Elisabeth Kübler-Ross describes in her book On Death and Dying, which was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients, five stages of loss after the death of a loved one as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Based on my experience over the last 25 years as a translator on three continents, the ebb and tide of the flow of freelance translation work, often referred to as ” feast and famine”, only has three stages:
1) Way, Way Too Much Work,
2) Adequate Amount Of Work, and
3) No Work At All.
The problem is, a typical translator usually spends about 90% of his or her life in the mode of stage 1) or stage 3), while the mode of stage 2) is realistically achievable only about 10% of the time.
We all know what to do during stage 1. We have to sit on our behind in front of the computer and work and work until our daily quota has been met, usually late in the evening when the brain refuses to continue participating in the self-imposed torture, at which point we are so exhausted that the most we can do is perhaps watch us a little teevee before falling asleep.
No tips are needed for Stage 2 because we can do pretty much anything we want during this stage. But what can a freelance translator do during Stage 3 when nobody has any work for us, which inevitably follows Stage 1 when everybody needed our expert services right away or yesterday?
Fortunately, if you are a translator who also has a blog, you can find creative ways to waste your time that are not accessible to non-bloggers. I will attempt to suggest a few of them in this post.
For instance, you can take a look at the wonderful comments about how brilliant you are in your spam folder. I find it always so uplifting to read these comments. How I wish that other people would appreciate my incredibly accurate insight into the nature of things between the Earth and the Heaven as much as the commenters in my spam folder! Here is a sampling of some of the most recent comments in the spam folder of this blog.
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While I still try to keep functioning and doing a terrific job as I am balancing the delicate seesaw motion of uneven workflow, I also pay special attention to search engine terms found on my blog’s dashboard. Here is a sampling of some of the most recent search terms on my blog’s dashboard:
Make money instantly translator broker, threats in the translation industry, mad patent translator, translators dementia, differences between dogs and humans, jajo the rabbit outsourcing, can humans feel magnetic fields? what is an LSP? I know that you’re fake, when will machine translation replace humans? find a translator machine, translation agencies no experience, really stupid tips for idiots, cheapest trados, I hate trados [many times in different variants], human translator sex.
I have no idea how the last search item led to my blog, I have never written anything about human translators and sex (as opposed to machine translation and sex, I suppose), have I?
Although I probably should. It does seem to be a promising topic.
There are also other things that you can do with your blog to entertain yourself when nobody needs you to translate anything for them during the famine phase.
For instance, you can try to rank the most exciting comments on your blog in the last month. I received two marriage proposals during the last 2 or 3 weeks, one from Brazil, and one from Italy.
But when I looked at the profiles of those two translators who wanted to marry me [both are female, and unlike the fake commenters who encourage me to keep functioning, these commenters are real], I saw that they were much too old for me since they are almost as old as I am. Besides, I have been married for 28 years, which could be a problem. But still, it is exciting to receive comments like this considering that the last time I received a marriage proposal like this was when I was 16.
You can also look at the most popular and the least popular posts on your blog and try to figure out what happened, usually in vain.
The most popular post so far on my blog has been “Translator’s Dementia – What It is and How to Recognize the Signs”, 9,146 views as of now, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Trados or Other Translation Memory Tools” is a distant second with 1,501 views, and “Is Machine Translation a Threat to Human Translators?” is in third place with 1,438 views as of today.
You will inevitably find out that posts that you considered absolutely brilliant masterpieces, such as this one or this one, were total flops, while silly nonsense that you were writing after a shot of whisky before going to sleep have been received with much aplomb and admiration worldwide (such as the post about Dementia Translatoris).
I was going to continue this line of thought a little bit longer in this post, but as I try to keep the posts under 1,000 words and a Japanese patent for translation just magically appeared in my e-mail, I will have to continue wasting my time by writing about creative ways to waste your time if you have a blog next time.