Sunday, 30 April 2023

Vlog #2: Does machine translation impact human translators?

As ChatGPT has just arrived on the scene, I've chosen artificial intelligence and machine translation as a topic to talk about in another vlog.


Does the widespread use of machine translation these days impact the work of human translators?

Is artificial intelligence a threat to the translation profession?

And do human translators use machine translation and tools like ChatGPT in their work?


Watch my latest video post, in which I'm sharing some thoughts on these and other questions:

Here are the blog posts which I'm referring to in the vlog:

4 April 2022: My 10 translation workflow stages

17 February 2022: The translation workflow stage that should never be omitted

1 February 2020: Why translators don’t fear the machines

12 December 2020:  The hallmarks of a good translator

30 April 2019: Human translation simply explained 

27 January 2018:  Machine translation in human translation workflows

12 September 2017: DeepL: Tool or threat for translators? 


Thanks so much for watching my second vlog, and do stay tuned!

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Vlog #1: Hello and thank you!

Welcome to my first vlog!

Video blogging (or vlogging) has been on the rise in recent years, so I've decided to jump on this bandwagon, too.

I have therefore just had a go at creating my first vlog, which you can watch here:

Here are the posts about Google search operators and AutoHotkey, which I've mentioned in my vlog:

3 March 2021:  Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)

18 March 2021:  Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 2)


9 November 2022: Getting started with AutoHotkey

1 October 2020: Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 1) 

25 July 2021: Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 2) 

15 January 2022: Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 3)

Note that I'm a complete newbie to vlogging, video creation and video editing, so please bear with me as I'm teaching myself the ropes and learning how to do this.


Do stay tuned for further blogs and vlogs!

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Christmas 2022 donation to Sustrans

In the same minimalist vein as in previous years I have once again, instead of spending money on Christmas cards, made a Christmas donation to a charity this year.



As a regular user (and lover) of the Bristol-to-Bath cycle path (as mentioned in previous blog entries here or here), I’ve donated to Sustrans, a British charity and the custodian of the National Cycle Network. Sustrans, which is headquartered in Bristol, provides and cares for a UK-wide network of signed cycling and walking paths, connecting cities, towns and countryside, where everyone can thrive.


The Bristol-to-Bath cycle path was constructed on the track bed of the former Midland Railway, which closed for passenger traffic at the end of the 1960s. Between 1979 and 1986, the railway line was converted into the railway path. The delights encountered on the path include public artworks, disused railway station buildings, spectacular views of the countryside and attractive resting places.


The Bristol-to-Bath cycle path was constructed
on the track bed of the former Midland Railway

Sustrans provides and cares for a UK-wide network of signed
cycling and walking paths, connecting cities, towns and countryside

Donations to Sustrans, which will contribute towards creating safe and accessible paths and spaces for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users, can be made here.


May I take this opportunity to wish all followers of my blog a serene, peaceful Christmas and a productive, healthy new year!

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Getting started with AutoHotkey

Getting started with AutoHotkey is easy. Simply follow the 6 steps below. Once you’ve defined your first hotstring, you won’t want to live without AutoHotkey afterwards!


(Note: AutoHotkey only runs on Windows, so your computer has to be a Windows computer.)

Step 1:
Download AutoHotkey from onto your computer and install it.

Step 2:
Right-click on your desktop, select “New”, then select “AutoHotkey Script”. You can change the name of your AutoHotkey file if you like.

Step 3:
Right-click your AutoHotkey file on your desktop and open it in Notepad or any plain text editor.

Step 4:
Ignore the first few lines of text that already are in your AutoHotkey file. Type your first script underneath. To begin with, you could use this script, for example (or use your own name!):

::dd::Donald Duck


Note: there must be no spaces between the colons, your abbreviation and Donald Duck!

Step 5:
Save your AutoHotkey file.

Step 6:
Activate your script by double-clicking the AutoHotkey file on your desktop.
(Remember to carry out this step every time you add a new script to your AutoHotkey file.)


And that’s it! You’ve just defined your first hotstring in AutoHotkey. The script is now running on your computer. The next time you type “dd”, it will automatically be expanded to “Donald Duck”.


You may add as many hotstrings underneath in your AutoHotkey file as you like. Find abbreviations that will be easy for you to remember, for example:

::dd::Donald Duck
::tte::Thomas the Tank Engine
::lrrh::Little Red Riding Hood
::ppl::Pippilotta Rollgardinia Victualia Peppermint Longstocking

Note: when you double-click your AutoHotkey file the next time, the following message will appear: “An older instance of this script is already running. Replace it with this instance?” Click “Yes”.

Once you’ve defined your first hotstring,
you won’t want to live without
AutoHotkey afterwards

(Image by Tommmy_ on Pixabay)


Do check out my other blog posts about AutoHotkey, in which I share many more useful scripts for translators and writers. They will help you save precious time on routine computer tasks!


Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 1)

Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 2)

Working more efficiently with AutoHotkey (part 3)

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Book recommendation: “Deep Work” by Cal Newport

Are you frustrated because your work often seeps into your evenings or weekends? Are you on the lookout for new ways to get more done?

If so, I warmly recommend “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. It is a book that will help you create a productive and serene work environment. It is brimming with actionable ideas for working with great(er) intensity and is, ultimately, all about protecting your time.


What is deep work?

Deep work, as defined by Cal Newport, is a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and work with the concentration required for serious and cognitively demanding work. The opposite of deep work is shallow work.

Shallow work consists of non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, which are easy to replicate, such as spending too much time on unimportant emails, social media posturing etc. Such activities should be steered clear of or at least minimised, as they have little impact on your bottom line or your well-being.


Deep work: good for your bottom line, good for your well-being

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we feel most fulfilled after we have stretched our minds and abilities, for which he coined the term “flow state”. It explains why deep work feels so immensely satisfying:

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

But deep work doesn’t just feel satisfying; it is also the antidote to the frantic blur of shallow tasks and frazzled attention spans that characterise our modern, computerised world. Deep work is valuable, and it is meaningful.

Downtime facilitates insights and solutions to job-related problems 

By embracing deep work and thereby countering distractions, you’ll even be able to wrap up your day’s work earlier and enjoy more downtime. What’s more, Cal Newport argues that if you allow your conscious brain to rest, you empower your unconscious mind to begin sorting through your most complex professional problems.

For me as a translator, complex professional problems typically are tricky-to-translate terms or difficult-to-phrase sections in a text. Carving out downtime accordingly increases the likelihood that while I’m enjoying time away from work, the solution to a professional problem might suddenly pop into my head.

Working creatively with intelligent machines

Cal Newport interestingly makes reference to intelligent machines, which is also why I recommend “Deep Work” to knowledge workers as food for thought! Artificial intelligence is a hotly debated topic in the translation industry, where intelligent machines are disapproved of by some and welcomed by others.

Deep work equates to being ruthless

So how do you go deep in our chronically distracted and overwhelming world? Cal Newport suggests several strategies, all described in the book. One he recommends is the ruthless prioritisation of particular tasks, so you’ll inevitably be hard to reach for set periods of time.

The ideas put forward in books like “Deep Work” are useful to me in that they help me explain (and sometimes even defend!) my style of work towards my family, friends and colleagues. For I am either hard to reach or cannot be reached at all while I’m working or am up against a deadline. It is a deliberate decision on my part not to check my phone or answer non-work-related messages during such periods.

The book to my mind has only one drawback: Newport focuses tightly on his own university environment, and various suggested strategies therefore aren’t universally applicable to all our individual work environments. As he’s written “Deep Work” with his professor’s hat on, sections of the first part of the book are rather abstract; however, the second part is more accessible and practical.


If you’re looking for new ways to get more done in less time and create a productive, distraction-free and serene work environment, “Deep Work” by Cal Newport is the book for you! It sets out how to refine your ability to work with great intensity and, importantly, how to protect your time.


Cal Newport is a professor of computer science at Georgetown University. In addition to his academic research, he writes articles and blog posts on the intersection of digital technology and culture. Check out his long-running and popular blog, “Study Hacks”, here


I’ve previously published a blog post about “Digital Minimalism”, another brilliant bestselling book by Cal Newport, here.