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Season's greetings

Dear readers! Isn't it amazing how time flies? I think it's my third time sending to you my best wishes and I am so happy to do it!  Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate! I wish you lots of joy, smiles, laughter, blessings and precious moments that you will never forget! May 2013 be even better for you than 2012.
Olga

Dear translation buyers, what results are you expecting from your translation project?

This post is meant for those people and businesses that need translation services.
Before you hire a translator, please first think about your priorities concerning the translation project. What's most important for you? Often people ask for these three things: high speed, low rate and premium quality. But is it possible to get all three of them at once? Let's have a look at all these points and then you decide what's more important for you, ok?

The worst freelancer's nightmare is staring at an empty screen when your system has crashed... Useful links - all about data backup

I obviously caught some very mean malware while doing a research for a project, so I had to completely restore the system. Luckily, I have a habit to always backup my files, so I didn't lose any of my business stuff. But I do feel very sad that I didn't backup my pictures and some other personal files. So I thought I'd make a list of useful software that can help me and you to keep your data safe.
I thought I'd mention 5-6 most used programs, but as I began researching the subject I suddenly found out there are so many great options! So even though my list is not huge, some links contain a wealth of highly useful information.

Learning a Foreign Language - Make it an Exciting Adventure for Your Child

You should be proud that your child is making an attempt to learn a foreign language, as this is a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Don't worry if you do not know the language yourself; you can still play an important part in the child's learning process. It can even be a great opportunity for you to learn as well.

Break the learning down into three main areas: oral, written and verbal. At each stage, there are many useful things you can do to expose them to the new language and help them get a quicker grasp. Let's check out each of these below:

The luxury of knowing certain languages or why investing in the languages you already know is your best bet

You think speaking Italian is chic. Of course you do! I do too!
But just for the record: For me vino and latte are NOT trendy words that I have incorporated into my vocabulary. They are plain items on my shopping list (I’ve always wanted to say this!!!).

Famous Russian translators

Translation played a huge part in Russian history. It all started in 864 AD when the two Byzantine Greek brothers Cyril and Methodius were sent as Christian missionaries to the Slavs. They were the authors of Cyrillic system that is now considered one of the most used writing systems of the world (this is not my opinion, that's what Wikipedia says). And then they translated the New Testament, the Psalms and some more religious books.  So our nation, our Orthodox church and our mentality now are to a great extent based on what those two brothers did, including their translation work.
Later in history, a lot of famous Russian writers and poets were also brilliant translators. They opened a whole new world of prose and poetry to the Russian people. And I am sure you have heard at least some of these names I am going to share with you today!

How can LinkedIn help you to grow your freelance business?

If you have been following my blog for some time you might remember this post where I talked about my experience in social media. Well, there have been a few changes since then in my social media preferences.

One of the huge changes happened when Jonathan Senior, the head of Sharp End Training, and I decided to create a special group for freelance translators. LinkedIn group. My first reaction to any changes is always panic. I have no clue why. But as a grown-up person and a business owner I understand the value of change and going beyond the limits of my comfort zone. So I did it. I became a manager of our group and you know what? I love it now. I absolutely love it. We now have over 400 members and have some interesting discussions going on. You can see the group profile and enter the group here if you want.

This group also gave me the urge to start exploring the options that LinkedIn gives to its users. I started participating in the discussions not only in my group, but in a coup…

Five ways to make your "famine" periods useful and pleasant

I know freelancers normally hate those times when they have little or no work. Especially if they are just beginning their career. But on the other hand, living constantly in a hectic rhythm isn't good for us. Moreover, those "famine" periods can even be useful for us and our businesses! Let me show you some things that I do when I am not overloaded with work. Maybe this list will give you an idea about things you can do! And if you have something to share, please do!

What has my freelance life taught me about finances?

Financial matters is the hardest part of freelancing for many people. And for me, too. It can be a real nightmare, because your income can change month after month. Hopefully this will be a good change, but there will also be slow periods with almost no work and thus no payment coming in.

I am still learning to manage my finances. The fact that I am a registered individual entrepreneur motivates me to keep the budget and not spend all the money at once (though at times I do feel like spending it all on shoes, makeup and other absolutely necessary things ;)) So here are my financial tips or rather lessons that I've been taught. Please feel free to add yours in comments!

Did you know these facts about translation?

First of all, I'd like to remind you about the contest that we are running at Sharp End Training Russia. A simple tweet or Facebook "like" can make you a winner of our Complete Blogging Toolkit for Translators! It's a wonderful opportunity! The contest will be running until October 20, so don't miss your chance! You can read more here.

For those who are interested in translation and especially for my wonderful colleagues all over the world, I decided to make a list of 10 cool facts about our profession. I am sure you wouldn't mind if we celebrate our profession once again, would you? So here are the facts:

Complete Blogging Translators' Toolkit - your chance to WIN!

Do you remember me talking about interviews with great blogging translators? I said then that they were all a part of our new project. Well, now I am ready to announce that our Complete Blogging Translators' Toolkit is ready! It is a whole set of products including:
1. Full comprehensive online video training in setting up wordpress – the most widely used blogging platform on the web. 2. A parallel training course on what to avoid with wordpress. If you are new to DIY webdesign – The course will show you how to develop a knock out site – straight off the bat and keeping the newbie mistakes at bay. 3. Blogging translator star interviews – 3 x mp3 interviews with BIG HITTING blogging translators who share their blogging experience and useful tips. 
4. A comprehensive pdf manual crammed with cheat sheets, links to blogging resources, shortcuts and time savers
5. 30 days free membership to our blogging translator support group. Every month we meet up online to discuss trends in blogging,…

Work-life balance: my confession

I know I've blogged about it at least a couple times already, but I guess it's time to remind my dear readers and myself that no matter how much you love what you do, you need a balance in your life. Remember this post in Mox's blog called Metamorphosis of a too-busy translator? Have you experienced those times of having so much work that you hardly have time for anything else?
I sure have. In fact, I just came out of this translation feast time when I had to get up at about 4:30 a.m. every day and went to bed around midnight; otherwise my work wasn't going as fast as needed. When I initially agreed to take those projects I thought I negotiated the deadlines pretty well. But later I figured out it was a mistake. So why did I make this mistake?

My belated best wishes to all colleagues for the International Translation Day!

Last weekend we celebrated International Translation Day and I would like to send my best wishes to my colleagues throughout the world! Have you ever thought what would your life be like if you chose some other profession? I definitely can't imagine mine without languages.
I would like to send my very best wishes to all my colleagues. There are some very specific things that I wish to you because I know you love to translate and you want translation to stay in demand for years and years. So here's the list of my wishes to you, dear translators: (actually, I wish the same things to myself, too!)

What do successful freelance translators have in common?

I recently read a wonderful post in Writing Happiness blog called "10 habits of highly successful bloggers" and I thought it would be interesting to find out what successful freelance translators have in common. Also, in the past two weeks I had three interviews with experienced blogging translators, so they also gave me some food for thought. Plus I've been following a few translation blogs and my conclusions are based on what I've learned from them.
But first of all, I need to share my view on success with you, because all of us define this term differently. Some people think that being successful is being in demand. Others think that success is financial security. Yet others think that being successful means being a well-known professional with a spotless reputation.

Would you like to see how some of the Russian mythological characters look like?

On Saturday Delia and I were invited to a very interesting exhibition. There were wax figures of different mythological characters of Russia and other countries. Plus the figures could move and some of them could speak (well, they didn't move the mouth, but we could hear their voice). Both Delia and I loved the exposition and were sorry that there were not so many figures.
And then I thought that you might probably be interested in some of the Russian folklore characters we saw there. The hall of the exhibition was pretty dark and unfortunately my camera refused to take high quality images in this case. But I think you can still get an idea of what all the characters looked like.

Of course there was Baba Yaga:
Kids absolutely loved her.

Then there was Koschei the Immortal. I loved that figure! It was absolutely in tune with my perception of Koschei.

Time for another update about guest posts, business, blogging and more!

Hi everybody! First of all, thank you for reading my blog. I love to see that the number of my subscribers is growing every week. That's so inspiring!
I've got some news for you. I am amazed with the way my work and business are developing. Life is getting more and more interesting and, hopefully, these changes will be good for you, too! So, here are my news:

Translation, transcreation and localization

Today I was asked by a colleague to evaluate a translation that seemed absolutely horrible to the client. As I was reading the translation and the client's remarks, it dawned on me that the client actually needed transcreation, not translation. But since the term "transcreation" is fairly new, not all clients realize that that's what they actually need when they ask for "translation". So would you like to do a little research with me about it? Let's start then :)

Day of Russian Federation State Flag

I almost missed an important holiday last week - the Day of Russian State Flag. The day was established in 1994 and is celebrated on 22 August, but it is a normal working day. Would you like to know more about our flag and its history? I'd love to share some facts with you.

Rates - a sensitive issue

Recently, I've been thinking about the cultural/geographical aspect of rates. I remember my dear Twitter friend Konstantina Drakou also wrote about this issue in her blog post called "Is geography a quality factor?"
I don't know why, but I regularly get messages from European translation agencies proposing me work for 0.02-0.03 EURO per word (how "generous"!) and they get really surprised when I state my actual rates. This is even more surprising for me because those companies find me through proz.com and other translation portals where my rates are clearly stated.
I know that the issue of "competitive rates" is pretty important in this competition between different agencies in order to get more customers. But as a professional, I realize that I don't have to win clients only with my rates. There are far more important aspects to consider:

Guest post - Master's Degrees in Translation

There are obviously numerous different paths that can be followed in order to become a fully qualified translator or interpreter. No one definitive route exists that is considered the standalone, perfect way to forge a career for yourself in the industry. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of working for a translation agency is that I get to meet linguists from all sorts of different backgrounds besides the obvious cultural ones. Many have always operated as freelancers, while others have had careers as translators in the private or public sector or have worked more directly in their specialised field. Some have little more than a bachelor’s degree to their name; others have more qualifications than you can shake a stick at!

One experience that countless translators I come across have benefitted from and speak highly of is completing a master’s degree. Again, master’s graduates I have the pleasure of meeting have done their degree at different stages in their career. Going s…

Top marketing lessons I learned this week

Remember I promised to share useful links? I've been reading cool stuff on marketing recently, so I thought I'd share it with you. Maybe you will find this info useful for your freelance translation business, too :)
So here's the list:

6 reasons why I would recommend other freelancers to start blogging if they aren't doing it yet

After two years of blogging I can definitely say that I love it. Can't imagine my life without it now. And there are some pretty serious reasons why I wouldn't give it up. Would you like to know them? Then read further :)

Guest post - Cool facts about the French language

Hi! This wonderful post was prepared by my dear colleague and friend Jehanne Henin. Jehanne is a native French speaker and a professional translator from Russian, English and Croatian into French specializing in EU affairs, environment, renewable energy and tourism. You can learn more about her if you visit her website. Jehanne is also an active Twitterer, so I am sure she will be happy to see you among her Twitter followers. You can find her Twitter profile here. So here are some great facts about the French language that Jehanne prepared for you:

Two important announcements for freelance translators

I have two very important announcements for you! Hope you find both of them useful.

1) I thought I already shared it, but I apparently forgot to post the info in my blogs :( Please forgive me! I am correcting this mistake, so here is the first announcement:
Remember me talking about Joy Mo's book and then webinar? Well, if you couldn't attend the live event, you can now watch the webinar replay! You can follow the link and buy the recording. We got some wonderful reviews from the translators who attended the webinar, and I found it very useful, too. I really liked the fact that the webinar was literally packed with useful information and ideas for translators. Besides, though event went a little longer than planned everybody stayed till the end! That also proves that the webinar was extremely useful for translators.

2) The second announcement is very important for all those who would like touse Twitter to its maximum potential.
Remember my review of commun.it? This post has be…

Fun facts about the German language from the point of view of a Russian :)

1. Each year around 15-18 million people start studying German.
2. The very first book in the world was printed in German. It happened in 1455, and the book was the Bible. Now every 10th book published in the world is in German.
3. German is famous for its long words. According to German Wikipedia and the Guinness World Records book, the longest word in the German language is Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft. The English translation is Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services (Read more here). Here's the Russian equivalent: Общество служащих младшего звена органа по надзору за строительством при главном управлении электрического обслуживания дунайского пароходства. As Mark Twain once said, "Some German words are so long that they have a perspective!" :)

Euro 2012 - dictionaries and glossaries of football terms

Are you watching European Football championship now? I am enjoying a feast period in my translation business at the moment, but I try my best to watch at least some games. That actually gave me an idea to look for some cool football glossaries and share them with you. Hoping that you will find them useful.

10 interesting facts about the Russian language

In my previous post I promised to follow with the  interesting info about some other languages. So here are 10 facts about the Russian language which might be of interest to those who are studying it. If you would like to have this list in Russian, please contact me and I will send it to you by email. So, what do I find interesting about my native language?

1. Russian has about 500,000 words, but only 2,000-2,500 of them are used frequently. 100 most frequently used words make 20% of all written and oral speech. A high school graduate's vocabulary usually has 1,500 to 4,000 words. Those who have graduated from a higher educational institution normally have a richer vocabulary consisting of approximately 8,000 words.
2. It's compulsory for all astronauts in the international space station to learn Russian, so we can call it an international language of space :)

Translators - How to avoid FEAST and FAMINE! New webinar!

I am so very excited to share the news about this webinar. I am sure it will be very useful for both new and experienced freelance translators. Joy has a lot to share!

We are going to explore the vital issues for all freelance translators:

Feast and famine cycle - is it really the norm?Not having enough work and having too much workHaving trouble finding high paying clientsHaving unreliable freelance income
You can sign up for the event FREE if you click here

The event will take place on Tuesday, June 12th. You can learn more about it here.

I hope to see you at the webinar!

15 interesting facts about the English language

I prepared this list for one of my English classes. And then it dawned on me that I can share it with you, too! So here are 15 facts about the English language that I find very interesting. Hope you do, too ;)
Rudyard Kipling was fired as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. His dismissal letter said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers."No language has more synonyms than English.

Vladimir in late spring: let's take a walk in the Patriarch's garden :)

Happy Saturday everybody! Are you enjoying your weekend?
This post is absolutely off the topic of translation. Last weekend my mother, my daughter Delia and I went to our favourite park in the city. Vladimir is beautiful in late spring, and this park is so very special!
It is called "Patriarch's garden" (Патриарший сад). It has been known since the 16th century. Some legends say that it has existed since the days of Pince Andrey Bogolyubsky (12th century), but there's not enough evidence of that. In the 16th century a cherry orchard was planted here and the Russian Orthodox elite came here to enjoy the cherries and the beautiful views that the park offered. It was especially popular in the 19th century.
Unfortunately, after the revolution of 1917 the park was virtually destroyed. In 1948, after the war it was renamed into the "Garden of 16 republics" (Сад 16 республик). School children helped the adults to take care of it. They planted the trees again, but…

Some lessons I learned after I started subcontracting work

It has been about 6 months since I started subcontracting work to other freelancers. So it's about time to make some conclusions and share my lessons.
I'd also like to hear from you if you have experience working with subcontractors.


Networking on Twitter can really be smarter - with Commun.it

When I first heard about Commun.it I didn't believe all the good things that I was told about it. But now, after I've been using it for a couple months, I can definitely say that it is a useful tool.


First of all, let's look at Commun.it website. It says that this service:
1) helps you have meaningful personal relationships that help you achieve your business goals;
2) helps you focus on your highest level relationships. It helps you define your influencers and see who supports you.
3) helps you to be productive without adding extra stress. It's not a secret that sometimes social web can feel overwhelming, so Commun.it helps to minimize stress and gain the necessary control over your network.

Social media marketing - 3 major mistakes and 3 solutions

Sometimes learning to use social media feels like wandering in the deep forest. Have you ever felt that way?
No wonder that you can make a ton of mistakes in the process. I have made quite a few, that’s why I want to talk about it today. I am also inviting you to participate in the discussion, share some mistakes you've noticed and possibly ways to avoid those mistakes.
1. No interaction.
Social networks were made for interaction. That's why they are called "social". Social media marketing is not like posting an ad in a newspaper. Solution: The first thing you need to do after creating your own profile is finding people who you would like to connect with. Read carefully what they post, ask questions, share your comments. When you get fans/followers/people who add you to their circles you also need to interact with them. The resources you share may be very useful, but interaction builds a personal bond between you and your audience. That bond is priceless. It can bri…

Feast and famine cycle - is it possible to break it? Book review

I just finished reading a great book written by Joy Mo called "Say Goodbye to Feast-or-Famine". Here's how it looks:

Isn't cross-cultural cooperation a bit like cross-cultural marriage?

I've been thinking about this issue for a long time. As you may already know, I am Russian (partly Ukrainian) and I have a Western/American mentality to some extent due to the years spent among American and European missionaries. Well, in 1998 I met a man in my church who always looked at me as if I was his worst enemy. I was even a little bit afraid of him. After some time we kind of started communicating since he became a student in our Bible College and I was interpreting there. That's when I found out that he was just a very shy person and that I totally misinterpreted his look. And I loved his accent :) We got married in 2001. That's my husband Albert and our daughter Delia (the picture was taken a couple years ago at a dinosaur exhibition).

Saying "no" to a project and to a client - three reasons

After my first webinar recording, I started thinking more about freelancer-client relationship and those cases when we should say 'no'. And I came to the conclusion that sometimes we have to say 'no' temporarily, to a project, but sometimes we have to refuse to cooperate with a client forever. I came up with 3 main reasons for each of those cases. So, when do we have to say 'no' to a particular project?



More on Slavic folklore. Koschei the Immortal.

Have you been missing my stories about Slavic folklore characters? We have already talked about Baba Yaga, so now is the turn of another very important character, Koschei the Immortal (Koschei the Deathless), or Кащей (sometimes written as Кощей) Бессмертный.

That's what he looked like:

Work-life balance - 8 lessons I've learned

A few weeks ago my dear Twitter friend Magda Papas (@magdameta) wrote a brilliant post for the Freelance Writing Dreams blog. I loved it and thought that I have to mention it here. Really, being a freelancing parent is a lot harder than some people think. For example, my mother and some of my neighbours think that I can easily fit a whole lot of other things into my day. After all, I just stay at home, right? I remember one morning when I was planning my day and was frantically trying to figure out how to handle at least 6 or 7 things besides work with each of those things requiring quite a bit of time and effort. This is not the first time when that happened in my freelance life. So here are some of the lessons I learned so far.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all my dear readers!  Christ is risen! 

Educational terms: UK, USA and Russia.

Hi! I am back with some useful links for translators! This time our topic is education. As a certified teacher, I certainly love projects that deal with education. But as simple as this field might seem to some people, it is actually pretty tricky when it comes to education systems and terms used in different countries and even parts of some countries. I am going to share links about education in Great Britain, in the USA and in Russia.

Important news for beginning translators!

I've already shared this news on Facebook and Twitter, but I thought that I need to write about it here as well.

A couple months ago I accepted a position of a Russian country leader in the Sharp End Training Company. I love the vision of the company and I think it is a wonderful opportunity for me to do something really useful for my dear colleagues, freelance translators.

Translating about music? Here are some very helpful resources!

For about a year I worked with a Russian music website translating posts about modern music and how musicians market themselves. That included social media (how musicians use social media, tips for other artists, most popular platforms etc.), news in the music world, life of well-known singers/groups etc. Our cooperation recently ended, but I am very thankful that I had this opportunity. While doing all those translations, I made a note of several resources that can be used as a reference for other translators. Here they are:

Russian folklore characters - Baba Yaga

A couple days ago I went to a party in my daughter’s kindergarten dedicated to Women’s Day. And there, the kids even went into a deep forest to congratulate Baba Yaga. And they found out that she is not as evil as fairytales tell us. She may have a bad temper, but after all, she is a woman, too. ;)
That gave me an idea to write a blog post about some feminine characters in Russian mythology. And guess who will be the first one I mention? Baba Yaga Here are some pictures of this well-known character: