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Off topic: What was the craziest thing you have ever done to submit a n assignment?
Thread poster: Sabine Akabayov, PhD

Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Israel
Local time: 05:41
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Jun 13, 2014

This week I went to a conference. Having some spare time in the hotel I took on a translation assignment.
At some point in the evening (I had to submit the job that night) I noticed that the internet in the hotel was down. I called IT services and they told me they would fix it very soon. I checked when I was almost done with the job and the internet was still down. At 1 am in the night I called them again and they told me they would fix it within the hour. Not really trusting that, I transferred the files via USB to my phone to send an email from my phone. However, reception in the hotel was bad as well, so I couldn't send emails from the phone either. So around 2 am I left the hotel and took a drive to find a spot with good reception. Luckily that wasn't far. After coming back 20 minutes later, the internet connection was fixed


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Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:41
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Rings bells! Jun 13, 2014

Various parts of your story echoed experiences of mine, but I guess the craziest thing I've found myself doing was waving my phone out of an attic window - one knee on the sill, half my body outside - in order to have enough of a signal to send an email. There was a moment when I suddenly "saw" myself, and nearly fell out, laughing.

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TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ah, those moments Jun 13, 2014

sibsab wrote:
So around 2 am I left the hotel and took a drive to find a spot with good reception. Luckily that wasn't far.


I had quite a few of those in South America. Power outages, no internet access, etc. It was just the way things were back then. It was impossible to have the internet installed at home. The only internet provider in town kept promising they would install it "next month" for 16 months. I didn't have a car so I would just grab my laptop and walk to the City Hall in the middle of the night.

I'm not sure if this is the craziest thing I've done, but here goes. At one point I lived far from town in the Amazon. I had to cross a wide but usually shallow river (water was only up to my knees) to get to a country road. From there it was only about 40 minutes by bus to a nearby internet café. I’d go there every day in the morning to check my email, send the translated documents, download new files, etc. One day I woke up and realized it had been raining heavily all night. The river was no longer tame and shallow. I sat on the rocky beach and waited for a few hours for it to quiet down, watching trees being carried downstream. The deadline was approaching, so I had to act. I wrapped my USB stick in ten plastic bags (yeah, we had no internet and no ziplocks back then), put it in my backpack and swam across the river. Yep, I managed to send my translation on time. And the client never knew.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
That's very good, TranslateThis Jun 13, 2014

Here's some of mine:

1. I unplugged a roadside Coke vending machine, plugged in my laptop, and sat on the ground working as the chilled drinks in the machine gradually warmed up. This was in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and lots of Amish families were clip-clopping by in their buggies. Truly a meeting of 19th- and 21st-century technology.

2. I was staying in a motel in Texas which had internet in the lobby but not the rooms. I had to deliver a job, but there was an ice storm raging outside and I couldn't stand upright, so I crawled to the lobby. I told the client, and they were very amused.

3. I often translate at 75 mph. We visit my wife's family, who live 450 miles away, several times a year. She volunteers to drive if I have work to do (I still haven't mastered the art of translating and driving simultaneously), and when it comes to sending the job, we stop outside a MacDonalds because they have password-free wifi.









[Edited at 2014-06-13 20:15 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-13 20:22 GMT]


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Can't compete with wading across a river, but ... Jun 13, 2014

The first ever freelance translation I did was 10,000 words about bricks in 1994. I delivered it to my customer's house by BSA Bantam (classic motorbike) in a hailstorm because I hadn't yet invested in a modem. He was very nice and let me dry off by his fire!

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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:41
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't you get car sick? Jun 13, 2014

philgoddard wrote:

3. I often translate at 75 mph. We visit my wife's family, who live 450 miles away, several times a year. She volunteers to drive if I have work to do (I still haven't mastered the art of translating and driving simultaneously), and when it comes to sending the job, we stop outside a MacDonalds because they have password-free wifi.



I can just about manage to answer emails, let alone translate! And only if I'm travelling as a passenger (when I'm driving I leave my bag in the boot so I can't hear my phone and be tempted to read the messages)!

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 22:41
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Painfully familiar. Jun 13, 2014

This is a great thread! I'm sorry that my colleagues have had to go through so much, but it's comforting to know I'm not alone.

Where I live, on a wooded hillside in rural central Puerto Rico, Internet access is a constant challenge. I gave up my dial-up when it had been out of order for more than a year. I used a USB-connected wireless service for a while (cable, broadband, satellite and similar services all being non-existent in our particular spot), but it was very unreliable.

On many occasions I would drive (20 minutes) to the nearest Burger King for WiFi, but though my office hours are 24/7, BK's aren't. Also, laptops don't run 24/7 without being plugged in from time to time--not an option at BK.

So, on more than one occasion, I have driven half a mile in the wee hours to the municipal basketball court, circumnavigated the padlocked gate (don't tell on me!), sat on the bleachers and plugged into an awkwardly placed wall outlet, and contorted my body to reach the keyboard. Sometimes I would be there for a couple of hours, going through my list of points to research online in order to finish and (finally!) send my document. When I was done, I could hardly walk to my car due to the hard concrete bleachers and the odd position I was in. I've always wondered what the people who live near the court thought.

Now, my mobile hot spot device works much better. I can almost always get a connection at home. This thread brought back a lot of memories!

Jane


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two border crossings Jun 14, 2014

One night I I was in Canada, twenty miles from the US border, and my computer crashed in the middle of a job; fortunately, my work was saved to the cloud. Next morning I got up early, crossed into the US, dealing with the formalities, and headed reluctantly to a large box store which normally I refuse to patronize. I spent $600 on a new laptop, and brought it back across the border, again with formalities.
I plugged the thing into my car's converter so that I could start the set-up process while driving (I know, I know) and once I was back, I downloaded my job, back from the cloud to the new computer. Unfortunately, this computer was equipped with a tacky, temporary version of Word 2010, while I am accustomed to 2003. (I was not at home, so could not reinstall the version I am comfortable with.) I struggled with the new version, building tables and so on, and was able to send in the job by the 5 p.m. deadline.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tornadoes Jun 14, 2014

A couple of years ago, a tornado came through St. Louis Missouri that damaged our airport. I was working about 5 minutes west of the airport (back when I was in-house) at the time. We heard all the alarms go off and they rushed everyone into the basement, but I still caught a glimpse of the tornado through the windows. It was scarily close, and worst of all, right before I was supposed to clock out and go home.

I had to go to the other side of the airport to pick up my sister, and ended up crossing right in front of the tornado on my way home.

I'm not sure if any of that counts though, since I was working in-house and the translation had technically already been delivered.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Great stories Jun 14, 2014

TranslateThis wrote:
I wrapped my USB stick in ten plastic bags (yeah, we had no internet and no ziplocks back then), put it in my backpack and swam across the river. Yep, I managed to send my translation on time. And the client never knew.

Okay, I cannot remotely compete with this! Full marks for tenacity.

Rachel Waddington wrote:
I delivered it to my customer's house by BSA Bantam

I saw a Bantam parked up in Pembroke on Friday, I think a D10 or D14/4. Very cute little bike, looked lovely in the sunshine, but perhaps not my first choice for reliable work-based transport.


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jun 14, 2014



[Edited at 2014-06-14 20:41 GMT]


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:41
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Reliable work-based transport Jun 14, 2014

I saw a Bantam parked up in Pembroke on Friday, I think a D10 or D14/4. Very cute little bike, looked lovely in the sunshine, but perhaps not my first choice for reliable work-based transport.


I would have to agree with you on that!


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:41
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Madrid, 25 years ago... (not crazy but funny) Jun 15, 2014

I was a beginner in the business and I had an urgent and long translation to be done in the morning, so I stayed awake to finish it and proofread the part my brother had done (we use to collaborate). I drank coffee after coffee. Needless to say there was not e-mail (although I worked with a PC), so I had to dress in a hurry and go out of home (no breakfast, no shower) to deliver the translation; the deadline was 8am. So I went there at 7am in a taxi: there was nobody, it was too early. So I walked with no destination around the building trying to stay awake: I had a big headache, I was hungry, it was a nigtmare. To make things worse, at 10am I had to be at the Court to do an interpretation, luckily it was very near, but I was nearly sick. All of a sudden I saw a hairdresser open and I think to myself: "I can have my hair done for 30 minutes in order to stay awake and be more suitable to go to the Court". I went to the hairdresser, where 4 or 5 beautiful ladies welcomed me in a very warmly manner. I told the owner (the oldest one) what I wanted, and they started working on my hair and talking. "How come you're awake so early? - Do you currently use a hair conditioner? - So you're a lawyer? - Oh, a translator! - Poor thing, you're so tired, do you want a massage? - Come here, I will also put some make-up on you pretty face - Do you want a coffee?". Finally I went out the hairdresser more at ease, thanking those kind ladies who charged very little money for the whole thing. I delivered the translation on time, I went to the Court where the deponent didn't come, so I could go home again (and was well-paid too). It was only when was catching a taxi to go home when I saw the hairdresser sign again (fuchsia glittering and a glass of champagne) and I realize that this hairdresser was also... a brothel. I still thank those kind ladies for having me this morning.

[Edited at 2014-06-15 10:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-15 10:28 GMT]


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Alma de Kok  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:41
Member (2006)
Polish to Dutch
+ ...
Two short stories Jun 16, 2014

1. I sit among spare parts, pictures of all kinds of 'ladies' and loads of coffee in the workshop of my car repair firm, working while my car is being repaired.

2. Once I thought I delivered a short translation just before I went on holiday to Slovenia. When we arrived after a long nights drive without much sleep, I received an urgent call of my client.. apparently I forgot the attachment. On the campsite they had an internet terminal, you had to buy access with coins (10 minutes at a time). Typing on a touch screen, standing. Temperature around 38 Celcius. I literally sweat the translation out of the screen and blocked access for other visitors for about 1,5 hours. It cost me more than my fee, but as it was one of my regular clients, I simply did it. The beer I drank afterwards was.... well, just imagine.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
From hospital Jun 17, 2014

I once had a motorbike accident and ended up in a hopsital bed with my right arm in a plaster and a double wrist fracture. I called up the client whose (yes, folks, it was "urgent", for a change) text I was translating and asked them to bring me a laptop. The boss brought me one the same afternoon and I managed to finish off the last few thousand words of the translation with my good arm.

This is one of my best clients... and they're still with me after almost 15 years.


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