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Challenges: Ups and Downs How to Cope
Thread poster: Harry Hermawan

Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:15
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
Feb 16, 2006

I guess having a satisfied customer because the work was delivered according to the clients expectation is every translators' dream but what if it's the other way? How can you get back to the level of performance you were in? (Peak/ top form/ the best). Any comments? Take a vacation? Get a new hobby? Much appreciated.

[Edited at 2006-02-16 06:01]

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Marion Schimmelpfennig  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
Member (2003)
English to German
Depends on the cause Feb 16, 2006

Hi Harry,

Interesting question! I guess it largely depends on the cause of the below-average performance. If it is a one-time situation lasting only a very short time, I wouldn't be worried as we probably all have some ups and downs over time. If it lasts, then you have to go to the source of it all. Too much work? Too tight deadlines? Too difficult work? Topics you hate? Personal stress? When did the whole thing start, and are there any developments or changes in your life that could have caused it? In my case, it was a physical thing: I went to the doctor because I felt tired all the time and couldn't concentrate fully anymore. The cause was my thyroid - something I hadn't even thought about. Because it didn't work properly, my metabolism was pretty low which had effects on practically every bodily function.

Take care

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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
French to English
Take a few days off Feb 16, 2006

Hi there,

I had written a long answer to this then had a power cut so lost it.

Basically translation requires intense concentration and is exhausting. You can't keep up a sustained pace for very long without a break.

You are probably exhausted and need some time off.

By the way, don't beat yourself up about mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.

Before the days of Internet, in the days where it was hard to find out what companies produced, I had to translate a letter about a company's products. I came up with a translation that was way off base.

The French word was "porte gaine", which actually means something like "uplift bra".

I translated it as......

wait for it....


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
To err is human ....... Feb 16, 2006


The best of us make mistakes and those who contend otherwise are only kidding themselves and not fooling others. Don't bash yourself unnecessarily.

That said, translators are only as good as their last translations, so working yourself to a standstill is counter-productive.

When you feel bogged down or like you're "treading water", I agree it's time to arrange a few days off.

More importantly when you're off, it's time to gather your thoughts and decide how you're going to work in time for yourself in future - so that this doesn't become a repeat thing.

If it continues, my advice would be to have a thorough medical check-up.

Nobody is going to eract a statue to you for two consecutive nights of no sleep to finish a job, remember that.

I personally don't find it possible to say I won't work after 6pm or weekends - lawyers inevitably wait until the last possible moment to send me their translations, I practised law myself and I know how it goes - but my clients at least know when I say I'm tired and/or am lacking motiviation, I really mean it and then I just won't take a job.

We're not robots - we don't have statutory protection which forces us to take so many days paid holiday a year - and need to listen to ourselves for the telltale warning signs.

This can be a very unhealthy profession in many ways (far too much sitting and eye strain for starters) but at the end of the day we're all accountable for ourselves - so the trick is move yourself to the top of the list of priorities and you'll find the rest will start falling into place.

Easier said than done but only you can do it.

All the best

[Edited at 2006-02-16 21:24]

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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
Italian to English
+ ...
Do something in your native language Feb 17, 2006

Like reading, talking to friends from home you haven't spoken to for a while, even watching satellite TV. It gives you a new perspective and extends your vocabulary so the next job you do will be "fresher".

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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:15
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
Thank you...likewise Feb 21, 2006

Ladies, thank you for the positive inputs.

Should I have any other issues that cannot be handled on my own I'll be sure to ask for help in this wonderful forum.

Again, thank you ladies. Wondering though why no guys have pitched in with comments, well...

Cheers from Jakarta

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