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July 10, 2016

Translation Forum Russia 2016. 1st part.

Translation Forum Russia 2016
The latest Translation Forum Russia conference took place in Astrakhan on 1-3 July 2016. For those of you who haven't yet heard about this conference, it's an annual event which happens in a different city every time. The conference is universal in scope as it covers all the players on the market, including translation suppliers and customers, managers of translation agencies and translation departments, company managers, freelance and in-house translators and interpreters, teachers and trainers, producers of CAT tools and other translation-related software, translators’ associations, government bodies, and publishers. Its website is tconference.ru and you might want to bookmark it, just in case you haven't yet. ;-)

I will definitely need to make several posts about the conference as it is virtually impossible to share my thoughts and impressions in one message. It was my second conference, so I was happy to see the colleagues I met last year and those who I used to know only virtually thanks to social networks. I also met a lot of new people who are all helping the Russian translation market to grow and develop.

The first post is going to be about the city of Astrakhan. It's beautiful, and very diverse. It's an ancient city located on the Silk Route which used to connect the East and West. And you can literally see and feel this cultural symbiosis there even now. It's definitely a unique place which is worth visiting, even if it's just for a weekend.

Here are some pictures of the city for you.
This is the road which leads to the Astrakhan Balley and Opera Theatre. I actually lived not far from it. Here is a closer picture of the theatre.
Almost on the bank of the Volga river, there's a hotel. I could imagine seeing a building like that somewhere in Dubai, but it was a surprise to see it in Astrakhan.
The Kremlin there is beautiful. It's several centuries younger than the one we have in Vladimir, and it's not made of white stone, but painted white. It has fabulous carving and lots of beatiful details.




If you look closer you will see that the bell tower is falling. Our guide told us that an architect came there a couple years ago and helped to strengthen the foundation, so the bell tower should stay for a long time. By the way, the Kremlin in Astrakhan is one of UNESCO world heritage sites now.
But the most beautiful thing about Astrakhan is.. the Volga. Just look at it. Isn't it wonderful? The forest you see on the other side is actually an island, so there's more water on the other side. That side of the Volga you see below is for small boats. The other side is for barges and cargo ships.



Astrakhan is beautiful and diverse, even in architecture. Just look at the different types of buildings and houses.






What is Astrakhan famous for among the Russians? It's one of the best places for fishermen and those who like fish and caviar. The Astrakhan fish market is even included in the tripadviser list of the Astrakhan tourist sites.

So this is it for now. Next time (hopefully in the next couple weeks) I'll share more about the translation side of the trip, including the challenges of migration and uncommon languages in Europe, differences between the Russian and European translation markets, simultaneous interpretation as a martial art and more.

May 14, 2016

Going to take part in Jost Zetzsche's master class on May 20th?

I love my job!
Never thought I'd ever say that, because I was 100% confident that freelancing was the only way for me to live and work. Imagine my surprise when I realised that I can actually work for a company and I can actually love it.

I love what I am doing now. I love inviting new teachers and learning from them. I know, they are normally called trainers at other CPD courses. But I like the word "teacher" much more because teachers show the way, not just deliver information or help to master a new skill.

Today I would like to share my excitement with you. Yes, this is going to be an announcement. But hey, it's my blog and I can share everything I want. :-)

Next Friday, on May 20th, Jost Zetzsche is going to hold a webinar called "Is translation technology really the great equalizer? A look into why and how translation technology is opening up many new possibilities for creative minds".

I feel very priviledged now as I followed Jost on Twitter for years, and I remember how happy I was to hold in interview with him back in 2014 when I just started working with LinguaContact as a freelance blogger and social media manager. We had a great time then. Moreover, Jost promised to Fedor, our CEO, that he would be happy to have a webinar or a course at our translation training school whenever he had a chance. You can listen to the interview here.

So now the time has come. And it will be great. That's why I am inviting YOU, my readers, to take part in the webinar! This is not a free event, but if you are like me you have probably listened to 100,000 free webinars and you know how little useful info they actually give. And that's logical. So this is a paid event, but it will be worth every penny.

You can learn more on the English version of the webinar webpage. And if you have any questions, please use "Contact me" page of this blog. I will be happy to help, as usual.

See you on May 20th!

April 24, 2016

6 Marketing tips for translators

Hello everybody! How are you doing? Hope spring is bringing new blessings and challenges to you and your business. Please welcome Aniello Attianese with his first guest post in my blog. The topic we are going to talk about is marketing for freelance translators. Enjoy!

Whether you’re just a rookie at the very beginning of your great translation journey or an experienced translator with years of work behind your belt, one thing simply doesn’t change – in order to get business, you must market yourself successfully to the potential clients. It is extremely important to find the appropriate methods which will maximise results for the effort you put in.

This however, might sound much easier to do than it actually is. Remember, your goal is to stand out from the crowd of translators who might be just as talented and qualified as you are. Marketing your translation services isn’t just about getting out there and stopping. It is a constant effort to show your potential customers that you are qualified, professional and up-to-date with the industry.

March 21, 2016

How do you stay healthy and fit? Alina Cincan shares her experience.

Welcome back the series that started in 2014! Indeed, a lot has changed since then. I finally managed to put on some weight and become stronger. As for Alina Cincan, the changes were quite opposite, but the result is the same - better health, more confidence and enhanced wellbeing.
So I am giving the floor to Alina now. Let's see what she has to share and what changes occurred in her life since 2014. We decided not to change the original post written two years ago, but to add updates for each section. Please let us know in comments what you think!

February 8, 2016

How I became a freelancer and where it has led me...

It's all here, in my new interview to freelancermap.com. I am grateful for a chance to share my experience and some tips with the subscribers of this wonderful website. The interview was an interesting process. I've been kind of silent here, because now being only a part-time freelancer, I can't decide what to write about. There are a couple posts in my drafts, but I've been hesitating about publishing them. So big thanks to Doreen for showing me that my experience can still be valuable for others. Dear Doreen, I promise, I will keep this blog living and active!


So, things you will learn from this interview include:
1. How I became a freelancer (though you might already know that part ;-))
2. Why freelancing is a part-time business for me now and how that transition actually happened.
3. What do I do to find new clients and keep them :-)
4. Some marketing and success tips from me.

And of course, I will be happy to read your stories!
Here's what you can do:

October 22, 2015

Dealing with negative feedback in social media

Anybody working online may at some point have to deal with negative feedback, both deserved and undeserved. It always brings negative feelings and emotions. Today I am going to share my own experience of dealing with negative feedback in social media. Everything posted there is picked up by Google and other search engines unless it's protected by privacy settings. That's why it's so important, first of all, to know how to deal with negative feedback correctly and, secondly, to stay calm and professional.

Managing a translation school, I periodically come across various negative comments about it in social networks (luckily, it doesn't happen as often now as we are earning a quite decent reputation among Russian translators). At first, I got really upset about those comments, especially if they came from people who didn't even attend any of our e-courses or webinars, but they were sure nevertheless that we were just another info business in the worst meaning of the word. What's interesting is that I noticed that if we offered them a chance to take part in a course they wouldn't even show up. Their main goal was to release their share of sarcasm and proudly walk away. ;-)

Luckily, there are more good people around. Still misunderstandings and problems can occur, and one of the challenges of social networks is that anything (good or bad) shared about your brand is seen by many people who are shaping their view about your services based on what they read online. That's why I always monitor what's being said about the translation school where I work and always reply to comments.

I also realised that there's another issue related to dealing with negative feedback. It concerns preserving your calmness and sanity despite of what people may write about your work. It may be hard, especially if you know you are doing your best. Here's what I do now. If I come across some negative feedback I don't react right away, but I switch to another task, maybe even turn off that social network for a few minutes. When I have calmed down, I open the network again and re-read the comment very carefully trying to see the rational idea behind it or a real problem that I can solve (or that I can get somebody else to solve). If there is a problem, I solve it and then reply to that comment saying that I am sorry for the inconvenience caused and that the problem is now solved. If there is no problem, but a miscommunication has taken place, I try to reply with respect and explain why we do things a certain way. I've noticed that this practice has helped me to become much calmer in general.  I can't say I don't care when somebody criticizes me, but I surely do my best to stay constructive at all times.

By the end of my first year as a manager of a translation school, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. It's impossible to be liked by everybody.

2. If a person wants to find fault with me or to find something wrong in the work of the school, he or she will. That's why it is very important to keep doing my very best and keep constantly growing professionally in order to work better. The most important thing is to work so well that I won't be able to criticize myself. To me, my own appreciation is more important now than the words of others.

3. If you see negative feedback about your work, you need to react to it
а) always;
b) fast (if possible);
c) in a constructive way.

4. Why is it necessary to deal with negative feedback?
а) In order to show your respect for other people, their feelings, their experience, and their fears.
b) Negative feedback helps to see problems that you wouldn't notice otherwise. The most useful reaction to negative feedback is the solvation of a real problem, even though people may have shared about it not in the most constructive manner. Still, they helped you see it and then solve it, and that's good!

I hope that my experience will help you, too. I'd love to hear about your experience in comments!

P.S. The article was originally published in my Russian blog (in Russian, of course).

October 9, 2015

I am back!

Hi everybody! Long time, no see! :)
There literally wasn't any single day when I didn't think about you. All my readers are very special to my heart. Thank you for your messages and for your cards! I am very grateful for your kind thoughts.

As you probably guessed, this is going to be a recap post. I shared a couple recap posts back in 2014, so it probably won't be big news for you if I say that 2014 was an extremely challenging year. Sometimes to the point that I thought I was losing my mind. But at the same time there have been some changes in my life, and I would love to share them with you.

1. Remember last September I talked about another surgery? It happened last December and it went very well. My body has healed well and my soul is healing, too.

2. I am not a freelancer any more. I already wrote once that I became a part of staff in two agencies. Since then the situation has changed even more, and I feel it is a very good change. Now I manage Translators' school in LinguaContact translation company. If you are interested to know more about it, here is our website. As you can see, not all of it is in English (yet). We are paying more attention to the Russian courses right now and offering the following options:
- Basic course for startup translators;
- Theory and Practice of Legal Translation (taught by an experienced legal translator);
- Medical Basics for translators (we are very lucky to work with a trainer who is both a doctor and a translator, and our students love the course!);
- Editing Technical Translation (taught by our staff editor. I used to think I was a good editor until I listened to the first webinar in this course. Inna is brilliant! I want to be like her!)

We are working on widening the scope of the courses and starting the training for the English-speaking colleagues, too! We do see some voids in what is offered right now as CPD for translators and interpreters, so there's definitely room for one more translator school online. :-)

3. Since I am not a freelancer any more and since Translators' school now takes all my time, I have to admit, I had thoughts to close this blog. But I see people subscribing to it every week and commenting about different posts, and it inspires me and shows that this blog turned into something useful. And that's awesome. I didn't even dream about it when I started it 5 years ago. So I am going to keep this blog, and I am going to update it as regularly as possible, sharing about freelancing and my work for Translators' school, and about translation, too, since I am still a translator. The only difference now is that I freelance part-time. But I still do. I think that after several years, freelancing has become a part of my nature, so it's next to impossible to completely stop doing it. Blogging was also one of the parts of my life as a freelancer, and I missed it so much! I revived my Russian blog a few months ago, and I will be very happy to revive this blog, too.

So what kind of posts would you like to see here? I'll be looking forward to your comments!