Off topic: When nature interferes with a translation job!
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
English to Hindi
+ ...
Mar 8, 2006

Yesterday, exactly at midnight we in Gujarat, India, got a severe jolt. A moderate earthquake of 5.2 hit the same area (Kachchh) as the 2001 killer trembler.

We all rushed out of our multi-storeyed apartments and spent half the night in the streets for fear of entering the buildings. Finally we crawled into bed in the wee hours of the morining. Thankfully no loss to life and property has been reported from anywhere, although the tremors were felt throughout Gujarat.

I was awake and was grappling with a translation deadline when I had to rush out of the house with my family including a three-year old kid, leaving everything as it was, including the switched on computer with the half-done translation still on the screen! Needless to say, I couldn't meet the deadline...

Has such a thing happened to you, where elemental forces came in the way of finishing a job on time?


Graciela Guzman  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not exactly Mar 8, 2006

This hasn't ever happened to me, but I understand it's a difficult situation.
I hope you and your family are safe now.



Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
Depends on how you look at it.. Mar 8, 2006

Power cuts in German cities happen so rarely, that you could call them an elemental force or an act of Whoever.

Maybe I should buy a UPS, and you a laptop..


priya narayan
Local time: 14:58
French to English
+ ...
laptop is ideal! Mar 8, 2006

..though I ve never experienced an earthquake, but everyday (rather night) I keep my laptop closest to my bed so that I can carry it , if something major happens (that's what I ve been imagining !!!)


Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:28
French to English
Earthquake Mar 8, 2006

Glad you and your family are safe. This is definitely a case of "force majeure".

My husband died suddenly one morning. Obviously I was unable to complete the job I was working on....

Obviously this was no problem for my client.


Cintia Pecellin  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Contact the client Mar 8, 2006


I live in the northern Sierra of Madrid, in a small town, and power cuts are not rare. In fact, we suffer them everytime we're hit by a snow storm.
For that reason, I have saved all my clients numbers on my cell and try to call, or even SMS, them as soon as something like this comes up.

However, only last year, the power was out for 2 full days, and we ended up in a hotel with Wi-Fi connection just so I could work. It was actually kind of fun! We all enjoyed our "short vacation" out of home.

Glad your family is all right! That always comes first, then work.



Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
The main thing is to be alive to tell your client you can't meet the deadline! Mar 8, 2006

So, I'm pleased to hear you are all in one piece.

It has happened a couple of times that we've had power cuts and I've been late getting stuff back, or that I've gone down with backache which means I can't sit at the computer and the work goes in late. My clients are generally quite understanding.
On the other hand, I had a laptop brought to my hospital bed after a 6-hour operation so I could finish job as the printer had the book set up and needed the text.
Unfortunately my right arm was paralysed (temporarily) from the operation and I was typing (much to the amusement of my surgeon) with two fingers from my left hand ... but it took my mind off other worries!


Lucinda Hollenberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
Glad to hear that all of you are okay. Mar 8, 2006

I am sure that your client understands. Nothing you could have done about it, if this is ever a case of foce majeure.
Give the little one a kiss for me.

Good luck and God bless!


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Glad you're all safe Mar 8, 2006

Not force majeure, but while we were waiting for the phone line to be activated in Luxembourg, I found myself having to deliver my translations by a mobile phone internet connection - at something like 4 euros per minute, 4 kb per minute and no guarantee whatsoever of success! Not much fun. I did get them all through in the end, fortunately, but at the cost of several more grey hairs.


María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Force majeure, accidents, power outages... LIFE is chaos. Mar 8, 2006

Mary Lalevée wrote:

Glad you and your family are safe. This is definitely a case of "force majeure".

My husband died suddenly one morning. Obviously I was unable to complete the job I was working on....

Obviously this was no problem for my client.

Sorry to read about thaticon_frown.gif

Something similar happened to me last year, I had accepted a small job, to do over the weekend, when my father passed away that Friday morning.

Of course I called the agency and said I wouldn't be able to do the job after all. At least I hadn't even started it...

On the subject of UPS: Power outages are so common here, that it is a *must* to have a UPS with power surge protection.

Balasubramaniam (do friends call you Bal?icon_smile.gif ), I hope you and your family are well, and that you didn't suffer any material losses (your house, etc.).


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
English to Hindi
+ ...
Thank you all... Mar 8, 2006

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Thankfully everything is fine and there have been no aftershocks that we had been fearing. Everthing is back to normal. It is amazing how quickly life falls back into place after jolts like these. Probably it is this resilence that has brought humankind this far down the evolutionary line.

I finished the job this afternoon and the client was very understanding.

Thanks once again, all of you.


Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
I'm happy for you and your family Mar 8, 2006

Balasubramaniam wrote:

Thankfully everything is fine and there have been no aftershocks that we had been fearing. Everthing is back to normal. It is amazing how quickly life falls back into place after jolts like these.

I really hope solar energy and possibilities to store electrical energy make a huge progress in terms of possibilites anyway and in terms of financial efficiency.
That would be great for emergency cases, people in remote areas, and for the environment.

A lot of energy around us. The matter is how to get it in the right style (electrical, mechanic, thermodynamic and so on).

[Edited at 2006-03-08 18:20]


Olga Dubeshka  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:28
Russian to English
+ ...
Advice from Florida Mar 8, 2006

I live in South Florida and as you know hurricanes visit us every year. In fact , last September we were 10 days with no power - no TV, phone or even gas for your car.How bad is that for a translator ?!!

As our governor says - preparedness is key!!
I have it down to the details :

Olga`s guide to surviving natural disasters

1. Charge your cell phone, your laptop battery and even
purchase an extra one (battery, I mean )
2 . Always "save" your new work several times , so if power
goes out suddenly you can salvage most of your work.
3. If you are really in dire straits, ask your client to give you an extention and suggest slashing your rates to make up for that.
4. And most important , stock up on food and supplies in advance , so at least you can eat well sitting in candlelight
while doing all your translations ON THE PAPER !!!



juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:28
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Thinking back on it... Mar 14, 2006 story is quite funny.
Exactly a year ago I was going to a court interpreting assignement, and virtually yards from the court I tripped and broke my left arm. Somebody very kindly picked me up, and escorted me into the court building. (They had to reschedule the hearing, and I did interpret for them three weeks later.)

Everybody was joking, that I came to the right place to sue the council for the uneven pavement.

As I seemed to have two elbows, I held my hand and half an arm until the ambulance arrived, and they thought it was very funny. They told the A&E staff, and they laughed too. Well, what else could I have done?

The day after the operation I was dictating a translation on the phone to finish it, as it was due that day.
It was a medical questionnaire, part of it referring to the care the patient received after the operation. One of the junior doctors got rather suspicious, and I had to explain, that it has nothing to do with their hospital. What, me, reporter, newspaper, no way!

Knowing, that they wouldn't discharge me during the week-end, as the Consultant is usually not there, next day - being Friday - I begged them to let me go home. The woman with a broken leg next to me snored ten times louder than my husband does. At the time that wasn't funny. icon_smile.gif

I am glad, that you and your family are all well after the ordeal.



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