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Translator ranked #3 in 10 Best and Real Work at Home Jobs July 30, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation.

Thanks to the Administrator of the German Language Division for pointing this Yahoo Finance article out. Being a translator has made it into a list of the top at-home jobs. You can check out the article here, but for those of you who don’t have time to read the interesting article here’s our relevant portion:

3. Translator

Those with fluency in more than one language translate audio files or documents, not just word for word but often with cultural differences in mind. “Companies can access home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills without being held back by geographic location,” says Fell.

Foster’s site lists 15 companies that seek home-based translators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09, which groups translators and interpreters, notes a projected employment increase of 24 percent over the 2006-to-2016 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The national mean hourly wage for translators and interpreters was $20.74, with a mean annual wage of $43,130 as of May 2008, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some industries pay significantly higher, with the highest paying jobs generally in the management, scientific and technical consulting services areas, in which the mean hourly wage was $56.50 and the annual mean wage was $117,530.

I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to know I earn a little over the mean annual wage while enjoying the convenience of working from home.


What a week it has been, what a rare mood I’m in… July 30, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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This has been one of the craziest weeks I’ve had in a long time – and it is just about to ramp up to absolute craziness! Last Thursday one of my clients asked if I would help translate a huge legal project. The original due date was Monday, but when I discovered that the first file alone contained a little over 5,000 words the client was able to negotiate a longer due date with their client. The final word count for my part alone ended up being 21,529 words. I am putting some final touches on the fourth file before delivering it and calling it a week. I also had one of my oldest clients ask me to translate another legal document in the meantime and was able to get the deadline extended for today as well, hoping I would be able to fit it in. I wasn’t, but I was able to subcontract it to a very capable colleague. I proofread the file and made just a few minor changes and delivered that file last night. I was under a lot of pressure (most of it self-inflicted), because I absolutely need to have everything finished and off my desk today.

The reason I needed to finish today and will not be in the office tomorrow is that I will be walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day in Cleveland starting tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. I am walking in memory of my grandmother, Catherine Galbavy who died of breast cancer while I was still living in Bonn, and in honor of my high school friend Tisha and next-door neighbor Vicki – and all the other women and men in the world who have been or will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I have been training for this since March, and these long walks have really taken a huge chunk out of my days and weekends. But it is a labor of love. I have raised $3215 in donations so far. My donors have been generous and very supportive, and I thank them all very much. It really means a lot to me that you care enough to support me. I dream of a day when breast cancer no longer brings terror to the person hearing the diagnosis. I hope by playing a small role I can ensure that neither of my nieces will ever be diagnosed in their lifetimes.

We will be walking 22 miles on Friday, 21 miles on Saturday and 17 miles on Sunday. We will be sleeping in tents on Friday and Saturday nights, going to bed at 9 p.m. or so and getting up at the crack of dawn. We have been blessed with cooler-than-normal temperatures this summer, and I am sending out all kinds of good thoughts so that it does not rain (rain = wet shoes = blisters = agony)!!! The forecasts are saying it will be in the high 70s and low 80s over the weekend with a 30% chance of rain on Friday and Sunday. Please keep your fingers crossed and Daumen drückt for us!

So please forgive me for not having a TGIF video tomorrow. I will be posting my photos and musings on the Walk when I get back on Sunday – or Monday if I am feeling up to it. I have a two hour massage scheduled for Monday and am looking forward to a bubble bath on Sunday night. I will officially be back in the office on Tuesday.

Ranked 61 in the Top 100 Language Blogs July 30, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Lexiophiles and bab.la have published their Top 100 Language Blogs 2009.  As they explain on their site, “The Top 100 Language Blogs 2009 is the largest language blog competition and is hosted annually by bab.la and Lexiophiles. It is aimed at finding the best blogs related to languages and awarding language-loving bloggers.” Competition was fierce this year. There were 473 nominated blogs from 26 different countries in four different categories. My little blog came in at 61. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. I don’t write this blog for awards and recognition, but it is nice to be appreciated. This blog is a labor of love and a great outlet for my inane ramblings and occasional rants 🙂 I hope you keep reading, and I promise to keep churning out good content and fun videos!

You have to see this to believe it July 27, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.

Oops! I know Americans spelling skillz are gettin wurse, but this takes teh cake. A sign in Wisconsin pointing southbound travelers onto Business Highway 51 in Rothschild and Schofield bears an incorrect spelling for every word except “exit.” You have to see it to believe it. Thanks to @pikorua for pointing this one out.

Ten tips to stay motivated July 27, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

Freelance Folder has a really good post today called “Ten Tips to Stay Motivated – Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like Working. It comes at a really good time for me, because I am drowning in work and it is 80 degrees and sunny out – perfect summer weather if you ask me. I am also just a couple days from walking 60 miles in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. We start at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, so there won’t be a TGIF video this week. I’ve been suffering from lack of motivation for a little while now, which is why there also wasn’t a TGIF video last week. I just forgot in all the translating I’ve been doing. I am working on some legal documents that will probably end up being around 22,000 words once everything is said and done – and I started working on them on Thursday. The due date was today (yeah, right). The most likely date I deliver the files will be Thursday evening. The PM is aware of this and has given her okay. I wish I had read the aforementioned blog post last week. It might have really helped me stay on course. The basic tips are:

  1. Remind yourself of the reason that you freelance.
  2. Make sure that your work environment is comfortable.
  3. Change your work environment.
  4. Schedule breaks.
  5. Plan a reward for yourself.
  6. Alternate projects.
  7. Picture the work already completed.
  8. Have regular routine.
  9. Take care of your health.
  10. Develop a support group.

But I highly recommend reading the whole post for some new ideas.

Word of warning to blogging translators July 22, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Scam alert.

Serena Dorey from Marketing Translation just posted the following on Twitter: “Blogging translators : be aware that this site  [site link deleted] is republishing blog posts in full without the blogger’s permission.” NEVER MIND! DO NOT GO THERE! Thanks to two eagle-eyed readers who noticed their computers became infected with a computer virus. I am so sorry for posting the link here and infecting some of you.

The site is only two days old, but there are already 63 stolen articles posted there without the author’s permission. I did a look-up on Whois.net (http://www.whois.net/whois/masyarakatpenerjemahmalang.com) and discovered that the site has been registered through a privacy protection company called Privacy Protect. Privacy Protect tells me they are not the host. The host is IIXMedia (iixmedia.com).

Contact: +62.2130314615
Website: http://iixmedia.co.id

If anyone else can make any suggestions on how to shut this site down, please let Serena (@serenadorey) or me know.

ProZ.com implements Turn-key Translation Service July 20, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

I can’t get upset about anything ProZ.com does. I am not a paying member, nor do I ever plan on becoming one. I steer clear of Henry D. and the ProZ.com staff and booth at the ATA conference every year (you can tell they are with ProZ.com because they all wear black bow ties and black suits). I can honestly say that I have never respected ProZ. I feel it has driven translation prices into the ground and encouraged a bottom feeder mentality among translators and clients alike. I never understood the point of bidding on jobs, because jobs almost always go to the lowest bidder and not to the most qualified. ProZ.com’s founder Henry is also known for making up lots of rules as he goes (see I’ve got a rule for that). Locking discussions on the forums is another trick the ProZ.com staff is good at.

The latest brouhaha is about its turn-key translation services, in which ProZ.com is functioning as an agency. As they claim, “[t]urn-key translation offers an easy way to get quick translations done via the world’s largest network of professional translators… The system automatically handles routing the work to the most suitable translators, delivering the completed work back to you, and paying the service providers.” The system does not calculate any taxes and many translators are questioning prices, invoicing, etc. Kevin Lossner is doing a better job following this issue than I am. You can read all about it here. ProZ.com then made it worse by locking a discussion on the service and then locking a follow-up discussion because it was “against policy” to start another discussion after the initial discussion has been locked. Sounds to me like the ProZ.com staff gathered up their toys and went home to play by themselves.

What I want to know is why do translators continue to put up with the abuse from ProZ.com? If you are unhappy with their policies, stop paying to be members. It’s as simple as that.

P.S. If you liked Rules, Rules, Rules you might also enjoy PointZ, PointZ, PointZ.

TGIF: Do you suffer from IOS? July 17, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, TGIF.
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This hilarious video from Xerox is for sufferers from information overload syndrome. The Internet allows us to have access to entire libraries of information. There are those who claim the sheer volume of information which many of us are exposed to every day may actually impair our performance and add stress to our lives. I know I definitely feel like this some Fridays after a long week of researching terminology and concepts on the Internet. Is IOS affecting you? Have a great weekend and try to avoid the Internet as much as possible (you know, after you click on the video below…)!

ProZ.com does some tweaking – and I like it July 16, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Marketing ideas.
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Hi folks, if you have your resume posted on ProZ.com but aren’t a member, be sure to head on over there and update your profile. They have opened some features (like the availability calendar) to non-paying members. I updated my location, my rates, and my availability. It had been a while since I’d updated the profile. I didn’t do everything they suggested (like add a sample translation), and I certainly don’t waste my time earning KudoZ points. I have been enjoying various discussions (like this one) on the forums recently though. The availability calendar is a great feature that allows you to show your availability – 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% or not available. I’ve been thinking about implementing one on my website, but it looks like I may not have to! Be sure to go update your ProZ.com profile and check out all the changes. ProZ.com, I like the changes. Thanks!

Das gehört nicht zum guten Ton July 15, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

I am so livid right now that I can’t see straight! I started work an hour later than I usually do, because yesterday was such a grueling day. I had delivered a medical report in the morning, then spent the next six hours translating 3,904 words about diarrhea medication, while also making my 2 PM deadline for a big medical report that I had sent to a proofreader. I took a couple hours off to take my dog to the dog park and then came back and finished two short proofreading jobs, calling it a night around 10:30 PM.

I open my e-mail to find an e-mail that was sent from an agency in Munich at 5 AM my time that says “Bitte QS Machen! Bitte bestätigen Sie!” with the PO pasted on the bottom. I assumed it was in regards to the short proofreading job I delivered to them last night and responded that I had sent the file last night at 9:43 PM. A little further down in my inbox were two e-mails – one at 8:05 AM and one at 10:39 AM – stating “Wo bleibt die QS?” I scrolled back to the original e-mail and saw that it was a brand-new job that was due at 12 PM German time – 6 AM my time. At that point I got really upset and wrote the client a rather irate e-mail asking them to not contact me anymore. Normally I am calm and professional, but it’s hard to stay that way when you are being yelled at on e-mail.

I had recently started working with the client again, after almost 6 or 7 years of not hearing from them. I had worked with the agency back when I lived in Germany, when it was a one-woman show. She would call and ask me if I was available, and since I usually was we had a nice working relationship. The agency has grown a bit, and I have a feeling the PMs are overworked – and perhaps not native Germans. That still doesn’t excuse the lack of etiquette in the request, because I am not a native German and I can compose polite e-mails when I’m not really upset.

In the meantime the PM has written back apologizing because she hadn’t considered the time difference, but it’s too late. I don’t need a client who can’t be pleasant on e-mail. “Bitte QS Machen!” is not the way to ask a translator to accept a proofreading job from you.

For those of you non-Germans who are wondering about the title of this post, zum guten Ton gehören basically means “to be in good form” or “follow the rules of social etiquette.” Ton can also mean tone, and I certainly didn’t like the tone of her e-mail job request!