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Jane Ruessmann

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Jane Ruessmann last won the day on January 10

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About Jane Ruessmann

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  • Birthday 06/01/61

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  1. Considerations on gender-neutral language

    I was very pleased to see this topic addressed, as it is one that I am struggling with right at this moment in my current translation assignment. In my case, translating from German into English, I am faced with the difficulty that German has not yet moved on to a more gender-neutral way of expressing things. The male form is very predominant. Although the writer adds a generous footnote to say that all the male job titles (e.g. the German equivalent of 'salesman', etc.) do of course also apply to the female version, the document is nevertheless littered with the word 'he' which I don't want to translate like for like into English. I will of course need to leave a comment to explain to the client that this would no longer be acceptable in the English-speaking world. I am using 'they' quite often and, in one case, where two specific case studies have been described, I have made one a 'he' and the other a 'she'! Any feedback would be appreciated.
  2. Do you call yourself a freelancer?

    Funnily enough, I have never actually described myself as a freelancer. If people ask, I just say I am a translator and I work from home, and my business card says "Professional translation, transcription and proofreading". I think that makes it quite clear.
  3. I totally agree with point 1. Having spent a year as a Project Manager in a Translations Agency, I know the kind of pressure the PMs are put under; a fast response was something we always appreciated, to the extent that we would often prefer working with translators who replied to our emails quickly. Now, as a full-time translator again, I try to reply to emails immediately, even if it's only to say "Sorry, no more capacity this week!" or "I'm just out with the dog, but will take a look in 15 minutes when I get back!". And then I make sure that I do. Point 2 is an interesting one. I agree but it does depend on the culture. With my main clients, who are German, I have to tread carefully as they are not known for small talk. I think it is viewed as a waste of time, but I often sneak in a little friendly comment or a smiley at the right moment and I have the feeling this goes down well, even if they don't always reciprocate!
  4. Very interesting reading. On the point about output - I can't see why there is a need to "push the profession into five-digit figures". If a translator (like me) can earn quite a reasonable living producing 2-3,000 high-quality words a day and maintaining a good work-life balance, why is there a need to up this? Also, I would add that output is heavily influenced by the content of the piece. With a familiar subject, it's easy to work at speed, but one can occasionally have a translation of only 2-300 words which requires lots of research and uses up an totally disproportionate amount of time.
  5. Why catching your own typos is difficult

    Very interesting theme and very important too. I have found that taking that extra time to scrutinise your work will improve your reputation and get you more work in the long run. I like the tip about changing the font or colour to make the content less familiar. I have a couple of tips too. One is to leave the work for a while (ideally overnight) and then come back to it, and then READ IT OUT LOUD! This is how I usually pick up any errors which I have overlooked.
  6. Whilst translators do have a tough time, I have to say that the people I really feel sorry for are the young, ambitious (and soon-to-be overworked, stressed and disillusioned) project managers in the various translation agencies. I recently did the job myself for a year and, whilst I learned a lot, I am very glad to be back on the other side as a translator, working from home and making my own decisions about the workload I take on. Testing out life on the other side also gave me a greater understanding of the kind of pressure they are put under by their managers, so I am always very kind to them, reply to their emails immediately and try to deliver great quality work, bang on time! Working in an agency, it was interesting to see the range of rates on our database, with some translators setting their rates far too low. This had the consequence that they got lots of work but many others were then deemed too expensive. We were routinely instructed not to use translators above a certain rate or even to ask them to reduce their rates!
  7. "I can’t" vs "I chose not to"

    A couple of thoughts on your very interesting contribution. Mommy translators are only being realistic and I think that is very sensible of them. If they try to work longer hours, the quality of their work may suffer through the possible distractions, their children will then suffer from having a grumpy mum, and then Mum will suffer because she will feel guilty that she was trying to fit in too much and was grumpy to her kids. Surely it's better to do a limited amount and feel happy with what you have done and feel content that your kids are getting a good deal too. In general, I think it's important that people stop saying 'I haven't got time' and switch to 'It's not a priority for me - my priorities lie elsewhere' and own up to this. There's nothing wrong with saying 'It's more important to me right now to spend time with my kids when they get home at 3, so I stop work then'. Referring to 'Everyone has a goal in life' - this can also change as you get older. Goals you had when you were 25 can seem totally unimportant when you are 40, and at 56 (my age now), you may find that you don't have very many long term goals at all in the conventional sense but rather smaller and quieter goals.
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