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Found 8 results

  1. We've talked about filtering the noise around us, creating environments where we can focus, isolation, and even organization. Now, how does music blend together in all that? There are people who find it distracting, others have their mood soothed. Some do more work, others do less work. Today's article talks about exactly that and it comes down to one thing, mostly: Whether the music makes you feel better, or not. If you feel happy listening to the music, the improvement in your mood will help you act more creatively, and thus get more accomplished depending on your work. If the song or sound you are listening to is too provocative for you, then you will find it distracting and it will detract from your work. But that's a simple summarization. Check this out: And there is catch to all that: The article also makes an affiliative recommendation about an online app called Focus@Will , which is sort of streamlined music player. Just don't hold that definition on me, I'm saying this as I go and they must have their own definition. :P The heading in their main page says: "Scientifically optimized music to help you focus". So go with that. I checked them out and, frankly, I'd like to try it out. Maybe there alternatives out there, too? Let me know if you find any. For the full experience, read the article here and tell us what you think of it. Except you are probably your own boss around here.
  2. Your work environment represents a little bit of how your brain organizes things. A more organized environment benefits the feeling you get when thinking about your work. The same happens with your focus. When it comes to us freelancers, or people who work in the virtual world all day, it can be difficult to remain focused at all times on what they need to. So here are a few tips for you to be more organized and boost your productivity. This is useful if you know you get easily distracted by messages, notifications, etc. Not everyone is, but if you surround yourself with updates from various apps, you need to separate them from your work time. This was especially important for me. I always knew that, but sometimes I struggle a bit in keeping it up. As a freelancer, we are one-(wo)man armies. We are our marketing, our workforce, our payments agent, customer satisfaction specialist, everything, and depending on what you do you'll have more and more activities that pile up and blend together. It's important to try and keep them compartmentalised as much as possible, which takes us to the next tip. There might be applications that specific for doing this sort of thing. But any list will do. Physical might be better, on a paper note or a notebook. Could we make a working diary of daily activities for us? We can later on go back and see how much we accomplished each day. Neat idea! There is a concept called the Pomodoro Break - which we covered here at the forums before - that works on this principle. Check it out for more information. I work in high-intensity bursts. I get to do a lot of work in very little time, then rest for a bit (or a lot, depending on the previous intensity) before getting back to it. I get to do more than I would if working continuously, and a I beta lot of people would too. I used Toggl at first for tracking that, but now I work entirely on instincts. Maybe something like that will do for you? While a partner may come in many forms, chances are good that you'll be needing translators to help you out. Well, you should consider yourself lucky because Smartcat is the right place to find freelancers willing to help you. If you want to have people working as partners, helping each other out, you can start a topic right here at the forum and see who might be interested. Or, you can find translators on the Marketplace itself and hire them as mercenar... Ahem, fellow translators, for helping you out. Now you can safely accept those 2 billion words project without feeling guilty or overburdened. ^^ You can read the original article in which those tips showed up here.
  3. Today I'm going to talk about something significantly different than most shares, yet continuing on the topic of productivity. I've found a very interesting article from Tania Luna and Jordan Cohen. They talk about a characteristic that induces people to choose one path over another. Here's the basic idea of it: What a lovely pun. Now, you tell me this isn't amazingly fun to imagine. People come to an orange and tell themselves: "bah, this is too difficult to handle. I'm better of without the effort." xD In any case, the articles goes on to state numerous ways in which reducing this characteristic, friction, has been responsible for helping people make positive changes in their work environment, their lives... Or reversely, by introducing friction into an activity, help people deviate from an unwanted path or action. Interesting to note: good behaviors may actually be discouraged in some places and companies by making it harder for the person to act on those behaviors. But we are mostly freelancers, right? Let's use examples that we can relate to. Imagine you want to do more physical activities. Perhaps you enjoy biking. You really miss the times you went biking for hours on end. Thing is, in order to go biking in these freelancing days of yours you need to get at least 30 minutes of preparation, you need to let everyone in your environment know you are going out, you need to log off every instant messaging app you have, you need to make sure it isn't raining outside, you need to carry your bike from a very hard-to-get spot, and you need to travel with it by foot until you find a spot which isn't crowded. That's an awful lot of friction for something good that you want back in your life. So what do you do? You: Get your uniform set and separated the day before; Store your bike in a more accessible spot; Set up a schedule for biking every day, at a specific time; Check the forecast and plan ahead; Go traveling to your biking spot by car, if you can; Or even better, you buy a stationary bicycle. That's the entire principle of reducing friction in order to encourage a positive behavior. Much in the same way, you can reduce your bad habits by introducing friction. So let's say you want to stop smoking, by starting with smoking less. Here's what you can do: Place your pack far away from, maybe even on another room; Put inside a box, within a box, within a box; Let's say you hate passwords. Lock the box with a password lock. Place the box in a hard to reach-spot, such as on top of a shelf, or under a sofa, or bed; Place it outside your home, so you need to unlock your doors, go out, then back in and lock everything again (make sure you are safe, please); Just some ideas. So that's the entire principle of adding and removing friction in order to incentive or discourage behavior from yourself. You can read the full article on friction here. Additionally, if you want to make going to work harder, use Coca-Cola as fuel for your car. Still in the spirit of good behaviors and productivity, you can also watch this video over here on how to find more time in your day (for employees, but you might be able to make connections to your own workflow, I'm sure).
  4. Today I'm going to share a simple concept. It's short and to the point, but its benefits are not comparable to the length of this post. Coming from a guest post by Alexander Cordova on LeavingWorkBehind.com, he talks about the Pomodoro Break technique in order maintain your focus during work-hours and get more done in less time. That's all there is to it. Some people like to take a longer break after a few cycles of continuous work. Something along 20 to 30 minutes. That's often time for lunch, or doing some other home-related activity. The 5 minutes are meant to relax, so you shouldn't be doing anything but relax. Such as not stressing over an email, an instant message, notifications, anything on your computer that is related to work. Preferentially, you'll get up from your chair, stretch, go walk around, or look out the window somewhere very far in order to rest your eyes (very important for someone who works the long hours in front of a monitor screen). And the 25 minutes are meant to be time to focus exclusively on work, too. So no social-mediaing, no Kongregate, no unrelated stuff. The intent you place on focusing for a short period of time does not create the sensation of impossibility on your part, it's just 25 minutes after all, while the break time is your depressurization valve that you can look forward to, if you are not thrilled about your current task. He goes on to mention some of the techniques he also uses for and together with Pomodoro. He then shares with us a few of the apps that you can use, beyond the ones already mentioned, for tracking the cycles. Go check his post to see them all and bunch of other interesting links too. In addition, I know Toggl is also viable. Along side the Pomodor technique, waking up earlier than everyone else has been extremely effective for me. Starting to work at 5 or 6 AM, finishing your work way earlier than usual and having a whole day ahead to work on everything else you want to is an amazing sensation. Experiment with it. It won't hurt. The Noisli recommendation worked phenomenally with me, who works in a considerably loud environment. Then, let us know what you thought of it.
  5. Today I'm sharing a post from Sherif Abuzid, on TOM, where he talks about some of the practices that translators can observe from translation agencies and replicate to their own benefit. Without further ado, these four things are: He expands on them. I like the idea of considering freelancers as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a mouthful, but it's one of my favorite words. In reality though, most translators do not treat themselves as a serious business. Which makes it harder for others to treat them like that as well. These are simple lessons, and we covered them already in our various conversations, yet there's always room for one more little reminder. Sometimes we need to be reminded just enough times for it to break the barrier of inaction. Would you add any lessons to that list? What have you been consistently doing from this list already?
  6. As linguists we are often interested to see the latest technologies, the best tools available, the best techniques, 7 amazing features that will increase your client base by 3%... But there are way simpler practices that can already help you achieve a greater satisfaction and performance. I'm talking about resting. This guest post by Louise Taylor, from Tomedes, talks about the benefits of taking regular breaks and resting your mind. And I totally agree with it. I have proven myself over and over that recentering, regular breaks, and proper sleep have always improved my work. Combined with that, waking up earlier than everyone else works well too (fewer distractions, and a sense of... being ahead). If you want to take regular breaks, a 25 minutes of work/5 minutes of break works nicely. You can track that with an alarm clock, but there are apps specific for this. The one I know of is called Toggl. On those breaks, stretch yourself, look at the distance or close your eyes. This will also help you prevent physical issues such as arthritis and macular degeneration of the eye. Also, in the matter of sleep, I know an app called Sleep Cycle that wakes you up when you are not slumbering into a deep sleep. In other words, it wakes you up at the right time so you feel more energetic. Share your tips below, or just leave your comment on how productivity is linked to better sleep and focus to regular breaks!
  7. I was taking a look at this post from Atlas Translations and they included a 12-points list on how to make a difference in one's business through translation related activities. While the post itself was focused on company owners, freelancers are company owners themselves, they own their own business. So I figured we could make use of some of these tips, with some repurposing. Firstly, there is something nice which the author said that gave me some new thoughts: In the spirit of ticking things off, there is a free game called Habitica which rewards you (in-game) for completing your real life goals. It's a great way to have some fun (especially in groups!) while keeping yourself accountable, and also have a better vision of your priorities. Now, on to the tips themselves. 1) Research the area around you. It's easy to neglect that because we are always so focused on our internet business that we forget how potent face-to-face interactions can be. For instance, you may find that there are companies in your region that would like to expand their business but they don't know how, or they constantly order products that come in a foreign language, and they need someone to translate it. Looking at the people around you can be an unexpected yet powerful way to acquire new clients--that no one else is able to help. 2) Have something to convince them. Plenty of businesses would gain some benefit from translation, they just don't recognize it. Not everyone has global mindset, not everyone can see opportunities in plain sight, so be an entrepreneur yourself and have something to show these people what they're missing by now hiring your services (Ahem, by now working with translations I mean). A chart, a white paper, some case studies, or simply a smart and efficient way of communicating can go a long way on that. 3) Research your colleagues. That's not about copying others, but sometimes people from totally different specializations and language pairs have amazing ideas that you could be applying on your business as well. Be that a specific technology, a marketing practice, or a clever way to do business. Don't be a copycat, but do learn from others! Agencies can teach you a thing or two as well. 4) Research the marketplace. That's another thing easy to neglect: can you sell your services to more than one country? Maybe there are clients that would love to reach you, but for some reason they can't--payment methods aren't available, they don't have a proper internet connection, they don't know how to reach you... But you might be able to help them in some way, and make some new friends. 5) Translate your website. If you own a website (or a translation group) wouldn't it be smart to have translations for it? You work with that, after all! Maybe your friends can help you on that, maybe you can invest some money into translating a sales page, or you happen to be able to work on another language with the help of Machine Translation. Either way, you may be missing out on good opportunities by now having translations on your website, especially if you sell to more than one language pair! 6) Use analytics to learn more about the traffic you get. How many of you actually bother about knowing who visits your profile pages? What about reaaally knowing them? By being introspective and using the right tools, you can find out that most of your work is coming from an unexpected region or country, or that you are pushing certain kinds of clients away by a misuse of words! Analyze your data. 7) Make your website globalization-friendly. Remember that we deal with a global audience all the while. You should avoid having ambiguous content that could potentially be offensive to certain cultures if possible. You can ask a friend especialized in localizations, or the translators themselves who work on setting up your website in multiple languages. 8 ) Be aware of the trends. 9) List prices in various currencies. You're likely already working with multiple currencies, and there are numerous ways to convert money these days. Save your clients the effort and list those prices in more currencies! 10) Understand the internet. I'm not a huge fan of SEO myself, but there are numerous free techniques that one can use for making it simpler and more efficient to search engines to find you, and for people to understand and remember you. So invest some time in learning how it works and make use of them. You don't need to take a degree on SEO to make great progress in little time. 11) Make voluntary translations. When reaching out to new groups, you need authority, experience, and contacts, and performing voluntary translations is a great way to acquiring it all. 12) Have a blog, vary your content! Blogs are great ways to show the world what you think, build authority, relax, and make new friends. If you are a video person, think about creating a great video presentation in your sales page, or simply talking about the business in general. Participate in webinars. Write a book. Start a community forum topict! That's what I have today. I hope it gives you some new ideas. @Fleur Depriester, maybe you can share some thoughts on a few simple tactics to SEO?
  8. Just wrote a post about gamifying translation-related tasks: https://www.smartcat.ai/blog/2017/01/11/translators-gamify-habitica. Share your ideas for gamification of translation in comments, and looking forward to seeing you in the Guild!