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Showing posts from March, 2011

Too much work? - Relax!

I guess there's no need to say that we, freelancers, need to learn to relax. Being a workaholic won't do us any good. On the contrary, it will quickly lead to the burnout. Are you sure you want to feel exhausted all the time? Do you really want to hate life from the moment you wake up? Do you rejoice when you lose the interest in things you used to love? I hope not! That's why we need to relax. Yes, sometimes it means saying 'no' to a tempting project when it's over our capacity (there are other ways to cope with it though, like working on it together with a colleague for instance etc.), but in the end our health is what matters more than money. My father used to say, "If you love your work that's good. But if you work too much, at some point you will realize that you are working only to cover your medical expenses". He knew what he was talking about because he had three kids to raise in the 1990-s (it was a "fun" time here with no food…

Respect your clients!

One of my good clients sometimes asks me to hold interviews for their prospective employees to assess their language skills. That's only natural since my client wants to be sure they hire the right people who can work with English speakers. Today there was an interview with a person who applied for a position of a telephone interpreter. Another person from the client's company was present there to be sure both of us provide an objective report. Well, we were shocked. From the very beginning, this person behaved as if HE was hiring us. He even said once something like 'I decided to test my language skills, so I am holding this interview...' That's when I had to remind him that it was the company's owner who made the decision about the interview. Anyway, I learned some good lessons today about how NOT to behave with your clients or prospective employers. After all, they do have a lot in common since they both hire other people to do the work.

So, here are my tips…

Heading towards more balance in my life and work

My blogging experience started with a post about my typical day. I am still not sure anyone read it besides me ;) (note from 2013: that post is now removed) I now realize how hectic my life then was, and all because I thought I could be both a full-time ESL teacher and a translator. I can't, and I'm glad I finally realized it last year. That's when I reevaluated my work and made a choice to give up teaching through Skype with a company I used to cooperate with and choose translation as my primary work. There were many reasons for that. This year I took only 2 students who could come to my place to study and I am glad I made this change. I feel not as tired and overwhelmed this year, and I am thinking about adding a couple Skype students next year, we'll see.

But that alone wasn't enough to bring my life to a balance. This week I came across another great blog about/for freelancers. I loved the post there called "Living a Balanced Freelance Life". Since I…

International Women's Day

Dear ladies all over the world, please receive my best wishes for International Women's Day! Hope you have a fabulous day today!

This is one of my favourite March 8th old post cards. I remember we had several of them, and lots of post cards of other kinds, but I loved this one. I was inspired to share it by this post of another friend of mine. Zhenya is a very special person, a wonderful ESL instructor, and a good friend.
Speaking about March 8th, this holiday didn't originally start as one. It was just a demonstration for the rights of working women. It was suggested by Clara Zetkin, a famous socialist. The first demonstrations marking this day in Russia turned into the first stage of revolution of 1917.
Up until 1965 March 8th was a holiday, but it wasn't a day off (just like February 23rd). Now it's not just a holiday, but an official day off, and it's a great chance for families to get together and have a great time! Women of all ages, from young girls to grannie…

Do you like pancakes?

You're probably asking, "Now, what does THAT have to do with translation and/or language teaching? Well, that has a lot to do with Russian culture, and teaching about culture is an inseparable part of any language teaching. So if you would like to know a little bit more about our culture, this post is for you.

Pancake Week, or Maslenitsa, is here now. It's one of the most popular traditions here that dates way back to pagan times. Then it was a sun festival celebrating the end of winter. Later on, when Russia became Christian, this tradition got a different meaning since it's the last week before Great Lent. During this week Orthodox believers aren't allowed to eat meat, but they are supposed to eat a lot of dairy products since they won't be allowed to have anything like that till Easter. That's why this week is sometimes called Cheese Week, or Butter Week. During Lent any festivities are also forbidden, so it's the last chance for people to participat…