There are many positives to working as a translator. You can take on a variety of assignments. The demand for translators is certainly on the rise. Freelance translation gives you flexibility in terms of your family and schedule, and saves you from the misery of a daily commute. Translators are able to learn about other cultures, and may even have the opportunity to travel.
Then there’s the downside. There’s the late night hours working with clients in different time zones. The urgent deadlines that are always looming are also a major source of stress. Let’s not forget about the pressure to be 100 percent accurate all of the time, and the knowledge that a mistake could impact someone’s day at the very least.
Translation can be a hectic and stressful vocation. This means you must find a balance between your work and the rest of your life. If not, burnout can ensue. That’s not good for anyone. The following tips are designed to help translators achieve the desired work-life balance.
Accept Jobs That Work Together
Frequently, we translators will have several projects on our desks at the same time. It’s just the nature of the work we do. Unfortunately, if you don’t select your projects carefully, you can find yourself spread pretty thin. To avoid this, here are some things to keep in mind before you accept assignments:
- Try to accept a mix of high-intensity, difficult projects and easy, ‘fluff’ projects.
- Think about time zones! Don’t accept one job that will have you working until 2 A.M. and another that forces you up and back to your PC four hours later.
- For every boring drudge of an assignment that you accept, try to find one that’s a bit interesting.
Take the time to consider how each new assignment will impact your other projects. By carefully selecting your work, you can avoid being bored, overworked, and stressed out.
Develop Hobbies That Aren’t Word Related
There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘word nerd’. It’s not unusual for people who are translators, editors, writers, etc. to have a deep interest in the written word and linguistics. We tend to love crossword puzzles, reading, playing Words With Friends, and otherwise indulging in wordy hobbies. This is okay, but it’s important to engage in interests outside of the world of words.
Start by considering your personality and current level of activity. If you’re full of nervous energy and literally on the go most of the day, you might benefit by taking on a ‘slower’ hobby. Something like yoga, knitting, drawing, or playing the piano can help you to relax. If you’re mostly sedentary and find that you lack energy, consider something more active. Hiking and biking are two activities that are excellent for people at any energy or fitness level. Whatever you pursue, remember that hobbies can help you meet your career goals.
Maximize Even The Smallest Breaks
Don’t cheat yourself out of the benefits of even small breaks in your daily schedule. The next time you have a chance to take a short break, do it! Don’t tell yourself to just move onto the next project because you only have five minutes or so. Here are some things you can do in five minutes:
- Take a stroll across your house to the kitchen for a refreshing glass of ice water or cup of tea.
- Stave off stiff and sore muscles with some stretching exercise.
- Snuggle with a pet.
- Send a sweet or funny message to someone.
- Refuel with a quick sandwich.
If you have ten minutes, you can:
- Play a quick level of a Facebook game.
- Chat with someone you care about.
- Walk the dog up the block and back.
- Go through your kid’s backpack with them and discuss their day
In fifteen minutes you can:
- Cook a simple meal for your family.
- Catch up on the news headlines for the day.
- Play a quick video game with the kids.
- Get in a quick, light workout
Even the shortest breaks can be used to connect with people you love, to get in some physical activity, or enjoy a bit of fun.
Keep a Designated Work-space
Try not to let your work bleed over into the rest of your home, and vice versa. Create a designated workspace. If you don’t have the space or resources to turn a room into your office, at the very least designate an area of a room as your work-space. Most importantly, enforce strict rules about people entering that space and interrupting you.
Know When It’s Time to Fire a Client or Agency
As a translator, you are blessed to be a part of a growing field. Your skills are in demand. You can likely afford to be selective in the work you do. This doesn’t mean that you should expect every client to be a joy to work with, or that every translation agency will always have the best and most interesting assignments for you.
What it does mean is that you don’t have to tolerate verbal abuse, broken promises, low pay, or unrealistic deadlines. In fact, if you’ve been treated poorly by your current translation agency, check out this list of best translation agencies published by Pickwriters.com. You work too hard to tolerate late payments or unrealistic demands.
Create a Daily Schedule
It’s difficult for translators to create a weekly or monthly schedule. Things are just too varied and hectic. However, you should try to start each day by writing out a brief schedule. This will help you to manage your time. Even better, you’ll know when you will be able to take some of those hard earned breaks.
Give Yourself Sick Vacation And Personal Days
A good boss recognizes that their employees need time off when they’re sick or tired. They also understand the benefits of vacation and leisure time. You’re your own boss, so be a good one. Build time off into your schedule, and let yourself take it easy when you aren’t feeling well.
It’s been proven that in order to maintain good mental health people need time off. Taking a vacation or personal time is good for you, and will help you to be more productive down the line.
You’re in a hectic, intense, and busy line of work. That’s wonderful, as that means there’s no shortage of work for you. However, you also must prioritize your health, relationships, and happiness. Follow the tips above, and you should be able to accomplish the balance you seek.
Dina Indelicato is a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer. She is always open to research about new topics and gain new experiences to share with her readers. You can find her on Twitter @DinaIndelicato and Facebook.