- Published: Monday, 03 February 2014 12:33
- Written by Dana Shannak
- Hits: 3264
Freelance translators work hard, but sometimes feel that their productivity is slipping for one reason or another. These are routines that I find help me to be more productive:
- Sufficient sleep. People need different amounts of sleep to function at their best. I find that if I am tired, I don’t work as quickly and efficiently as I do when I’m fully rested. Listen to your body, and make sure that you’re getting the correct amount of sleep. Remember that exercise helps your body to sleep, so spend a certain amount of time each day doing your favorite workout. One way to make sure that your brain is ready to rest is to feel that you’re in control of your work situation. Deciding at the end of the day what you’re going to do the next day helps. Which brings us to the next productivity tip.
- To-do lists. Setting goals is an extremely important part of freelance translation work. These goals may be how much money you need to earn per day/week/month or how many words you want to translate per hour/day. Once you know your goals, draw up your to-do list, breaking it into manageable sections. For example, before I tackle a job, I will do any research required—my to-do list entries state “research” and “translate.” Obviously, all translators have different goals and to-do lists, but the general idea is the same.
- Prioritization. Deadlines rule the lives of freelance translators. Usually, you’ll have jobs due at different times, so it’s important to work on them according to due date, rather than starting with the tasks that you prefer doing. I adore translating press releases, but I also do other types of translation work, so I have to be disciplined and make sure I don’t favor one over the other.
- Sprint short distances. Take breaks during the day when you start to tire. The human mind can only absorb so much information at a time and the body needs fuel to keep it going. Fifteen minute breaks for some fresh air, a beverage and snack, or to move away from your work station does wonders, and you’ll be able to work faster and increase your productivity when you return to the task in hand.
- Learn to say “No.” Discernment about jobs comes with experience. If a job offer raises red flags such as the amount of time allowed or the rate of pay being too low, then don’t take on that work. It’s all right to refuse work—if it’s for a regular client, it’s likely that they will be prepared to negotiate timing and fees.
- Rewards. It’s sometimes a good motivator to give yourself rewards when you’re working. Things like checking out social media and personal emails can be a good reward. Or, you may prefer rewards such as playtime with your pet or a walk in the park. Once you’ve finished a large job, taking time out to watch a movie or spending a morning with friends is great. In other words, pick a reward that will motivate you and aim to get there!
Some tips from other translators:
I wake up very early in the morning because it’s the quietest time of day. I can focus better and nobody is emailing me constantly. I enabled the pop-up feature of Gmail and it annoys me more than anything else because it breaks my concentration, although sometimes it’s handy for urgent matters.
Mar Saumell from MS Translation & Localization
Creating and updating my glossaries (French, English, Spanish, Italian). Listening to the news in French, English, Spanish, and Italian. Reading a little bit (subjects/areas of interest, and articles in my field/industry-translation and consecutive interpreting), networking online and off-line.
I’d love to hear your ideas about how you increase your productivity as freelance translators, so feel free to add your comments below.