Skip to main content

Has it ever happened to YOU? I sure hope it never happens to me again :(

I just had to post this picture here, initially shared on Translators Do It Better page on Facebook

I still remember what happened that day in March and that overwhelming feeling of shame... Awful. Why did that happen? It was all my fault. I knew I couldn't give my 100% to work because I was sick, but I still agreed to do it because I really, really missed translating. Money wasn't the issue. I just wanted to work.
I thought I did a good job, sent the file to the project manager, and felt very good about myself because I was able to work in spite of the fever... 

The next day I got my file back from the editor. That pretty small text had 3 serious mistakes, plus a couple less serious ones... Imagine my shame....

The worst thing is I know all about saying "no". I've written some pretty wise and popular posts about it, like this one, or this one. Yet sometimes the desire to work is so tempting that I can't help it. And then I reap the consequences. :( Good thing it doesn't happen often. Hope it never happens again. Hope I finally learned my lesson. That's why I am posting it here. I want to remember it for the rest of my life.

So far, since the experience is still pretty fresh it's easy to remember about my limits and say "no" to projects or redirect them to other colleagues. In fact, I refused a project today because it's my daughter's birthday on Saturday and I've been busy with preparations for the party. Of course I felt tempted to do that file because it was very interesting. But I am actually feeling relieved now, because I can sleep at night and do the necessary preparations during the day and work on a couple other projects with more generous deadlines.

Have you ever broken your own rules if you got a really tempting project? Did you do a good job? If not, did you learn the lesson once and for all or do you sometimes repeat your mistakes?


  1. Hi Olga, yes something similar happened to me once. I was a working uni student and decided to take a pause from freelancing so to sit my exams. But then a call arrived. I accepted because it was a big agency then realised time was against me. I had to beg a colleague to take it. He was really busy, but accepted. Worst part? Talk to the agency. Horrible, unprofessional, I called it a 'suicide', now I think it was 'lack of professional knowledge'. But those feelings...fear, anxiety and discomfort...they are still alive. I think it's the price we pay for being our own bosses. :)

    1. Hi Sara! Wow, it happened to you ONCE! You are truly a wise person. Saying "no" is my big problem, especially when a project is extremely interesting, or not very hard and well-paid, or, on the other hand, when it is challenging and I want to do it just to prove that I can... Working hard on that part of my character. Professionalism and gambling with your skills don't go together very well.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Clients vs translators: how do we show that we're honest?

This is a personal post, and I'd really like to hear the opinion of my colleagues about such situations and how to deal with them. My situation is kind of like the one described in Mox's blog . In December a new prospective client wrote to me asking about my availabiility for a new project. When I read the overall description of the project, I got really interested in it. But the client needed to know exactly how much time it would take and how much it would cost. No problem, just send me the text to look through or a part of it so I could get the gist of the style, level of complexity etc. In the reply that person just stated the wordcount, but there was no sample. I thought, maybe they didn't understand me. English is not my native language after all. In my reply, I stated the estimated time and cost based on the client's wordcount, but I repeated the request to see a part of the text. And then the person thanked me and ... disappeared.

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.

So you are a busy freelancer. How to keep your blog alive?

I decided to write this post thanks to my dear Twitter friend and colleague Sarai Pahla who mentioned once on Twitter that she honestly wonders how I find time for blogging regularly. Well, I am about to share my secret with you now. I am also going to share a couple tricks that help other blogging translators. Interested? Then read further.