extremamente difícil digitar, mas são os ossos do ofício, não é mesmo? 😉

A publicação convidada deste mês, como vocês podem ver, é em português, daquela que ama chocolates e não esconde de ninguém, Mitsue Siqueira.

Seja bem-vinda, Mit!

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Por que você precisa ser levado a sério?

Muita gente reclama que o trabalho do tradutor não é reconhecido nem valorizado pelos clientes e no mercado de trabalho, e que somos cada vez mais subestimados principalmente quando se trata de valores. No entanto, mal nos damos conta de que é igualmente importante educar a cabeça de quem passa mais tempo conosco: nossa família.

Vamos combinar que ninguém merece ouvir dos parentes comentários como “Mas você não trabalha?” ou “Só sabe ficar nesse computador o dia todo!”. Isso para não falar das festas, quando parece que todo mundo se reúne com o objetivo de falar abobrinhas como “Por que você não faz logo um concurso?” ou “Quando vai arrumar um trabalho de verdade?”. Bom, aqui vão algumas dicas para você impor respeito e acabar de vez com essas perguntas nada agradáveis.

Noção do seu trabalho

As pessoas sabem o que você faz? Se não, explique a elas. Você é tradutor, não é professor de idiomas, nem dicionário ambulante nem gramática viva. Você pode até ser professor também, gramatiqueiro ou não, mas é importante fazer as pessoas entenderem que você traduz, e que tradução, didática e linguística podem até se complementar, mas são atividades diferentes que exigem habilidades diferentes.

Respeito ao seu trabalho

As pessoas que moram com você precisam entender que sua casa é o seu local de trabalho. Se você decidiu adotar o seu quarto como home-office, informe que é preciso haver silêncio durante determinado período do dia, com o mínimo possível de interrupções. Se necessário, apele para a personalização de uma linda plaquinha “Estou trabalhando” e pendure na porta do quarto. No pior dos casos, vá de “Não perturbe” mesmo e trabalhe feliz no sossego do seu cantinho.

Respeito ao fruto do seu trabalho

“Tá pensando que dinheiro dá em árvore?” Duvido que você nunca tenha ouvido essa frase de algum parente seu. Então, quando aquela sua tia chata bater na porta do quarto (mesmo com a linda plaquinha personalizada) querendo matar a saudade, fazer fofoca ou simplesmente jogar papo fora, mostre que você aprendeu a lição da árvore que não dá dinheiro e dispense-a educadamente. Afinal, você precisa trabalhar para pagar suas dívidas. Combine de jogar papo fora com ela na hora do almoço, no chá das cinco ou em qualquer outro momento oportuno, mas não na hora do trabalho.

Brincadeiras à parte…

Sim, vamos falar sério agora, muito sério. Como tradutores, enfrentamos uma luta diária para conquistar novos clientes, ganhar valores que correspondam aos nossos esforços, nos destacar em meio ao mercado de trabalho, ser reconhecidos como uma categoria séria (e não apenas como uma profissão “complementar”) e para impor uma série de outros limites que determinam o nosso bem-estar profissional. Se você não consegue organizar uma rotina de trabalho em casa, certamente não terá a estrutura necessária para correr atrás de todos esses outros empreendimentos.

É isso mesmo, impor limites é nosso dever. As outras pessoas pouco (ou nada) sabem da nossa profissão, e isso não é obrigação delas; cabe a nós ensiná-las como a banda toca. Assim como você ensinou que existe um negócio chamado fuso horário àquele cliente que ligou duas ou três vezes durante a madrugada, você deve ensinar que existe um negócio chamado horário de trabalho a quem quer que divida o mesmo teto com você.

Então, ficamos combinados assim: nada de música alta, nada de interrupções desnecessárias, nada de invasões repentinas. Chega, agora não dá mais. Estou trabalhando, mais tarde nos falamos, ok? Afinal de contas, respeito é bom e todo tradutor também gosta.

Muito obrigada por ter aceitado meu convite para escrever aqui no blog, Mit! Principalmente na semana pós-congresso da Abrates, a mais corrida e insana de todas as semanas do ano. Foi um prazer recebê-la no meu cantinho. 🙂

About the author
13453502_438349616364485_156732696_oMitsue Siqueira trabalha como especialista linguístico na Ccaps, empresa brasileira de localização de software, há cerca de cinco anos. Além disso, Mitsue idealizou o Projeto TransMit, uma iniciativa inovadora que visa ajudar tradutores iniciantes e experientes a mapear a qualidade do próprio trabalho por meio de feedbacks linguísticos detalhados e constantes. É formada em Letras (Português-Inglês) pela Universidade Federal Fluminense.

Guest post: Yoga for translators

Welcome back to our guest post series, dear readers!

Our guest today is also from my hometown, Rio Claro (SP, Brazil). She was born in Descalvado, SP, but moved to Rio Claro when she was 5. However, she can actually be considered a nomad, because is frequently moving from one place to another in the world. She has lived for a while in Australia and her last adventure was in India, early this year.

Although being from the same hometown, we actually met on a bus back home from the last Abrates conference (2015), where someone switched seats with her and she ended up sitting next to me. Talk about destiny (or coincidence, whatever you call it)!

Welcome, Sofia Pulici!

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How translators can benefit from yoga

Greetings to all the readers, to my teachers & masters, and to Carol, for inviting me to write this guest post!

Yoga has been a part of my life for nearly six years now. I was first drawn to yoga as a young adult. I liked the fact that it enables you to strengthen and calm the body and mind, and connect with yourself – but it was not until 2010 that I started practicing yoga regularly. Back then, I had no idea that I would benefit so much from it, and that regular practice would have such an enormous impact on all aspects of my life, including my work routine.

Yoga has helped me to become much more aware of my body and mind. As a consequence, I started making changes to my sitting posture and the position of my hands on the keyboard, while working. I noticed that my mind was calmer to reply to emails, communicate with direct clients, colleagues and agents, and reflect on translation options. What amazes me the most is that this all seemed to happen naturally – as my mind became more alert and more aware of what was happening, I started to become more aware of my sitting posture, how my back is supported, how my hands bend or move while typing, how anxious or calm my mind is when faced with the daily workload, etc. This awareness allows me to make instant adjustments, paying heed to what my body or mind is trying to tell me.

For some time now, I have been keen to share all this information with my colleagues and fellow translators, so that those interested in starting this practice might also benefit from it. Below are some of the benefits that can be gained through regular yoga practice:

  • Releasing tension – as translators, we know all about tension, right? Tension can build up in the shoulders, neck and back muscles, in the eyes, even in the brain…
  • Releasing stagnant blood from parts of the body that we do not move constantly – we sit for long hours and, even if we take regular breaks and do physical exercise, we may forget about toes, the back of the legs that are compressed against the chair, etc.
  • Lubricating joints, including hip joints – this improves mobility (remember we experience long periods of sitting!) and helps prevent injuries
  • Strengthening muscles – particularly strengthening the back and core muscles, which helps when sitting for long hours
  • Irrigating the brain – excellent for the long hours of mental processing required of translators
  • Stretching the muscles and spine – also good when sitting for long hours, as it helps  align the spine, and causes energy and blood flow better
  • Massaging internal organs – helping maintain perfect health of the organs, particularly in the lower abdominal region, which are compressed when we remain sitting for long hours
  • Balancing and integrating the right and left hemispheres of the brain – positively influencing cognitive processes, helping with concentration and focus, and enabling us to learn better
  • Releasing gases from the body – which, depending on the foods we eat, can accumulate with long hours sitting down
  • Strengthening eye muscles – with eye cleansing techniques that strengthen the eyes and maintain eye health

Yoga has beneficial effects on the mind, and it helps reduce anxiety and increase concentration. A clearer, calmer mind can be helpful when negotiating with clients or tackling stressful projects. I have learned that, instead of getting anxious, jumping to conclusions, or getting stressed over something a project manager or client has said, for example, with regular practice I am able to recognise these stressful moments more easily, and react more calmly and consciously.

Yoga is not just about assuming certain body postures, called asanas. Other practices, such as meditation, yoga nidra (full body relaxation and deep state of consciousness), pranayama (breathing practice), and mantra chanting, among others, can all help you connect with your body and mind, become more aware of what is happening inside you, and be more in tune with your own personality.

Important notes about yoga:

  • Yoga is not something miraculous or supernatural; it helps you connect with and become aware of your body and mind, and remove the layers (misleading thoughts, habits, patterns) that hide your true essence.
  • Although it is not something supernatural, yoga is a serious, subtle practice and should be practiced with the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor who is serious about the tradition. Unless you have had some training or are an experienced practitioner, you shouldn’t try and practice it by yourself at home or following videos uploaded to the Internet. Neither should you attempt to put your feet behind your head or get into an upside down posture just to show off your flexibility – that’s not what yoga is all about.
  • In order to gain the full benefits, you need practice yoga regularly. It is better to have two regular weekly sessions than to practice yoga sporadically, or at irregular intervals.

Thank you so much for such a lovely contribution to the blog, Sofia! It was a pleasure hosting you and reading your post. Good luck on your next adventure!

About the author
Foto SofiaSofia Pulici is a linguist (MA in Applied Linguistics), and a NAATI- and ABRATES-accredited Portuguese/English translator who will have completed 10 years as a translator in June this year. Her fields of expertise are tourism & hospitality, yoga & spirituality, and migration documents to Australia. As a yoga practitioner since 2010, Sofia is committed to improving her yoga learning and techniques; she has studied Vedanta since October 2015, has been learning the Sanskrit language, and is enrolled in a yoga training program. You can contact her through her translation blog, Facebook page, or LinkedIn.

Guest post: Coworking (in Portuguese)

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Coworking: um modismo benéfico à saúde da tradução profissional

Dizem por aí que procrastinar é o oitavo pecado capital do homem contemporâneo, mas foi mergulhando nessa sina que eu descobri o coworking. Segunda-feira arrastada, Facebook aberto, feed de notícias pra cima e pra baixo, até que bati o olho no post de um colega anunciando que sua empresa estava de casa nova em um espaço de coworking. Curiosa, cliquei na tag do lugar e em um minuto me encantei pela proposta – ou melhor, fiquei obcecada a ponto de isso ter me rendido uma experiência de vida e trabalho fora do país, um par de palestras e um convênio de abrangência nacional para tradutores – nada mal para uma procrastinadazinha, não? E essa brincadeira só está começando. Mas, afinal, o que é coworking?

A resposta objetiva e superficial para essa pergunta é: um escritório compartilhado por profissionais liberais de diferentes áreas.

A resposta aprofundada (e que dá pano para manga) para essa pergunta é: um fenômeno (re)construído diariamente por aqueles que se propõem viver e trabalhar dentro da recém-nascida ordem da economia colaborativa.

Fruto da virtualização e da globalização do cotidiano, os coworkings são, fisicamente, espaços apropriados coletivamente por pessoas com diferentes objetivos de negócio. Assim, também são temporariamente multifacetados, pois o fluxo de integrantes (os coworkers) é dinâmico e variável. Além de oferecer benefícios diretos, facilmente identificáveis – uma alternativa econômica aos custos estratosféricos do mercado imobiliário/ratatá de infraestrutura -, os espaços de coworking também proporcionam ganhos indiretos, sutis e subjetivos por hospedarem diversidade, sendo, na prática, verdadeiros melting pots do empreendedorismo. Logo, são espaços que os tradutores precisam ocupar com urgência para crescer profissionalmente, até porque coworkar é a solução perfeita para fugir do isolamento do home office e fazer um networking saudável e nada forçado.

Foi experimentando essa prática em Buenos Aires que notei o potencial de transformação que coworkar traz aos seus adeptos. Por não estar em casa e por estar pagando pelo uso daquele espaço, chegava para trabalhar de verdade, com foco. Aproveitei também para cronometrar minha produtividade, comprovando na prática de que eu precisava, em média, de quatro a cinco horas bem trabalhadas para dar conta das minhas metas diárias. Isso me deu tempo suficiente para conhecer a cidade porteña com calma, fugindo do óbvio turístico, e, aos poucos, comecei a cultivar minhas próprias raízes no local. Em outras palavras, ouso dizer que consegui me aproximar um pouquinho do famoso work-life balance ao experimentar tocar o meu negócio em um espaço de coworking. E voltei para o Rio de Janeiro obstinada a espalhar a ideia para as pessoas, principalmente para tradutores como eu.

E desse desejo surgiu, há um mês, o Convênio Coworking para os associados da ABRATES e do SINTRA. A proposta é bem simples e está toda resumidinha no vídeo fixado na fanpage do Pronoia Tradutória. Acredito que estamos vivendo um momento definidor para a nossa profissão, que ganhou visibilidade com a chegada dos megaeventos no país. Portanto, está na hora de darmos as caras para o mundo e conhecê-lo melhor: ver e ser visto é um passo fundamental para desmistificar aqueles mal-entendidos acerca do nosso ofício. E esse esforço não é somente uma questão de autopromoção, mas também serve para semear os frutos vindouros de um mercado mais sadio. Afinal, a (in)formação de colegas e clientes é o melhor antídoto para as más condições que enfrentamos no ramo.

Fico contente em saber que já tem colega procurando os espaços conveniados e dando uma chance para essa prática que vem revolucionando a forma como o homem contemporâneo entende o trabalho. Já ouvi por aí que, no futuro, “coworking” não será mais uma novidade, um modismo; será a regra, a lógica “natural” em que a indústria de serviços se organizará. Se essa aposta vingará, só vivendo para saber, mas nada nos impede de já torná-la uma realidade.

About the author
carol1miniCarolina Walliter é tradutora e intérprete no par inglês/português formada pelo Brasillis Idiomas; filiada à ABRATES, ao SINTRA e à IAPTI. Ativa no mercado da tradução desde 2010, atua principalmente nas áreas de comunicações corporativas, marketing, turismo e tecnologia da informação. Em 2013, começou a estudar o fenômeno do coworking informalmente, na mesma época em que partiu para sua primeira aventura como nômade digital em Buenos Aires. Relatou toda a experiência no blog Pronoia Tradutória, espaço que idealizou para refletir sobre o cotidiano do tradutor contemporâneo e seus desafios práticos. Além de traduzir e interpretar, também escreve para a Revista Capitolina e para a Traduzine.

Guest post: Networking

Welcome back to our guest post series! This is the first one after my holidays, but they already seem so far, far away… I could use some break again, but, hey, the good news is I have a long weekend ahead of me! And this time I’m not working. Yay!

While I enjoy my three days off, I hope you enjoy our next guest post, by Alison Hughes.

Welcome, Alison!

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Softly, softly…

Networking: love it or hate it, it is part and parcel of any freelance business.

Does it fill you with dread or do you look forward to getting out and meeting real people in the business world? Have you family responsibilities and/or a limited budget that stop you getting to that all-important client event? Or do you just beaver away on your own and hope you’ll never have to do it?

Changing times

I began freelancing in 1997. At the time it was common practice to work for agencies who all paid roughly the same rate. Life for me was straightforward and I could earn a decent living. But in recent years, with the advent of machine translation and other price pressures, I found I was constantly battling to keep my rate and I knew I had to do something.

Although I had always been an active member of ITI and its local networks, I decided to specialise and up my marketing and networking endeavours. But where to begin? It was obvious I was going to have to go further afield to meet potential clients.

I decided to invest in one main conference a year plus a visit to my source language country, France, but beyond that I had a very limited marketing and CPD budget.

So I started looking for local events in my specialist areas and was astounded at how many there were. And most were either free or inexpensive.

But what is the value of a local event if you don’t live in your source language country? The chances of finding potential clients at these events can be fairly slim. So is there really any point?

If you specialise, I believe there is.

Why?

1) These events are wonderful learning opportunities. Listening to experts talking enriches not only your knowledge but also your vocabulary. The more you attend, and the more you learn, the more you gain the confidence to use the correct terms in your own translations. And clients are going to love a translator who speaks their language.

2) I won’t use the stereotype of the introvert translator but – let’s face it – we do spend a lot of our time alone in front of our computers so even the best communicators don’t get much face-to-face interaction. And often the pressure to make a good impression leads to panic and, ultimately, disappointment, when we attend a networking event.

However, if you know you are unlikely to come face-to-face with the ideal potential client, the pressure is off. You can be yourself, talk about your business naturally and listen to what other people say about theirs, without the worry of saying something that will ruin your chances.

3) While you are there you can use the opportunity to promote the translation industry as a whole. At smaller events you will be asked to introduce yourself and I always say:

‘I am a French to English translator working mainly for the creative industries. So this event is an excellent opportunity for me to learn about your industry and to reassure you that excellent, specialist translators are here to stay. Contrary to what you might think, we won’t be replaced by machines any day soon.’

4) And if you do this often enough, when you do splash out on an important industry event, networking will have become second nature. You will have some first-hand knowledge of the industry, you will speak their language, and you will have the confidence to approach important potential clients.

An example:

The Glasgow University College of Arts organises an annual industry day. This year I went to a breakaway session by the dress and textile department. As fashion is one of my specialist areas, this was of particular interest to me and I learnt a lot about Paisley pattern shawls and Singer sewing machines, both local to me in Glasgow. Also, one of the speakers happened to mention she had a background in fabric design and I happened to have a question I could ask her. We have now made contact so I have someone to approach with future queries.

Next month I have invested in the Costume Society Conference in London. I now feel confident I will be able to converse knowledgeably about at least one area of dress and textile design that will perhaps even be new to other attendees. It doesn’t make me an industry expert but does show that I’m taking a close interest.

So now with my well rehearsed introduction, my little bit of knowledge, and my practice networking at much smaller events, if I do come face-to-face with the ideal client, I would hope to be able to handle the situation professionally and see a return on my investment.

Soft networking

Yes, there’s even a term for it. Indeed, any sort of business ‘socialising’ without a strategy or strict targets probably qualifies as soft networking. Engagement on social media is another example.

Have you tried the ‘softly, softly’ approach?

Thank you so much for accepting my invitation to write a guest post for our blog, Alison! It was a real pleasure hosting you.

Alison has also kindly written a poem about the topic. Here it is:

Networking

Of course I’ll go, it’s something new
And definitely time my business grew

The event is free so that’s a plus
Networking? Don’t understand the fuss

I’m no shrinking violet, or so I’m told
So what’s the problem for one so bold?

New cards, nice suit and business head
I’m ready for action… what’s that you said?

No, it’s my first, of many I hope
It won’t be easy but I’m sure I’ll cope

Damn and blast it where’s the map?
Not yet a panic, just a bit of a flap

OK I’m not early, but not that late
Just remember it’s not a date

No-one is waiting just for you
But, oh my God, what do I do?

With a beating heart of increasing pace
I scan the room for a familiar face

I’m on my own, there’s no other way
I’ll just have to think of something to say

I approach a group deep in conversation
But stop in my tracks as the topic’s inflation

Deciding I need some time to think
I head for the table to have a drink

I grab a water and down it in one
Desperately fighting the urge to run

Group number two looks a better bet
Just need to do it, no time to vet

‘Do you mind if I join you?’ I say to be nice
It does the trick and breaks the ice

‘My name is Jan’ one says with a smile
Is this your first event in a while?

‘Yes’ I say, ‘well to tell the truth.
First event ever, shaky hand’s the proof.’

‘Only my second so I feel your pain.
But little to lose and lots to gain’

Her words of encouragement are all I need
I join the group and am soon up to speed

Explaining the work of a freelance translator
I discover a client who may need me later

Cards are exchanged and it’s time to move on
Somehow I no longer feel so forlorn

It certainly wasn’t as easy as expected
But a couple more and I could have this perfected.

So, did you like it? Nice, huh? 🙂

About the author

After 17 years in the wines and spirits industry, Alison Hughes embarked on a freelance career and is now a French to English translator and copywriter for the creative industries. Her specialisms are food and drink, fashion and cosmetics, tourism and the arts. She has been coordinator for the ITI Media, Arts & Tourism network since 2010.

This guest blog post expands on one of the points of the talk Alison gave at the 2015 ITI Conference in April: It’s not what you spend but the way that you spend it.

You can contact Alison on her website, Facebook, Twitter (@AHcreattrans) or LinkedIn.

Guest post: Keeping our well-being as freelancers

Dearest readers, here we are again with yet another lovely guest who has kindly taken the time to write something interesting and really useful to us, freelancers. It is not all about productivity, feedback, quality and stuff, but also about quality of life.

Welcome, Laura!

Meditation-2

Zen and the art of translator’s maintenance

Being a professional is hard in this day and age. Being a sane, well-rounded professional (and human being!) is even harder.

As independent workers we often face high levels of stress, having to deal with deadlines, customers’ demands – and the occasional slump, when work suddendly slows down and we are left worrying and wondering about the “if” and “when” of the next assignment.

As people often working from home (and thus mostly alone) we are indeed free to set our own hours, arrange our work environment as we please, and even decide to go working someplace else (a café, a park, a co-working space), if we feel like it. The possible downsides are a sense of solitude and isolation; the long hours spent sitting; a certain laziness which tends to creep on us and leave us unfit, tired, with a (long) list of aches and pains, from the back to the wrists to the neck.

All these things take a huge toll. Especially when you happen to be a professional translator in your late thirties (very late: I will be 40 in a few months!), who is been doing this job for about 15 years.

I love being a translator, and I don’t think I could do anything else. But a few years ago I came to realize that, if I wanted to keep doing this as long as possible, and conserve my sanity, and the use of my limbs, in the process!, I would have had to do something, and fast.

Obviously I am not an expert. What follows is simply a recount of my experience, which I think could be beneficial to our colleagues – and to anyone who is an independent professional and is forced to work long hours in front of the computer.

What seemed particularly apparent, and thus urgent to counteract, were the effects of the job on my body. First of all, I was getting fat and unfit. There were periods of time when I indeed went to the gym, to do weights, or some classes (which I didn’t particularly like); but those twice or thrice a week outbursts didn’t seem to do any spectacular difference. The simple truth I didn’t actually grasp at the time was that they simply couldn’t: I was too un-active, much more so than the average person, who at the very least has to leave home everyday, take a walk to get to the office, to get some lunch, to reach a bus stop. Things I didn’t do, for obvious reasons.

So, going to the gym a couple or even three times a week had costed me (in terms of time, effort, willpower, and also money), without making any perceivable difference. Understandably, I would get discouraged, and stop. And then, after a while, I’d feel lazy, heavy, guilty, aching, and start again. In a sense, the very definition of madness 😉

How did I break the circle? Three years ago, I started running, almost by chance, following a very well-known interval plan for absolute beginners, called C25K.

I loved it from the start: it was easy, it gave me structure (which I very much need), and I saw progress right away.

Initially the intensity wasn’t high enough to give me results in terms of weight loss, or real physical fitness: but it didn’t matter, because for the first time I loved what I was doing. I would go running three days a week, sometimes even more often, just for the sake of it: not because I had to, or to obtain some kind of result (which was way too soon to get anyway), but because I wanted to. And this made the real difference.

Fast forward to a couple of months later: I easily ran 5k without any walking break, I started to tackle longer distances. It was pure bliss. Running regularly I finally got to counteract those long hours in front of the computer. I wasn’t un-active anymore: I was a runner!

After a while, I started to see the difference in terms of my body changing. But I also realized running had become my go-to method to sort problems out, work-related or otherwise: I went out the door all stressed out, my brain swirling with things to do, decisions to make, upset with a customer, or with the feeling I couldn’t manage a particular issue. And I came home perfectly calm, my mind finally at rest, and more often than not with a clear solution for that “insolvable” issue.

After a while, I decided to combine running with Pilates: something low-intensity (or so I believed…), which gave me the opportunity to train the whole body, and get more flexible. For a couple of years, I trained five or six days a week, happily alternating the two disciplines.

About a year ago, my love story with running, sadly, came to a halt, due to a pretty serious injury. For a while I tried to ignore it, but obviously that was not the way to go. I was devastated (and I don’t use the term lightly): I was addicted to running, I missed it badly – and I had to rethink my whole training plan.

The upside: I realized I couldn’t stop doing physical activity regularly. Not only because I didn’t particularly fancy the idea of becoming fat and lazy again (!), but also because it was now part of my life. In a way, running was my gateway drug!

I tried a few things, made some experiments, mixed and matched different activities. Now Pilates is a big part of my routine, including a one-hour-a-week-one-to-one workout with my instructor and the aide of a few torture instruments – like the reformer (!); together with a few shorter, high-intensity cardio workouts. Oh, and I also go out for a run once in a while: luckily, endorphines don’t know the difference between 20 kilometres and 2 😉

Bottom line: I am happier, more productive, less stressed out, more able to deal with all the daily challenges of our profession, physically and mentally. Added bonus: I now have a standing desk, so… no more sitting for me!

… And the translator lived happily (and fit) ever after?

Not exactly.

As I was saying, all this activity had a pretty good influence on my mood and my state of mind, but in a way that was quite ephemeral. Maybe as a consequence of getting old(er), I felt the need to take care of my mind in a more deliberate way, and I found it in meditation: more specifically, in an app (if you’re curious, it’ s called Headspace).

Yep, as you can very well imagine there’s an app for that. This could sound counterintuitive, and I know it’s perfectly possible to take on meditation without anything of the sort (without anything, really!): but as I said I am the kind of person that needs structure, a plan, and some guidance, to form a habit – and Headspace gave me just that.

Again, I am really new at this. I have been meditating steadily for just a month now, starting with 10 minutes a day and progressing to 15 and now 20. I was skeptical, to be honest. I am really NOT the kind of person you think about when you picture someone who practices meditation; quite the opposite! And maybe that’s exactly why I should not have waited so long to try it…

The first 10 to 14 days, I got a few odd reactions. Strange, localized aches and pains which came and went in half a day or so. One morning I woke up with a swollen eyelid, without any soreness or pain; the swelling was gone the same evening.

I was a bit baffled to say the least. I can’t be sure, of course, that was indeed my body releasing tensions and stress; but it was definitely strange (and it’s completely gone now).

I also won’t say that I am a different person – that I am calm, enlightened, mindfull all the time. Far from it.

But I do feel a difference. I feel that this practice is indeed beneficial for me, that I am making progress (even if it’s not quite the right term to use in association with meditating!). I catch myself being lost in thoughts during the day, and trying to be more mindful; when working, when talking to a client, replying to a particularly upsetting e-mail, reacting to a problematic situation with an assignment – and the same applies to personal relationships.

I have the distinct feeling that I am indeed “training my mind”. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint exactly which are these benefits, how specifically meditation is beneficial for me, when in particularly I have seen my new, “trained” mind put to the test.

I am very much glad to have started it though, and I am looking forward to continue practicing in the future. Also, it’s not a training I will have to stop anytime soon due to an injury, or so I hope! 🙂

Looking back, I am starting to see I have been following a kind of path. It certainly would have been better if I had started taking care of myself sooner, but all in all I am pretty happy. And I hope I’ll be able to keep on translating (and standing up!) for many many years to come.

What’s your way to take care of yourself, body and mind? Do let us know in the comments!

“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted” – Denis Waitley

Thank you, Laura, for accepting my invitation and kindly taking the time to write about what worked out for you to our readers! Working as a freelancer can be really dangerous, because we can simply get used to staying at home, sitting in front of the computer all day (and night) long, eating like a pig… However, sitting for that long can be really damaging to our health, and we have to do something before it’s too late. I’m also addicted to running and going to the gym, and I have learned to take good care of what I eat as well. 🙂

We would love to read what your healthy daily routing is: what sport do you enjoy practicing? What healthy activities/practices have you adopted to mitigate potential health issues? Do you follow a healthy diet?

About the author
elle_NYLaura Dossena has been working as a professional translator into Italian since 2000; she is madly in love with translation, and also has a passion for technology, writing, and minimalism (and running, and Pilates). She’s always on the lookout for new ways and new tools to increase the quality of her work and the level of satisfaction of her customers. You can find her on Twitter and on Facebook. Her web site (and blog) can be found here: http://www.elleditraduzioni.it.

Por onde começar?

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Tardei, mas não falhei! Cá estou com a minha primeira publicação mensal, em português.

Há aproximadamente um mês, recebi uma mensagem pelo site de uma pessoa que assistiu à minha palestra no Congresso da Abrates deste ano e que tem interesse em se tornar tradutora, mas não sabe como. Como acredito que as dúvidas dela possam ser as de muitas outras pessoas que têm interesse em entrar na área, decidi respondê-las aqui no blog, assim elas ficam mais acessíveis.

  1. A criação de um nome para a minha marca como uma sigla soa profissional ou devo usar uma palavra mesmo?
    Sim, claro! Obviamente, contanto que a sigla não soe estranha ou ofensiva em nenhuma cultura. O nome pode ser uma sigla, um dos seus nomes próprios ou o seu nome completo, ou até mesmo um nome criado totalmente do zero. O importante é considerar todos os fatores, como a imagem que ele passa para pessoas de qualquer cultura, a facilidade de pronunciá-lo e escrevê-lo, a não existência prévia dele, etc. Leve sempre em consideração seus possíveis clientes (e as culturas deles), seus valores, suas características e sua preferência, é claro.
  2. Como faço para começar a divulgar meu trabalho? Você acredita que seja uma boa ideia começar a divulgar em algumas faculdades aqui de minha cidade, para fazer traduções de monografias e textos acadêmicos, ou devo procurar outro público?
    Você conhece as particularidades da escrita acadêmica nos idiomas nos quais pretende trabalhar? As regras são diferentes da escrita usual e também são diferentes de acordo com o idioma.
    Você conhece as áreas com as quais pretende trabalhar? As áreas podem variar desde assuntos mais gerais a outros bem específicos, como biologia, engenharia e física. Como textos acadêmicos e monografias/teses e afins são direcionados e detalhados sobre um assunto específico, é necessário ter pelo menos certo conhecimento ou estar preparado e disposto para pesquisar bastante e aprender.
    Você pode começar pesquisando agências de tradução. Elas sempre são um ótimo ponto de início. Você pode encontrá-las em buscas no Google ou em grupos de tradutores, ou mesmo obter indicação de outros tradutores que já trabalharam ou trabalham com agências. O importante é sempre pesquisar sobre a agência antes de enviar seu currículo para saber com quais idiomas e áreas ela trabalha e se é idônea. Envie o currículo para cada uma separadamente, de preferência, citando o nome da pessoa responsável pelo recebimento de currículos, fazendo uma breve apresentação sua já no corpo do email.
  3. Quanto cobrar pelo serviço? Não tenho ideia de onde começar nem de como e quanto cobrar dos clientes. Por exemplo, quanto você acha justo cobrar por um abstract de monografia e pela tradução de textos acadêmicos?
    Não tenho a fórmula mágica, pois não existe uma. Cada tradutor cobra um valor e cada cliente é um caso diferente. No caso de agências, muitas vezes, quem estipula o preço são elas. O importante é você ter uma ideia do seu valor mínimo e não aceitar migalhas.
    Eu, pessoalmente, comecei ganhando R$ 0,03 por palavras do material original. Um mês depois, a agência aumentou para R$ 0,05. Cerca de um ano depois, comecei a receber R$ 0,07. Hoje, meu valor mínimo por palavra para clientes brasileiros é de R$ 0,11. No entanto, varia de acordo com o cliente. Se eu não me engano a tabela do Sintra sugere R$ 0,35, ou seja, como você pode ver, há uma variação muito grande.
    Tente sempre negociar os valores oferecidos pela agência. Na pior das hipóteses, você ouvirá um “não” e decidirá se aceita a proposta deles ou não. Com o tempo, veja qual é sua produtividade de palavras por dia a fim de calcular um valor por palavra com base nas suas necessidades financeiras.
  4. Devo solicitar o recebimento do pagamento antes de fazer o serviço ou depois?
    Depende. Repito, no caso de agências, são elas quem mandam e você tem que aceitar. O prazo normalmente varia de 30 a 60 dias após a emissão da nota fiscal. No caso de clientes diretos, se o cliente é novo, sempre peço parte do valor total (30 ou 50%) mediante a aprovação da cotação e estipulo que só iniciarei a tradução quando confirmar o recebimento desse valor inicial. O restante, nesse caso, solicito que seja pago mediante a entrega do material traduzido. Se eu já conheço o cliente, solicito o pagamento em até 30 dias corridos após a entrega do material traduzido. No entanto, alguns pagam em até uma semana.
  5. Qual é a forma de pagamento que devo oferecer (depósito em conta ou alguma outra forma)?
    Eu particularmente só recebo pagamentos nacionais por depósito ou transferência bancária e internacionais pelo PayPal. Desconheço tradutores que utilizem outra forma de pagamento nacional, como cartão de crédito ou boleto.
  6. Devo estipular um prazo de entrega do serviço de quantos dias ou baseado em quê?
    Isso dependerá totalmente de você. Você precisa saber sua produtividade diária para estipular o prazo de entrega. Se você ainda não tiver absolutamente nenhuma ideia de qual seja sua produtividade diária e precisa estipular um prazo, sugiro que considere cerca de 1.500 a 2.000 palavras por dia. No início, é melhor pecar pelo excesso de cuidado do que pela falta dele e acabar não conseguindo cumprir o prazo, prejudicando sua imagem. Sempre inclua um ou dois dias a mais no prazo, a fim de evitar eventuais problemas. Quando tiver outros projetos em andamento, considere-os também. Aliás, há vários outros fatores a serem considerados, como o par de idiomas (versão ou tradução?), a área do material, o tipo de arquivo, a ferramenta a ser utilizada, se houver, além de outros fatores, como feriados, fins de semana, etc.
  7. A entrega do material traduzido deve ser feita impressa ou digitalizada?
    A tradução só é entrega impressa no caso de traduções juramentadas. Em todos os demais casos, o recebimento e a entrega dos arquivos são feitos por email ou outra forma de envio online.
  8. Você acha que é importante fazer estágio em uma empresa de tradução ou apenas a experiência da prática já é suficiente?
    Eu acredito que qualquer tipo de experiência seja de extrema importância para o aprendizado pessoal. Um não desmerece o outro, mesmo porque o estágio não deixa de ser uma experiência prática. No entanto, é preciso ter cuidado com o termo “estágio”. Contanto que ele seja remunerado, não há problema. Jamais aceite trabalhos não remunerados, exceto se forem voluntários e por uma causa.
    O que normalmente acontece é que muitas pessoas começam trabalhando dentro de agências exatamente por não encontrarem oportunidades como freelancer no início. Algo que também é válido, pois se aprende muito dentro de agências.

Essas eram as perguntas (um pouco reformuladas). Espero ter conseguido responder claramente a elas e que eu tenha ajudado a pessoa em questão, assim como outras.

Outras dúvidas?

Guest post: Translation terminology

Welcome back to our guest post series! I hope you are all having a good week so far.

How about taking that nice coffee/tea/juice/lunch break and read today’s guest post? Our guest today is Raphaël Toussaint.

Welcome, Raphaël!

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Glossaries and terminology for freelance translators

Although I am quite confident that most if not all readers know what terminology is, here once again a quick and simplified definition:

Terminology is the vocabulary used in a specific domain, field or industry.

For most translators this means all the terms in their field(s) of specialisation which have a particular meaning in the concerned domain, as opposed to their general meaning (if both a generic and one or several uses exist).

It is however important to make a distinction between the different uses for terminology:

  • Academic
    From an academic or research point of view, terminology work is often descriptive and attempts to be exhaustive (including detailed categorisation of terms); the idea is to draw a complete picture of the terminology in a specific domain.
  • Corporate
    Terminology management in corporate environments tends to be prescriptive, i.e. a company uses terminology to specify which terms are to be used to convey a consistent brand image and which terms are forbidden in their content.
  • Translation
    In the context of translation and localisation, terminology and its management tend to be closer to the corporate than the academic approach. This is linked to the fact that content to be translated often comes from companies. It is also interesting to note that terminology in this context is bi- or multilingual and that the quality of the source terminology can have a huge influence on the effort needed to produce high-quality translations.

Translators often receive termbases from translation agencies (and sometimes also from direct clients) the content of which has to be used during translation or revision. In a best case scenario, such a termbase is consistent within itself and with any related translation memories and exhaustive as far as the content to be translated is concerned. In real world projects, this doesn’t occur very often and freelance translators have different ways how to react:

  • Be annoyed and unhappy about the provided material and the fact that it will take more effort and time to provide a good translation (and additionally they loudly complain about it on social media – Lloyd has provided really useful info about that in the guest post Professionalism in the age of social media)
    This approach obviously doesn’t help anybody because translators will need to invest additional time for each project for said client and will become more and more frustrated. The client doesn’t become aware of problems with their termbase and cannot improve the situation.
  • Add new terms to a personal glossary but don’t bother to inform the client
    This way, translators can at least keep consistency among new terms but it helps remedying existing inconsistencies or other quality issues since the client isn’t aware of them.
  • Use existing termbase but offer suggestions for improving the termbase or adding new terms
    Depending on the relation with the client or agency, translators can either just make suggestions while working with the existing terminology or they might have the freedom to implement improvements directly in the ongoing project.

Many freelance translators keep personal glossaries and this is a commendable and useful practice. A few things can make such a habit even more efficient:

  • It is preferable to keep distinct glossaries according to domains over having client-based glossaries. If you work in only one domain, a client-based approach makes more sense. In case you decide to keep only a single glossary, make sure to use attributes to be able to distinguish between domains and/or clients.
  • Choose the format of your glossaries wisely.
    • Paper will be the least efficient or reusable form, but it can be helpful and quick to jot down something on a sheet of paper, as long as you input it properly in the glossary later on.
    • Word documents are still quite popular, but it is difficult to categorize and sort terms in this format.
    • The most used format seems to be spreadsheets and they indeed offer a certain flexibility when it comes to organising terms. The biggest disadvantage is that you still have to manually search and copy/paste a target term you want to use while translating. The same goes for entering new terms to your glossary. But rest assured, there are ways to handle these issues.
    • Most CAT tools provide ways to look up and add terms directly from the translation interface. This is the most productive way of using and growing your glossaries. If you work with different CAT tools, compatibility however can be an issue, but more on a possible solution later on.
    • Stand-alone terminology tools are obviously well suited to look up, manage and grow glossaries and termbases but not every translator will want to invest in a license (however useful in general this might be). Additionally not only each tool will play nicely with all the CAT tools out there, but if it can export termbase or glossary contents in an exchange format like .tbx or .xml, things aren’t too complicated.
  • Even if you don’t intend to make your glossaries fully fledged termbases, it can be useful to stick to some basic terminology management rules like using base forms (unless a specific form regularly occurs in the contents you translate), be consistent among terms and adding a definition and/or a context sentence to make sure the meaning and usage of an entry is clear, even if you don’t use a glossary for several weeks or months.

In case you prefer to work with spreadsheets or your CAT tool doesn’t allow using or updating glossaries, there are still ways of making glossaries more efficient. For SDL Trados Studio users, there is a one stop solution in form of a free OpenExchange application called “Glossary Converter” which lets you convert spreadsheets into various formats like .tbx, .sdltb or .tmx. The brilliant Jayne Fox and Paul Filkin have provided articles on how to use this app:

http://foxdocs.biz/BetweenTranslations/the-quick-way-to-convert-glossaries-and-termbases-between-excel-and-multiterm/
http://multifarious.filkin.com/2012/09/17/glossaries-made-easy/

Thank you, Raphaël, for accepting my invitation and kindly taking the time to write about such an useful topic for us, translators! 🙂

How do you handle your glossaries?

About the author

After several years as a technical translator, Raphaël Toussaint has become a certified terminology manager and expert for tools and solutions linked to translation needs at ITP nv. Always interested in the technical aspects of the translation and localisation industry, he actively uses social media to grow his knowledge and share his expertise.
Between finding unusual solutions to challenges in translation project workflows and training colleagues in the use of various TEnTs (Translation Environment Tools), Raphaël also attends international professional events and is involved in local meetups and workshops in Brussels where he lives and works.
You can find Raphaël amongst others on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Guest post: Freelancer as a sole breadwinner

Today, we should have the second part of Israel Alves de Souza Júnior’s guest post, but we had a change of plans. Stay tuned for his post next week. Meanwhile, I can assure you will love today’s guest. It is a huge pleasure to have her on our blog, since she is one of my role-models, besides being widely well-known in our profession. Please give a warm welcome to Marta Stelmaszak!

Welcome, Marta!

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Freelance translator as a sole breadwinner: opportunities and challenges

The decision to go freelance may have different roots and causes. From sheer frustration with a working environment, to an entrepreneurial calling, professionals start their freelancing journey for a variety of reasons. Yet it hardly ever is a leap of faith. Freelancers, including many freelance translators I know in person, turn to running their own business often in situations where they can afford to – and of course that’s responsible, reasonable and safe.

The majority of freelance translators I know have a significant other who in part to the household expenses, or have themselves benefitted from previous careers in which they paid their student loans or mortgages off. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that and I never realised my situation was anyhow different until recently.

To give you a bit of background, I was supporting myself right through my higher education (I asked for it, leaving my country, parents and friends far behind), and jumped right into freelancing as my main and only source of income straight after graduating. For the past five, maybe six years, I’ve been a sole breadwinner for my one-person community. Now that it’s changed and I’m no longer sole, I’ve noticed a significant change in my circumstances. If you are a freelance translator who’s the main, or sole, breadwinner, I think you may have had similar experiences or thoughts.

Absolute freedom

On a positive note, if you’re a sole freelance translator, you can enjoy this absolute freedom to work any time you want, arrange your routine exactly the way you feel like and don’t feel like you’re affecting anyone around you. Truth to be told, it’s not solely applicable to sole freelancers, but if you have a partner, you’re most probably following some sort of a shared or negotiated schedule. Not that I miss it, but long gone are days where I’d pull an all-nighter or work right through the weekend with home food deliveries.

Survival instinct

Being a sole breadwinner, especially if you have others depending on you, can serve as a catalyst for your survival instinct. From my own experience, I know that it’s totally different to be faced with a situation where you have to do something about marketing your services or else you’ll be running out of money for rent, and the same situation where this means a slower month but it’s not a complete disaster. This survival instinct gives you strength to go out of your comfort zone and do things you haven’t thought you were capable of.

Determination

Another side effect is the determination you may accidentally develop as a sole freelancer. In my case, I knew that I had to find a way of growing my business and there were no other possibilities, nothing to fall back on if something goes wrong.

Health risks

On the flip side, all the sole freelance translators I know tend to be a bit neglecting when comes to their own health and condition. It’s so easy to stay up all night or just not eat properly, or work for 18 hours straight… I know I used to pay much less attention to my health and how I felt, always finding there were more important things to do, or issues that needed my attention. Of course, this was really damaging to my health, resulting in a long antibiotic treatment by the end of 2014.

More stress

I never felt I was particularly stressed back then, but now from a perspective of passing time and changed circumstances, I know just how nervous and overstressed I was on a day-to-day basis. Feast and famine periods, late payments, dealing with non-payers, currency fluctuations, these were recurrent topics in some of my worst nightmares. Sole freelancers tend to be exposed to these stress triggers much more, as of course they’d be affected more dramatically, but also there are very few people to share this worry with.

Workaholic tendencies

Do sole freelancers work more? This has proven to be the case in my scenario. I used to work much more than now, with lower productivity and generally less happy, but I did put more hours into my business. I secretly suspect I was a bit workaholic, while now I definitely have a much healthier attitude to work. What’s the push and what’s the pull?

If you’re a sole freelancer, have you experienced similar feelings or situations in your life? Do you agree with me?

Thank you so very much, Marta, for accepting my invitation and taking the time to write something to the blog! It is a huge pleasure to host you here, you being my role-model and all. 😀

I did have roughly the same experience as you: I used to work a lot more before than I do now. As I already told my readers over and over again, in my beginning, I used to work almost around the clock, sleeping threee to four hours a day at the most – when I slept. Nowadays, I work from 8 a.m. (or later, depending on my sleep needs) through 5 p.m., because I religiously go to gym every evening. I usually don’t work on weekends nor on holidays, except when necessary, of course. The benefits are way bigger than those of working too much.

Please do add your own experiences. 😉

About the author
4869smMarta Stelmaszak is a Polish and English translator and interpreter specialising in law, IT, marketing and business. She is a member of the Management Committee of the Interpreting Division at the Chartered Institute of Linguists and of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters. Marta is also a qualified business mentor, a member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In 2015, she has been selected by IPSE as one of top 15 freelancers in the UK and graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Marta runs the Business School for Translators, an online course and entrepreneurial blog for translators and interpreters and published a book. Marta is active on Twitter and Facebook, where she shares information related to the business aspects involved in being a translator and interpreter.