My one year relocation adventure – the verdict

Midnight in Scandinavia, not very long ago.

Midnight in Scandinavia, not very long ago.

Most of you have already read some of the reports from my year back home in Sweden. Now that I have been back in the US for four weeks I keep getting the question: How was it?

From a business standpoint it was extremely good, and something I hope to do again soon. I am, after all a Swedish translator located in the US, and the more I immerse myself in my native tongue, the better, but a year seemed so short. It was not until the last few months that I had figured out how to run my business sin Sweden and what I would have done if I had stayed; which courses to take, where to have my office, which conferences to attend, which companies to contact, etc. However, many of my US clients are glad that I am back in “their” time zone. Personally, I am glad to be back where I use the same currency for both income and expenses.

I did have time to take several writing courses and editing courses, attended three conferences and made a few good contacts among colleagues, which all can be chalked up to an invaluable year.

That said, it was a lot of hard work to arrange everything, especially since the whole family went, including pets, and owning a house that needed to be rented out. The year inevitably became more expensive than a normal year due to travels, moving, different currencies and such. The hardest thing, however, is to return back here and leave my family and my culture behind again, much harder than when going there on vacation.

I am also very happy that my children and my husband could spend a year in my language and culture. They came back with a better understanding for where I come from and my children are basically fluent in Swedish after a year in a Swedish school. This opens up many opportunities for them in the future. They are very happy to be back in a familiar school system and with their friends, but both thought it was worthwhile and a fun year. Now they also have friends in Sweden to visit during the summers.

Now I am back and translating away as usual. I am planning for the ATA Annual conference this fall, continuing education and presentations. After being back for four weeks, and having had 3-4 week vacation before that, it is just like I never left. It is business as usual and nothing could be better than that.

Business blog diary – time in Sweden is running out

There is now three months left of my 14 month stay here in Sweden. The tickets back to the US are booked, vacation plans are nailed down and we have something going on every weekend from now until we leave. It is quite an exhausting schedule but fun at the same time. My children are still enjoying their stay here, but miss some things from the US, such as their friends of course, but also the school system they are used to, the dance and theater schools they went to and such. My daughter said that she is longing for home so we can have a weekend where we do not go anywhere or have visitors. I guess it is time to slow down a bit.

There are many translation and industry conferences I would still like to attend still, but I have decided to stay locally for the rest of the time and attend and some local networking events. Spring is here and everything is blooming, which is also making me long for vacation. The summer months will mostly be spent on fun family events and travelling, in between focusing on the main work. I will take up some business planning and marketing tasks again once I am settled back into my office in the US.

After 10 months here, I have discovered things I would do if I stayed. There is a co-working office close by with extremely affordable rents. I would certainly rent a space there that. I would also sign up to become a trainer for the national exercise club “Friskis & Svettis”, and enjoy my favorite past time activity even more. I could also sign up for more memberships and become more involved here. BUT, I am not staying here and will move back and pursue my business and interests from Park City, Utah instead. Perhaps I will find the same possibilities there.

Business is going well and I am booked a month out already, which is a nice feeling. Having these long term translation projects makes it easier to plan the balance between work and leisure, which I find very important. I am busy translating internal marketing communication documents and software, plus some small clinical trials assignments.

What are your plans for the summer? Are you working? Travelling? Please share.

Spring in Sweden - a walk in the woods

Spring in Sweden – a walk in the woods

The Swedish vacation and the power of taking an extended vacation

 

A goat grazing in the Tuileries in Paris

Some of you might already know that the Scandinavian people, and even people in most of Europe, take an extended vacation during the summer. This year I was following suit and took a five week vacation from the translation business. Such a long break has both advantages and disadvantages. Granted, my extended vacation was partly out of necessity, since I relocated to Stockholm, Sweden with my family for a year. The move took time and we took the opportunity to also travel across Europe by train for almost four weeks. Now I am settled in my new office at home in Stockholm, with a new time zone, but otherwise my business basically runs the same way. Thanks to Google voice and some trusted friends in Park City, I have been able to keep my business address and phone number and bank accounts so that the customers will not have to change anything in the way they do business with me.

The advantages of taking a long time off is that I have time for the “rest” of my life, to gain some perspective and to spend time with my family. I did not even bring a computer with during our eurail trip, just a phone and only had access to email throughy the free, very spotty, wireless access points around in the cities. This was a great way to disconnect and let go of my work, plus letting go of always being visible online. However, I could not help noticing the many signs and menus with bad translations all over Europe. It is a bummer that I did not document them with pictures.

One of the disadvantages with such a long vacation is the lack of income. This requires some planning and saving, at least for people who are the main household providers. It is also harder to get back into the routine after being gone from work that long, and a fasing-in period is recommended.

Now I am looking forward to working from Sweden. I will be more active with the Swedish Association for Professional Translators, take some writing classes, give some presentations etc. I also look forward to connecting with all my colleagues online again, and in person, if that opportunity presents itself.

Easter – A big (non religious?) Swedish tradition

It is Easter in Sweden, and while this does not have anything to do with translation or business, I thought I would share some tidbits about this big Swedish holiday. Despite being so big, it is not necessarily a very religious one. Many of the traditions and customs of the Swedish Easter can be traced back to religious origins, but they do not have a profound religious meaning for the modern day Swede.  Personally I believe many of the customs have started from the sheer joy of welcoming the spring and chasing out the evil spirits from the dark period of the year.

Yellow – the color of Easter in Sweden, comes from chickens, daffodils and yellow feathers

Påskris (Easter sprigs) – Twigs decorated with fake feathers and eggs is a big decorative item in Swedish homes over Easter.

Påskkärringar (Easter Witches) – This is perhaps the most peculiar tradition over Easter and the one most estranged from religious origins. Folklore alleges that witches flew off on broomsticks to dance with the devil at Blåkulla. On Maundy Thursday, modern Swedish children dress up as påskkärringar (Easter hags) paint their faces, carry a broom and knock on neighbor’s doors for treats, much like American children do at Halloween.

Easter Table – The Swedish family will sit down to an ample feast in the afternoon on the Eve of Easter. On the table you find eggs, lamb, janssons temptation, herring and much more.  The food represent the fertility of the spring and the rebirth of the year after the long winter.

Bonfires – In some regions in Sweden, and especially in the Swedish speaking parts of Finland, people gather around a large bonfire over easter. Some say they are to scare off the evil influences of the Easter hags and their journey to Blåkulla. Others take the opportunity to clear gardens for the coming spring.

Not many people go to church anymore over Easter in Sweden, even though most people are aware of the resurrection and why Easter is celebrated in the religious world. Nordstjernan, has a nice article about the Swedish Easter, with pictures of both Easter Witches and Easter Twigs. With that I would like to wish everyone celebrating Easter “Glad Påsk!”

 

New Blog Name – The Business of Translation

After blogging for almost two years now, and reading countless other translation blogs, I have been encouraged to give my blog a proper name. This process did not come easy and required consultation with peers and some research. The result is the name “The Business of Translation”. Most blog posts are about the business of translation, geared towards both fellow translators, translation companies and clients. I hope you enjoy it; thank you for all your interest, comments and sharing.

What my yoga teacher taught me about entrepreneurship

Freelance translators are entrepreneurs and business people whether they like it or not. Being an entrepreneur can be challenging, especially when we have to get out of our comfort zone. I practice Baptiste Power Yoga, mostly to destress and get some exercise, but Yoga can also be applied in about entrepreneurship. People who have taken classes by Baron Baptiste are urged to “Be a Yes”, i.e. to think you can and to get out of your comfort zone. This is very important when running your own business. If you want to develop and grow, you have to “Be a Yes”, you have to take risks and chances and believe in yourself. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right!

Each yoga class I am also urged to set an intention for the practice. This reminds me to set an intention for my translation business too. What do I want to achieve? In business terms it is also called “goal setting”, but for some reason it is easier to think of and practice through yoga. Another lesson that Baron Baptiste and his teachers are sharing is to accept your situation as it is right now. You are in a perfect place right now. If we can do that, then it is easier to develop, than if we feel disappointed in ourselves, or in our situation, and criticize ourselves or our business situation.

OK, enough rambling about yoga. I just had to share how yoga has helped me in my translation business. Namaste!

Translators – How other people view us and how we view ourselves

A friend shared this with me on Facebook today and I think it hits the spot. The picture was posted on “Translators do it better” and I believe it was created by Anna Fock and Xenia Escapade. Do you agree?

As if it is not enough to battle the perception of us, we also have to battle negotiation with clients and customers. Doesn’t it feel like this sometimes? Click on the link to find out:

The Vendor Client Relationship

Versatile Blogger Award

I am grateful and honored to be awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by Ewa Erdmann, a Polish and English translator and blogger at Transliteria, one of my favorite new blogs in the translation and freelance business field. Thank you! This is an honor to share, so here it goes:

Official rules of the award

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to maximum 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Seven things about me:

  1. I am a Swedish expatriate living up in the mountains in Park City, UT, USA
  2. I became a freelance translator in 2002 and have never looked back. I love what I do.
  3. My educational and professional backgroudn is in marketing and I enjoy using these skills in my business, plus sharing them with other translators.
  4. I love the outdoors and run, hike, ski, bike as often as I can.
  5. The little free time I have is devoted to my family, my friends, excercise and doing pet therapy at the hospital with my dog.
  6. I have always loved languages and different cultures. I have lived in 5 different countries and used to know 6 different languages.
  7. I enjoy socializing with likeminded people both in person and online, and social media is my new passion

There are many, many good blogs that I read. When passing on this award, however, I will limit the scope by focusing on blogs that I have just discovered, and that are fairly new blogs within my area, freelance translation business.

My nominated new blogs are:

 

 

 

Have you heard about Interlingua – The language you already understand?

I was reading one of my favorite language journals from Sweden, called “Språktidningen” when I discovered an ad for Interlingua, a language you already understand. Here is an excerpt from Interlingua:

Interlingua non es un lingua artificial, sed un registration del vocabulario de origine latin que es commun a italiano, espaniol, portugese, francese, anglese, germano e russo. Comprensibile a 600 milliones sin studio – con su grammatica minimalisate facile pro totos.

Did you understand it? I did! It is fascinating how much our languages are based on Latin after all, and that we by using the Latin roots can form a language that many of us, from different languages, cultures and countries can understand. If Interlingua would become more common we translators just might lose our jobs. 😉

More information can be found at www.interlingua.com. Enjoy!

Personality traits of translators

Do you remember the first time you attended a conference or event for translators? Did you feel “at home” and that you had so much to talk about with the other attendees? I know I did, and not only because we shared the same profession. I truly believe that professional translators who enjoy their job share quite a
few personality traits. Here are a few that I can think of.

1. Curious

We translators are curious, we want to learn and find out, not only
things in a specific area, but in general. I recently received a translation
project dealing with research in peace and conflict resolution. I was thrilled
to learn more about this through translating and researching. Many translators
are as a result of this also well educated.

2. Detail oriented

We want to find just the right word and just the right way to say
something, and we usually dig deep until we find this. This is also an
important trait for proofreading. We read the whole sentence, not skipping one
single word, and find the things that ought to be adjusted.

3. Disciplined

Many of us work independently as freelancers and have to manage our own
time and work schedule. Deadlines help, but it takes discipline to sit by the
computer to finish a project when your family or friends are calling you to get
out and “play”. It also takes discipline to allocate those extra hours in your
day to marketing, upkeep etc.

4. Business savvy

Part of our discipline ties into our business knowledge. We know that we
run our own little business and that we have to be responsible to our customers
and treat them right in order to make them come back. We know that each
interaction is part of our long term marketing and we try to be as professional
and service oriented as possible.

5. Technical

I know, translation is an art, but in today’s world most translator have
to be at least a little technical in order to survive. We work on computers,
communicate through email, use different computer tools in our daily work and we
have to be able to back up our work, solve minor technical issues and
communicate electronically.

6. Self-confident and driven

It takes hard work and time to find customers; especially the ideal
customer, and we need to be able to trust our competence in order to keep going
sometimes. We need to be able to handle a few rejections, set goals and work
towards them.

These are a few personality traits that seem common in many translators.
The interesting thing is that I have also heard about things that many of us do
NOT like to do, such as accounting, invoicing, taxes etc. I know that is true
for me, but I do it anyway, or find someone else that can do this for me so I
can focus on what I like to do, translate. What other personality traits do you
think are common for translators and other linguists? Please share!

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