You just began working in the translation profession and have agreed to translate a hefty ISO manual. There is no stopping the impending deadline. So you sit down to work, but suddenly you remember the series of neglected emails in your inbox; you respond to a few and take a sip of coffee. It’s cold now. You toss it in the microwave for thirty seconds, walk back to your office and sit down to work. What do you know, more emails, a text message, a Youtube video of keyboard cat, a Facebook posting of daschund puppies in a basket. It’s lunch now and you still haven't started working! Sound familiar?
Perhaps you will benefit from 5 time management secrets to get you ahead in the translation profession.
1) Email Management
Email can suck you right into a time warp (as can Facebook). Keep your communications to-the-point and brief. Use the features your email system provides: highlight emails that need your immediate attention as opposed to those that can sit in the inbox for a little while. Here’s another idea: Log out of your email and only check it at specific times throughout the day.
Much of what you do is boiler plate in terms of rates/deadlines/review/approval periods, etc. Have descriptions typed out and cut/paste them into replies to save yourself from reinventing the wheel.
Keep phone conversations short too. Adhering to this time management secret may even build your image as a hot-and-in-demand leader in the translation profession.
Those emails/conversations you de-prioritized this morning can be re-prioritized while driving to appointments or on your way to the gym. Use features like Google Talk to leave a voice mail regarding an email. Messages need to be less than 10 minutes, which reinforces Point 1. Straighten your desk while you're on the phone at work to keep things organized. Use an online planner to keep you in line.
3) Set Concrete Boundaries Between Work and Home Time
Often working in the translation profession allows you to work from home. However, this can create some serious time management issues. Don't let your energies drift back and forth from work to laundry - to work - to dog walking. Set a work routine at home and stick to it.
4) Don't Work For Less Than You're Worth
In order to have free time you must be paid well enough to afford time off. If you pay yourself enough, you can have extra time to do the things you love or donate time to a favorite charity without having to worry about lost income. If you are a new to the translation profession and have not fully cultivated relationships with translation agencies and clients, this may not completely apply to you yet, but if you play your cards right, it certainly will in the future.
5) Hire Outside Help
Here’s one final time management secret: Let someone else—your kids, your spouse, one of the neighbor kids—cut the lawn, clean the house, wash the car, or any other responsibilities that cut into your schedule. These tasks can all be done while you are translating, allowing you to be more efficient and carve more time out for yourself.
Like any profession, translation takes practice, experience and proper training—and if you were to ask ten translators how they got into the translation profession, you’d hear ten different stories. There’s no one way to do it, but something that will give you the necessary experience and help distinguish you from all the other freelance translators is Marygrove College’s online program in Modern Language Translation. In our program, students will not only study the linguistic and cultural aspects of language transfer, but they will take a hands-on approach to translating journalistic, commercial, legal, and scientific texts.
You should also know that Marygrove College is reducing tuition rates for this online graduate program by 19 percent! This is one step—amongst a few others—that the college is taking to ensure that a Marygrove education is an achievable, financially-sustainable investment.