Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A translator’s typical Bank Holiday weekend?

How do we achieve the perfect weekend? And how do you prefer to spend a long Bank Holiday weekend? My own Bank Holiday weekend went like this:

Come Friday evening, and I was knackered. Knackered because of a whole week’s full-time translation work and everything that entails: reading, thinking, typing, re-writing, revising, dealing with enquiries, invoicing. So on Friday evening, again, I could not bring myself to do a lot – just relax.

Saturday morning, as almost always, saw me participating in my local parkrun at Pomphrey Hill. No weekend to me ever feels complete without parkrun! It provides a welcome opportunity to “run off” the stresses of the past week and meet other local runners for a chat.

In the evening, while on my way with my husband to the Alma Tavern Theatre in Bristol to watch the very excellent “Beyond the Brink” performance by Remania Productions (with yet another out-of-this-world performance by Colin Smith on the keys!), I picked up an email about an urgent project from a long-standing client.

This could have seen me change my weekend plans from one minute to the next as it presented the opportunity to participate in a (tempting!) translation project from Sunday morning. I can see the point that checking emails at weekends is generally not advisable: it gives the impression to clients that you’re always there, always available and always working.

Yet, if it feels right to you to check emails at weekends too, why not? I did reply to my client’s email, although I did not then participate in the project. In any case, I think it is lovely to know that there is always a lot of translation work around. And I am free to decide when I want to work and when not, and how much work I want to take on.

As a translator who loves her job, I am also almost always in translation mode! So on Sunday morning I seized the opportunity to first revise a translation of patent claims on paper, which I had already printed off a couple of days before. Then I also had a quick look through the German translation of an (older) English post for this blog.

As a minimalist, I so often think that you really don’t need (and often even don’t need to spend) much to experience a serene, thoroughly fulfilling day: after helping out with teas and coffees at one of the churches in my community, a few lovely chats and then having lunch with my family at home, I set off on a bike ride to Bath on the scenic Bristol-to-Bath cycle track. Everyone else was busy, so I enjoyed going on my own.

An afternoon such as this one – spent simply and differently from what I usually do during the week – can feel luxurious: cycling and enjoying some beautiful scenery; spending an hour or so in a stylish, eclectic eatery (as the Chapel Arts Café in Bath is currently closed, I chose Prêt-à-Manger instead); finishing my current book whilst treating myself to a few special things to eat and drink; and watching the world go by for a bit before heading back home again.

I started working again on (Bank Holiday) Monday in the afternoon.

In a nutshell: a translator’s typical Bank Holiday weekend can be a mixture of lots of different activities, from exercise to indulging your senses, which help recharge your batteries. But it can also consist of work. And translation work on a Bank Holiday weekend often doesn't even feel wrong!