Love your Language Lovers

As a bit of a change from the usual translation talk that my blog entails, I thought I would dedicate today’s post to sharing the love. It’s that time of the year when the Top 100 Language Lovers competition starts to elicit a degree of fevered excitement among the online language community and this provides the perfect opportunity for us all to focus on what great, language-based riches we have at our disposal. It’s brilliant to see so many hard-working language lovers rewarded for their efforts.

Hosted by bab.la language portal and the Lexiophiles language blog, the competition is in its seventh edition and always receives a great response. The nominations have been completed and we’re now at the all-important voting stage, which runs until 9th June before the final results are announced on 12th June.

For those of you unfamiliar with the competition process this year, the voting stage is split up into five different categories that cover all of the major resources available to language lovers worldwide – language learning blogs, language professionals blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels – and the top-rated picks from each category go on to form the Top 100 Language Lovers (more detailed explanation of the processes involved can be found here).

Vote the Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 

I’m delighted to announce that JALTranslation has been included in the language professionals blogs category of the competition among so many other amazing entrants. Given that the voting process allows you to select as many blogs, pages, or channels as you want, if you’ve enjoyed my posts then a vote would be very much appreciated (a handy link to the voting page is available above if you’re feeling generous). However, I’m happy just to be included in the list and there is a more important reason for this blog post.

Quite simply, the list of nominees provides one of the best sources of online goodness that any language lover could ever hope to find! I’ve written about online translation resources in the past and the opportunity to share such a rich database of information was too good to turn down.

Of course, be sure to vote for all of your favourites (I had a fair few to get through!) but, more importantly, use the list to discover new blogs and accounts to follow in your areas of interest. It’s an absolute gold mine that is worth exploring. Go on, click your way through the lists of nominees and see what goodies are on offer.

I’ll be back soon with some more translation-y tidbits but, until then, go and check out what other great blogs are waiting for you. Ciao.

One year down: What blogging has to offer

After being spoiled with a brilliant guest post on LinkedIn last time out, this post is something a little different.

I was recently made aware (by the fairies at WordPress) that my blog had turned one and thought that now would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on what has been an exciting year and consider how valuable a tool blogging has proven to be in the process.

So what does a blog offer you? Why should you consider making the leap if you’re not already among the league of bloggers? Maintaining a blog is certainly a considerable commitment but I believe that the rewards far outweigh the potential drawbacks and here are a few of my own thoughts on the merits of translation blogging:

1) Developing relevant skills

When I started out with my blog, I had little idea of the direction I wanted to head in and it was primarily a place to write about something I love. I was full to the brim with translation-y goodness and needed somewhere to share it. Beyond this, however, it was also a means through which I could work on my writing ability within a context of my choosing and has allowed me to increase my familiarity with different styles of content and work on different way of making topics more dynamic and appealing. While it may not seem instantly relevant, all of these skills are key aspects of a translators’ continuing development.

2) Demonstrating your know-how to potential clients and contacts

While not all of my posts are technical essays on complicated subject matter, far from it, I hope that they at least demonstrate that I know my subject well and this is one of the most valuable tools that a blog can offer. If you’re an expert in your field, then why not show it? With so many translators out there – many of them sharing the same specialist areas as you – a blog provides a platform to show off your knowledge and show that you know how to get that information across. What’s more, while you can’t encapsulate all of your knowledge into the few pages deemed acceptable in an application, a link to and a mention of your blog in your CV allows you to direct potential clients to a wealth of additional information and clients will certainly be interested in having a look at what you’ve been writing about.

3) Expanding your horizons

While at first it may prove difficult to get your content out there and get noticed, you’ll quickly find that there’s always an appetite for interesting/informative/different content. I’m a strong believer in the value of social media for freelancers and it is here that you will find the best paths to expansion. Sharing content has really helped me to integrate and interact with the Twitter translation community and this in turn has led to the development of strong ties with new contacts and clients alike. Furthermore, as your content finds its way further afield, you will see improved visibility on other platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, even without a concerted personal effort, and this can only be a good thing for your business.

4) Letting people know a little bit about yourself

While my blog is by no means a personal sound board, the very topics that I choose, the way that I try to get information across and the manner in which information is presented all serve to give a strong representation of the person that I am. In an industry where people want to work with people, and not nameless machines, this is a valuable asset. As Sara discussed in her guest post last time out, this is vital to your growth as a business and blogging represents an invaluable means of demonstrating that personal touch.

5) Giving something back

Ultimately, one of the main things that I want to achieve when writing a post is for people to enjoy the content and take something (however little) away from it. The translation community is filled with excellent blogs and articles that help no end in your professional endeavours and it is great to be a small part of that and give a little something back.

Finally, I just want to thank everyone who has read and shared content during this exciting first year and I hope that there will be plenty more for you to enjoy in the coming years. Ciao!

Twittering Translators

While today’s post perhaps represents a departure from my usual blog articles which revolve around exploring a certain part of the translation act with accompanying examples, it is probably a more conventional use of a blogging space in that it more closely resembles the form of an opinion piece.

That said, however, it is something that still ties in very closely with the translation profession and helps to give a more well-rounded view of what it takes to be a translator. The topic of address for today is the use of Twitter as part of the professional translator’s working life.

In what was the biggest coincidence of my Monday, while I was thinking this post over I discovered that our friends over at Inbox Translation had actually covered the exact same topic in their latest blog and, while initially considering dropping the post all together, upon reading the post and seeing the different approach they had adopted as well as the different opinions held, I decided that it would actually be even more interesting to write this post in order for it to be read in tandem with the views of another fairly recently initiated twitterer. (Their article – ‘A Few Thoughts on Twitter’ – obviously shares some common ground but tackles interesting issues surrounding followers rather than the points I want to address)

Initially, despite the many recommendations I was given to create a professional twitter account, I was skeptical about what value it could offer – I was happily getting on with translation tasks without the aid of social media and (largely thanks to Facebook) I thought that it would perhaps prove more of a distraction than anything else. I was completely wrong.

While the translation act is obviously key for a professional translator, one cannot underestimate the importance of the translator as a human being and the importance of their mentality in a profession which can often leave members feeling lost in what can be a daunting and isolated role. Of course being alone, especially while working, is not a synonym for being lonely or isolated and for many people the benefits of being their own boss and not having to deal with annoying colleagues on a daily basis far outweighs this negative aspects, but it is important to get the balance right and this is where Twitter plays one of its trump cards.

Upon getting started you quickly discover a ready-made network of welcoming, professional and knowledgeable translators working in any number of language pairs who are going through or have dealt with the problems that you will undoubtedly face. While I am still fairly new to the freelancing game, it is now hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t involved in this network and the use of Twitter has greatly eased the transition into this new mode of working.

Yet beyond just a way of gathering reassurances while finding your way into an often unforgiving profession and fighting potential solitude, Twitter represents a site of opportunity for continual development for the already-established translator – I could honestly fill an entire day reading the fascinating articles shared on translation, linguistics and languages every day, and the discovery of many excellent translation blogs has opened up a new world of translation resources that I otherwise would have completely missed. Add to this an endless stream of humourous posts and pictures and the constant sharing of more traditional resources (tutorials, glossaries, termbanks etc.) and you really have a great tool.

While I am not going to address questions of how to use twitter or social media (many excellent articles are out there such as this ‘Practical Guide to Social Media for Translators’ or ‘Getting started with Twitter – A Translator’s Journey’) as I feel that it is a very personal topic based upon an individual’s desire to seek out additional information or connect with other like-minded professionals and their amount time free to invest, I personally feel that regular interaction within the professional group has greatly developed my understanding of the profession as well as providing a base to recharge when a five-minute break is sorely needed.

And what about it doing nothing more than adding yet another distraction to your working day? There is certainly the potential for this to be the case with the array of bits and pieces on offer, but this is true with just about everything on the internet – it just offers the same challenges of self-discipline as anything else and I have not found it to be a problem so far…

On a final note, I realise that a fair chunk of my blog traffic does indeed come from Twitter and as such I am preaching to the choir in many cases, but I would love to hear some different takes on this issue – whether sharing my opinions or in total opposition – and hopefully my views will convince a few of you out there to either take the Twitter plunge or dust off that hashtag key and give it another shot.

Before I head off here are ten of my favourite translation-based twitter accounts posting in a variety of languages; I have gained so much useful information from these guys over the course of the last few months, with regular blog updates and a constant stream of interesting articles being shared, and this is the least I can do to thank them. Here’s to you!

(edit – I have to add that there were so many other accounts that I could’ve easily included in this list and keeping it down to just ten was a real trial. In the end I pretty much went for the ten accounts that I seem to retweet most often)

@LinguaGreca                                                                      @InboxTranslate

@Smart_Translate                                                                 @qctranslator

@translartisan                                                                       @ALTA_USA

@sc_translations                                                                   @earthlang

@Scheherezade_SL                                                              @estrans

And finally, you definitely can’t go wrong in checking out each and every one of the Top 25 Language Twitterers 2013 if you’re looking for a few new faces to follow. Happy tweeting!