"If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves”.
So, it’s a new year. New projects, new goals, new ambitions. And, although I can’t promise that I will stick to all 10, below are my resolutions, guaranteed to bring me (and you) a year of grammatical accuracy, stylistic fluency and faster-than-ever turnarounds.
1. Stop tweeting/instagraming/socialmedia-ing and talk to real people.
Of course, social media helps, but I solemnly swear to make a solid effort to network in person. This also often leads to nice free things and champagne.
2. Buy more flowers.
Imperative in aiding creative thinking and increasing productivity rates.
3. Stop obsessing over poor translations on the back of my cereal box in the morning.
We all need to find time to pause. At Christmas lunch, I was deeply hurt by what I can only assume was an incredibly poor attempt at a translation into English on the instructions for the magic fish that came out of my cracker. No one else seemed to share my pain, which left me feeling incredibly frustrated, yet also reminded me that not everyone wants to think about translation issues 24-hours a day and neither should I.
4. Travel more
I don’t mean that we all need to be gallivanting across to the other side of the world to find our inner freelance selves, however, as freelancers, we should 100% take advantage of the freedom we have to work wherever we choose. Having said that, I have heard that sun is proven to raise productivity levels by 110%.
5. Don’t stop learning
If there is one thing that I have learnt over the last year as a freelance translator, it is that you never, ever know as much as you think you do about something and that there will always be a phenomenon you never knew existed, until you come to translate it. You would never believe it, but I am now an expert in automotive engineering, thanks to a large project I took on this year, and am ready to open my eyes to whatever weird and wonderful subjects 2016 has in store for me…
6. Stop judging people who can’t spell.
It’s not their fault.
7. Keep working on the next language.
A career in translation should not be static. There is always room to expand to new languages. This is the year I perfect my Italian and tackle Romanian…
8. Read for fun
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Clearly one must read every good book at least once every ten years”. I don’t think he was referring to textbooks or FR>EN legal dictionaries. Any suggestions are welcome!
9. Stop taking things personally
Another important lesson from the last year has been to not take criticism from clients personally, but to learn from it. Of course, we all want to do our best and a translation can become an extremely personal creation, given the inevitably subjective nature of the discipline. However, it is important to recognise that the criticism is not personal, to use it as a tool for self-improvement and, most importantly, to remain confident in your translation choices.
10. Specialise in food and drink translations and get some hands-on experience.
Or luxury travel. I haven’t decided yet.
Happy 2016 everyone!
Monday 11 January 2016