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Showing posts from 2010

New Year Resolutions

I am so sorry I didn't send my best wishes for Christmas to the readers of my blog! Please forgive me!!!!! Since most of you also read my FB page I congratulated everybody there, but I still feel guilty. =( My only excuse is that in Russia we celebrate Christmas on January 7th. So my Christmas post is still to follow! ;-)


We are rapidly approaching the New Year. It's amazing how time seems to fly faster and faster as it gets closer to December 31st. New Year is a big holiday here. Everybody has their own family traditions on this day. Some traditional foods include the Russian salad, tangerines and red caviar. Kids are looking forward to Father Frost (Russian version of Santa Claus) to bring them presents. It's a special holiday for many children because on December 31st they get to stay up late, like grown-ups! My daughter loves that, and she always wants to see how Father Frost puts her presents under the Christmas tree exactly at midnight, but he somehow managers to esca…

Free-lance.ru and ProZ.com

Sorry I've been kind of silent recently. Last week was really busy. Now I'm more or less free and looking for new projects. So far my season specials have brought some new clients to me. I do hope we'll have a chance to cooperate again =)

Meanwhile, since I've had some spare time, I decided to work on my portfolio. Right now I'm updating the one on free-lance.ru (the biggest Russian portal for freelancers in different fields). Have been working on it all weekend and almost all day yesterday. It looks somewhat prettier, but definitely needs more work. After I'm done with it, I'll need to update the one on ProZ.com. These are two major translation portals where I find work (or where the work finds me), so I need to keep my prospective and existing clients up to date about my experience and projects I've done recently. What I like about free-lance.ru is that it allows me not just to enter text, but to attach screen shots with samples and logos. That's r…

My marketing efforts

Sorry I've been silent for so long! I've been really rather swamped in work lately, so yesterday was my first day free of translation. I'm thankful for the break. These past few weeks have been very busy and extremely stressful for me. I needed a break and I am enjoying one now. A couple more days, and I'll feel as good as new =)


Meanwhile, I decided to read some translation blogs (always happy to learn something new). A few days ago one of my favourite bloggers and translators finally reappeared after several months of silence. And she wrote about marketing for translators. Freelancers greatly depend on their marketing efforts, so they always have to think about new ways to make themselves known to their prospective clients as well as other professionals. Celine, the author of that blog, shares that her best marketing instruments are her website, personal networking and professional networking.
As I was reading her blog post, I started thinking about my own marketing s…

National Unity Day

Today is the National Unity Day in Russia. I've always thought that it's a very young holiday as I remember it being celebrated since 2005 only. But according to Wikipedia this holiday was widely celebrated in Russia until 1917.
So, what's the reason for it? It's pretty important, because on this day in 1612 both Russian peasants and the nobility united in order to free their country from Polish and Lithuanian invaders. If that hadn't happened, the territory of our country would probably be divided between Poland and Lithuania now... As much as I respect people from both of those countries, I'd rather stay Russian =) Now the sad part comes: in 1917 this holiday was replaced with the Day of October Revolution (November 7). As a child I remember watching big demonstrations on TV on this day. I was proud of my country, of the Soviet Union... Little did I know that one day it will collapse like a paper house in the wind because the mere existance of that country wa…

A funny sad story...

I've been hearing a lot about pluses and minuses of machine translation lately. I had some discussions with a person who strongly believes in machine translation and its quality. I also met some other people who honestly believe that professional translators think too highly of themselves and their skills while in reality it's a simple job that can easily be done with the help of some software. Then last week I came across an article about a recent scandal in the Web connected with machine translation. Guess which organization tried to use it to translate its website? You won't believe it. It was Russian Academy of Sciences. Nobody knows how it happened that this institution chose to use machine translation (or hired a "professional" who used it). The result of this "work" was instantly noticed by bloggers all over the web.Some pearls include: the Squirrel Institute (instead of Institute of Protein Research), Botanic sad-institute of wounds (it should be…

International Translator's Day

Yesterday, on September 30th, we celebrated International Translator's Day. I am glad there's a holiday like that because it tells me that what I and my colleagues do ISimportant and valuable.
A little about the history of the holiday: Actually it's the day of Saint Jerome's death. That's how this awesome man of God looked like:

He was the one who translated the Holy bible into Latin and the one who is considered to be the patron saint of all translators and interpreters. He is also one of the Church Fathers. He wrote a great number of texts on theology, commentaries to the Holy Scripture, and he was an excellent translator who was not just concerned about the practical side of this job, but reflected on the theory of translation. He discussed the issue of the "right" or "adequate" translation, reflected on the usage of literal translations and comparative translations. Saint Jerome traveled a lot and finally decided to stay in Bethlehem where he w…

Learning the language of love - useful links for learning French

I always wanted to learn French. I think this desire appeared when I was still a teenager. Why? Because I like the way it sounds, because it's a romantic language, and besides I had a goal to learn to speak English, German and French. When I got married my husband and I led a home group where we had two young people whose mother tongue was French. It was funny how much I could understand because I already spoke English and German. Listening to them talking to each other made me crazy, I wanted to be able to understand everything and to speak it just as fluently as they did!

So when my daughter was 8 months old my journey started. I decided to study French by myself using the Internet. And I found lots of really good resources there!

So, here are some quite useful links that have helped me and hopefully will be useful to you if you decide to learn this increadibly beautiful language: FrancaisFacile.com - an absolutely fabulous website with tests and tons of excercises on various topi…

Time to recommend something useful to read =)

I often recommend blogs and websites that I think are useful for translators. This week I'm sharing a new blog post from Thoughts on translation blog. Corinne McKay talks about large and small projects there and tells about her preferances. It made me think about the same issue. When I just started my blog I shared in one of my first posts that I prefer longer projects. Well, since then my opinion has changed a bit. I still like longer assignments, but like Corinne McKay I've also noticed that it's harder to maintain consistency of terminology, and besides when a project is not exactly interesting I just have to make myself work on it every day and I feel so much relief when I'm done. At the same time I am learning to value short projects. For translators who have many regular clients it's the best choice I guess. I personally prefer projects starting with 2,000 words and up to about 7,000 words. Of course it's not a problem if a project is smaller or larger. B…

My mini-vacation and something worth reading

Finally the weather here starts settling down to normal for this time of year - it's rainy and chilly. It made me suddenly realize I've worked all summer long and haven't had a vacation. So I decided to take several days, possibly a week, off after I finish the project I'm working on right now. I'm not going anywhere, just going to relax and be with my daughter during her last week before she starts kindergarten again in September.
Meanwhile, I have found something very interesting for me and hopefully for some others. It's one of the recent posts on Freelance Folder website called "Our Top 10 Resources For Getting New Clients". They are basically giving an overview of the articles they've written on this subject. That's what I'm going to study while I take a break from work. Probably. If I choose to. Or I might just relax and stop thinking about my job for 1 week, and then continue my learning and working process. Good luck to everybody who…

Recent events + some blogs I recommend

Wow, I can't believe it's almost September already. September has always been a very special month for me: its the start of a new academic year in Russia, so besides New Year resolutions I often make September resolutions. This past month has been full of events. That's what I love about life most of all: it is full of surprises, and even if you have lived a hundred years you can't say you know it completely, because everything can change in a blink of an eye.

I have met several new good clients and I hope our collaboration will be long-lasting and very, very fruitful. I was very glad to get messages and new projects from my "old" clients. Some have even found me in FB, and I am so glad they did!
This past week has been particularly busy, full of big decisions and therefore intense emotions. I am also continuing the process of learning more, because this is one of the keys to becoming and staying an excellent professional.
Those are some of the blogs I regularly …

Too good signs =)

Several days ago I got a sign that I've been moving in the right direction with my translation business, and that providing additional value besides just translation itself IS important. A couple weeks ago I got a project through one of my favourite translation agencies from a client who turned out to be ... hm... not very organized. So after I did the translation I had to make amends to the text and translate little additions to it, plus check the graphic files several times making sure that the client didn't make mistakes after my part was done. I was fine with that because it was a very special project and I really wanted everything to be perfect. It was a great pleasure when I opened another message from the project manager and saw that he was thanking me for being "so service oriented". Those words gave me a lot of joy. I can see that my plan is working and I am gradually becoming one of the best translators in my spheres of expertise. Why? Because I think real …

Reevaluation of my goals

Having trouble with my router and sitting home without Internet for 2 days really made me realize I miss writing in my blog! It’s been awfully hot here, so I was very thankful for an opportunity to spend three days outside by a lake with my fam. I still worked some, but not half as much as I usually do. And then, when we returned home on the third day, we found out that our router apparently suffered a heat stroke :-(
However, it gave me time to reevaluate some of the things that I've been doing, including blogging. I realized that I never shared my goals with you.

WHY did I start blogging? – Well, as you know, I’ve been working as a freelance translator since March 2007. At the beginning, when I was leaving my job (I loved it by the way! But I realized that I needed to make a change for the sake of my family) other translators in the company weren’t optimistic about the career I chose. They thought freelancing would be absolutely a waste of my time, energy and money. So I made a g…

Some truly interesting and useful links for translators for translators

Last week I kept "bumping" into really useful and interesting stuff. I wonder how that happens? Sometimes I'm looking and looking and can't find what I need, and sometimes I do NOTHING and those great blog entries and posts seem to be looking for me by themselves!
I am very grateful to my more experienced colleagues who have published these articles: The difference between localization and SEO translation - I believe that translation is one of the spheres where we as professionals can never say, "I know enough, so I don't need to learn any more". This is so wrong! Our world is changing so fast that there are new types of freelance work that appear every day, and our profession is becoming more and more complex. There are new specializations and fields of expertise that appear every day. The importance of localization and SEO translation is growing very fast, and it's been tough for many translators and clients to tell the difference between the two. T…

Stress and freelancing - can those two things be separated?

How to overcome Freelancing Stress
I love this article! It's true, freelancing can be stressful, and, just like the author says, I've come to the conclusion that it's often ME who's making my life more stressful than it should be. How so? Well, by forgetting to plan my workload, my budget, by lack of marketing skills etc. On the other hand, stress is an inseparable part of life of almost everybody. What do you do to minimize the stress level in your life?

Russia Day

Today is June 12th, one of the newest holidays here - the Day of Russia (or Russia Day). Even though it's a national holiday, it's not as widely celebrated as other holidays, because it's relatively new and because the reason for picking this date and the origin of the holiday itself is not quite clear for most ordinary Russians.

That's why I decided to make a little investigation concerning the history of the holiday. And that's what I found out:

The holiday dates back to 1990, when on June 12th the Russian parliament officially declared the sovereignty of Russia. That was a tough time for our country, the time when former Soviet republics were declaring there independence and did not want to do anything with Russia. So that was the day when our parliament oficially adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. That's the beginning of modern Russia with its emphasis on civil rights and democracy (supposedly i…

Saying "no" to a project - delicious link!

Brave New Words: Saying No Now -- and Forever?

This is an excellent article for us, translators. It teaches how to say "no" to a client and not lose him/her. As a freelancer, sometimes I have a lot of projects (usually I'm doing fine as soon as there are no more than 3 of them going on simultaneously), and sometimes there are scarcely any or no projects at all! So, like many other translators I prefer to take more assignments from my clients when they have them. I pay special attention to quality of my work no matter how many translation assignments I am doing at once, but I tend to get really stressed and overworked. So saying "no" to a project without saying "no" to a client for ever is something I've been learning for over 3 years now. I planned to touch upon this subject in one of my next articles, but I found this excellent blog entry that sums up everything! So enjoy! Hope it is useful to you, too!

Some delicious links for ESL teachers

As you know, I am also a certified ESL teacher. I love teaching children and adults. It gives me great pleasure to see their progress and to realise that I took part in their growth. And in October 2009 I started something completely new for me - teaching English through Skype. It's a totally new experience as I have to use some totally different methods in order to organize an effective teaching process.
Since I started teaching English through Skype I found some excellent links for both adults and kids. So I decided to share those resources with you and if you know of other interesting links I'd appreciate it if you shared them with me ;)
So here are the best links:
http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games.htm - site for kids with different ESL games, stories, songs etc.
http://www.kiddierecords.com/2006/index.htm - lots of audio-books for children
http://www.anglomaniacy.pl/ - another great website for children, mainly with basic level of English
http://bogglesworldesl.com/kids_…

Victory Day

It's May 7th today, and it's the last working day this week. In two days we are going to celebrate Victory Day. I don't know of any family here that was left untouched by the World War II. Neither was my family. I am deeply grateful to both of my grandfathers and my grandmother who took part in the war. I am who I am also because of who they were and how they lived.

I know there have been many wars. But this war is different because it ended only 65 years ago and touched so many lives. It teaches me to value human life, our different views and our independence. It teaches to be kind, patient to one another and not to lose humanness even under terrible circumstances. And it also teaches that, no matter how awful the relations between different countries are, a war is always the worst way out. Because it's just not the right way to solve problems in economical or political life (or even ideology)...



This post is not about translation. It's just my way of saying thank y…

How do we make sure we get paid for our work

First of all, I would like to say that it is my own opinion based on my own experience. There can be more or less Internet fraud depending on the country you are from, our language pairs and your profficiency level. Well, in the former Soviet Union there are quite a few people specialising in this shameful business. They like getting professional services for free. I met another person like that just a couple days ago, but thank God I had enough experience already and immediately saw that something was wrong in the way that person communicated with me. He contacted me on one of Russian translation portals, so I wrote to other translators there and asked if he had contacted them, too, and, in case he had, if they got the same test assignment. As soon as we found out that each of us got different pieces of one big project as a test translation, his intentions became clear. This person is now banned on that portal, hopefully for good. But I have quite a few friends who are just thinking …

Why I don't think that lack of regular translation assignments is a disadvantage

When I wrote about advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer, I got a comment that one of the disadvantages is also lack of regular work, i.e. lack of regular income. I promised to think about it and now I am ready to share my opinion on this issue. May be I am wrong, who knows.
I think that not having regular translation assignments is NOT a disadvantage. Why? Well, let me share my reasons:
It helps me to stay active in my marketing efforts. I am constantly learning of new ways to promote my services and do my best to use them. One day I might make a very good marketing strategist =)It helps me to never stop growing professionally. Some time ago I came across the words of a very experienced translator "you are only as good as your last project". This is so true. Being a translator, I am learning to be as detailed-oriented as possible and double check everything, including things I think I know very well. Freelance work is not for those who think too highly of themselv…

Number of words translated - is it important?

I've recently come across quite a few translators' profiles and websites where they share approximately how many words they have translated in the previous year. I understand why they do that - the number should show to the prospective clients that they've really been active and working. Thus, they show that they are in demand. However I think the number of words isn't that important and if I were a client I'd rather look at their areas of expertise and portfolio to make sure I choose the right professional.

Do you think counting the number of words is important? Does it influence your rating or how often you get new clients?

Recent discussion on ProZ

I'm talking about the discussion at http://www.proz.com/forum/russian/158030-Движения_на_рынке_переводов.html
The discussion was about recent tendencies in the translation market: More and more direct clients and translation agencies insist that translators should lower their rates for translation. Many prefer to seek translators in the former USSR territory because the cost of life is cheeper there and because there's a huge amount of translators willing to work for prices as low as 0.02 USD per word and less.There are more and more agencies. Many of them have very short life, but still clients prefer to look for agencies than individual translators for reasons which are important for their business. But it is not exactly a great tendency since agencies traditionally suggest lower rates for freelancers and working just for agencies will merely help you and your family survive, but no more than that.There is a clear tendency for not taking quality into consideration. There are…

Advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer

This topic is also based on the article "The case, and the plan, for the virtual company". It really made me think and helped me sum up some of the advantages and disadvantages of my work.

So, advantages:
1 - flexible schedule which allows me (more or less) to spend time with my family, do all the chores and earn money.
2 - I am my own boss: I decide when I work, when I rest, when I take a vacation etc.
3 - a possibility to choose the areas I'll work in (or won't work in) and their wider variety than when I was working inhouse which keeps my brain active (one of the greatest advantages for me!)
4 - more money

Disadvantages:
1 - it's hard for family members to understand that if I'm at home it doesn't mean I have nothing to do (but it gets better with time usually)
2 - I have to take care of all the tax issues by myself (that's the biggest disadvantage for me because I hate to spend my free time on calculating my earnings, taxes and all that stuff. But on the…

Why I like working virtually

I've got some friends who are also linguists and who have worked as inhouse translators for a long time like me. They are considering going virtual, but at the same time afraid of the change. So I'm thinking now about an article (or series of articles) about the life of a freelancer, its advantages and drawbacks and what a person can do to get astablished as a freelance translator.

The first thing I am thinking about is advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer. A couple days ago I came across an interesting article exactly on this subject. Here's the link to it: The case, and the plan, for the virtual company

I really like this article. The only thing I can't agree with is that when you are working from home your life becomes less dynamic. For some reason my life has become a lot more dynamic when I started working from home! Very often I feel sorry that there are only 24 hours in a day =) It would be so much better if there were at least a couple hours more!
On…