Find out what it means to me
I have a lot of translation work to do.
It’s Easter today and my kids are home, not at school. After hours of playing on their Ipad, they are getting bored and suddenly feel that I should become their personal entertainer.
A Little Respect (Just a Little Bit)
Many people complain that the work of a translator is not recognised or valued by clients and the labour market, and that we are increasingly underestimated mainly when it comes to values. However, we barely realise that it is equally important to educate those who spend the most time with us i.e our family.
When doing translation work, let’s agree that no one deserves to hear from relatives things like “But you do not work!” Or “You simply stay on your computer all day!”. Not to mention having to deal with gatherings of all sorts, whenever it seems that everyone has decided to meet and share party dips and you have a very tight deadline. And you have to fence the occasional “When will you stop what you’re doing and have some fun for once? This can wait” Or even worse – ”When will you get a real job?”. Well, here are some tips for you to impose your chosen profession and get rid of those unpleasant questions.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the Concept
Do people know and/or realise what you do when you do translation work? If not, explain it to them. You are a translator, not a language teacher, a walking dictionary or a living grammar book, for crying out loud. You may be a language specialist, but it is important to make people understand what you translate, and while translation – didactic and linguistic – may complement each other, they are different activities that require different skills.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T for your translation work
People who live with you need to understand that your home is your place of work. If you have decided to turn one of the bedrooms of your house into a home-office, please state that there must be silence during a certain period of the day, with as few interruptions as possible. If necessary, customise a beautiful “I’m working” sign and hang it on your now-office door. For the worst case scenarios, go for a “Do not disturb” sign and work happily in your little corner.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the fruit of your work
As a translator and a freelancer, you are a provider for your family. Don’t think otherwise or let people think otherwise. So when your favourite aunty wants to share a nostalgic moment with you, or just chat, show them that your translation work is a money tree in your household. Whenever or wherever you practise, you need to work to pay off your debts. Combine to interact with them at lunchtime, tea at five o’clock, or any other appropriate time, but not during work hours.
Translation work – Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
As translators, we face a daily struggle to win new clients, gain values that match our efforts, stand out in the midst of the job market, be recognised as a serious category (not just as a “complementary” profession) and to impose a set of limits that determine our professional well-being. So my advice is this – If you cannot organise a work-at-home routine, you will not have the necessary structure to process these activities.
Imposing limits is a necessity. Other people might know little of our profession, and it is up to us to establish certain parameters. Just as you had to remind this nice customer of yours who called you two or three times during the night that your time zone is different from theirs, you should teach whoever shares the same roof with you that there are working hours in your business.
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)
So kids, whether you’re home or coming back from school, after I have taken care of your tea, no loud music, no unnecessary interruptions, no sudden intrusions.
I’m working. OK?
After all, Aretha taught us: Respect is needed.