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Organization is key – part 2 October 2, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
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I talked about keeping your workspace clean and organized earlier this week. Now it’s time to talk about electronic clutter. It is important to have a clean and organized workspace, but it is even more important (if not crucial) to keep your computer organized. If you aren’t organized you won’t be able to find your files quickly, which can lead to a lot of frustration. It is so important to have a well thought out system for your files and to keep your previous translations archived and TMs (translation memories) together in a central location so that you can quickly locate them if needed.

I keep all my active translation files in My Documents and try to be vigilant about moving files from my e-mail program’s Attachment folder to My Documents when I start to work on a job. Once I am finished with the jobs and have sent the invoice, I zip all the files for that job (source, target, Trados .bak file, client’s purchase order, and any reference material) to my Archive folder with the client’s name and one or two key words that best describe the project in case I need to open it later. For example, the two surveys on motor oil I translated last week are saved as client_oil.zip and client_oil2.zip. I then delete the files from My Documents.

I have lots of subfolders in My Documents to store files that I may want or need to access again, such as Finances, My Webs, NOTA, Terminology (glossaries I haven’t yet imported into MultiTerm), and Translation Background (which is filled with client non-disclosure agreements and reference material I will most likely use again). I also have a folder called “Temporary” under My Documents that I use for big jobs with lots of individual files. I vigilantly keep that cleaned out once the job is finished.

I’m not saying everyone should use my system, but it works for me. You should at least have a system that you have thought through that works for you.

In addition to changing the way we find and filter information, the Internet has changed the way we file. Ronni Eisenberg and Kate Kelly, in their book, Organize Your Home Office!, explain that you don’t need to keep as much as we used to because so much is available electronically. “You still need to create a file system, and you still need to keep up with it, but today’s technology is going to let you toss more than ever before,” Eisenberg and Kelly write, “Because new and better information is constantly accessible to us via the Internet, there’s less need to maintain all types of files.”

And I haven’t even started about my electronic calendar on Google, which ensures I don’t forget errands or appointments and get there on time, or my PalmPilot interface, which allows me to keep track of contact information, ToDos, notes, and appointments. I love the Google Calendar, because I can pull it up on any computer that has Internet access. I have been trying to use GooSync, which supposedly syncs the Google Calendar and a PalmPilot, but I can’t seem to get it to work. If anyone can offer any insight or suggest another tool that does this I would be most appreciative!!!

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