A Day In The Life Of… Sarah Appleby

We’ve just had the longest day of the year and I’m sure you’ll agree some of our working days can be really long! Here is a #ADayInTheLifeOf a translator based in beautiful Derbyshire, England, where sunset is a whole 15 minutes later than London. Sarah Appleby specializes in corporate and product communications from German into English. Within the world of translation and Twitter you might know her as one of the event organizers for @ITI_EM and @TweetUpN. Sarah’s new website is coming soon here.

Meet Sarah

Meet Sarah

Tips from Rainy London Branding put into action on social media following a workshop

Tips from Rainy London Branding put into action on social media following a workshop

Val and Sarah at #LdnTweetUp, October 2013 (photo: @rainylondon)

Val and Sarah at #LdnTweetUp, October 2013 (photo: @rainylondon)


My internal alarm clock goes off. This is thanks to my partner whose morning commute has somehow trained me to wake up five minutes before he does. If I’m feeling energetic I will get up straightaway, have a cup of rooibos tea, and use this quiet time to check translations prior to delivery. Breakfast is an opportunity to catch up on news and blogs.


Office hours officially begin. Most of my clients are based in Germany so I make a point of checking my e-mails by 8am UK time, Monday to Friday. I’ve done this ever since I began freelancing over seven years ago (even when I lived on a mountaintop in Spain and on a boat). I’m pretty sure this consistency is one of the key pillars of my business.

This is also when I tend to post on social media – I currently run Twitter feeds for the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s East Midlands regional group, Tweet Up North, and my own. I always aim to share something of interest on each account and like this quick way of keeping up with developments in our own industry and beyond.


I break production tasks down into 1.5 hour work blocks. Getting through the words to avoid working at midnight takes discipline and this is what works for me. When I used to run a lot this time would be the equivalent of 10 miles. So a pretty decent stretch. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my former boss at a translation company: “Your working life is a marathon, not a sprint, and so it’s best to pace yourself accordingly.”

Pre-run selfie

Pre-run selfie


Morning coffee or (more likely if I’ve been up since dawn) second breakfast. Then settle down to the next work block through to lunchtime. That might be translating a press release, editing a case study or proofreading a brochure. If the words aren’t flowing right away I’ll reply to non-urgent e-mails or do some event planning or admin (that includes checking up on payments and thanking anyone who has paid early). I’m pretty passionate about creating opportunities for fellow language professionals to get together and learn from each other. Organizing events therefore takes up quite a lot of my time and gives me a sense of connection to the wider translation community.

Coffee break at Sarah's office building (where the cups are Rainy London red!)

Coffee break at Sarah’s office building (where the cups are Rainy London red!)


Lunchtime and a chat with my partner if he’s around. No point being your own boss and not taking time to be with your loved ones. Now and again I’ll work from my sister’s house for the day, taking some extra breaks to spend with my little nephew. I also have a co-working desk in Derby which I use for creative and project management tasks rather than confidential work. Sometimes on this extended break I’ll see a friend or have a business meeting – I’ve been working with a couple of different advisors as there is lots of business support on offer in Derby.

What's for lunch? Something from the garden if possible

What’s for lunch? Something from the garden if possible


Usually I’ll fit in a couple more blocks of work with a break in between to do some stretching and check personal e-mails on a different account. I might also research useful training courses or action something from my marketing plan. Today I’m going through queries that have emerged while working in a translation team, solving some and getting back to the client where clarification is required.


If I’m not going out, I’ll take an evening walk or cook. Life’s been exceptionally hectic recently because we’ve been juggling busy workloads with supervising a renovation project on the house, so I really enjoy this time away from the computer.


Time to relax or, if need be, fit in another block of translation. This can be a good time to get into a new text without interruption. I try not to check work at this hour because texts (and me!) ideally need to rest overnight. If it’s Friday, then I’ll almost certainly be done with work and maybe have a homemade sloe gin and tonic! I like to laugh so love watching comedy shows. Even with catch-up TV, I still pay attention to the adverts to keep an eye on the trends that are forming people’s opinions.


The usual end of my day unless I’m working for a direct client on something super-critical at a surcharge. When I lived in London I rarely went to bed before midnight, but life in Derbyshire is mellower. Plus those early starts really do not come naturally!

Thanks Sarah, looking forward to the #LinguistsUnite tweeting session online during #LdnTweetUp, #TweetOutWest and #TweetUpNorth on July 5th!

A Day In the Life Of… Xosé Castro Roig

 May is here and with it a new chapter of #ADayInTheLifeOf. Here for you is my dear friend and amazing colleague Xosé Castro, English into Spanish freelance translator, proofreader and copywriter since 1990. As many colleagues, I was on one of his courses – on specialized translation, marketing strategies, computing - and as of today, I still make the most of his tips and tricks tips & tricks. Since 1996, he has published more than 200 articles about translation and linguistics. He’s also great at photography!  Find him on Facebook too or drop him a line

Xosé Castro. And it's not a selfie.

Xosé Castro. And it’s not a selfie. (Photo: @caotiquemind)

Lenguando, Madrid. March 2014.

Lenguando, Madrid. March 2014 (photo: @rainylondon)

7:30 am:      My wife wakes up earlier than everyone else so she is my “poking alarm clock”, but I don’t usually pay much attention to this first wakeup call: I basically crawl out of my bed to sneak into my daughter’s. This is when I get to cuddle her for about 15 wonderful minutes – bliss. My wife comes back again at some point and forces us to get up. That’s the moment when I realise that if if you’re worthy of being called a responsible grown-up man, you can no longer ask “Please, five more minutes, mum”. This little morning ritual is sacred.

Cuddles are goooooood.

Cuddles are goooooood.

8:00 am:      Breakfast time. This is perhaps the most important meal for us. We like to have a healthy and abundant breakfast, with fresh orange juice, toast, olive oil, Spanish jamón, pastries, cereals, cocoa, tea… with a side dish of a good, old chit-chat.

Food for happy people

Food for happy people

8.30 am:      I usually check my social media accounts now - then some of the many groups I moderate to verify everything is going fine. It’s also time for checking what goes on int world: some headlines, some news, maybe a couple of articles / blogs.

9.00 am:      This is when the real business day kicks off. I check my inbox to usually find a few messages waiting for me from the night before – that’s because I mostly translate for agencies and clients abroad / in a different time zone.

This is my desk. I'm not glued to it, in fact.

This is my desk. I’m not glued to it, in fact.

I plan my daily workload, I set up some pomodoro alerts and I begin translating, wishing and hoping the world of CAT software would soon become a monopoly with just one tool so I don’t have to switch from Trados to memoQ to online TMs to… depending on the client.

This is when I find myself in a wide range of projects: localising software or a sitcom script or a catchy phrase for a US Spanish-speaking audience…. I love that variety.

10.50 am:    I go to the gym at least twice a week – I do kickboxing training and I go running outdoors, unless there are specific deadlines to be met at this time.

I'm the one with wicked kick, if you were not sure.

I’m the one with wicked kick, if you were not sure.

1.30 pm:    Lunchtime and conversation with my daughter when she’s back from school. Maybe a film or a TV series episode together on the couch. These are precious moments and they give us time for conversation. I occasionally eat out with colleagues or friends and take this opportunity to recharge batteries and try not to talk much about translation… or translators!

Truth is that as I share pics or good experiences in my social media accounts (yeah, I know… I am photographer too ☺), some people assume that “the exception is the rule” and I am never in!  I guess that’s why I got asked so many times “Do you ever have lunch at home?”. Well, yes, I do. :-)

Time to eat (and it looks delish)

Time to eat (and it looks delish)

2.45 pm:      Back to work while I blame myself for not having time to update my website or respond the dozens of emails I receive onto my different accounts. I have a glance at my mobile on the table: not even one call received at this time of the day. Telephones are not for talking anymore. Countless Whatsapp messages though… Oh well. Exciting times!

I take care of some e-mails while I sip my espresso (I even have one of these now!)

Rainy London Translations cups are ace.

Rainy London Translations cups are ace.

I usually get 2-3 messages per day from students and new graduates / translators asking for help or support. Sometimes, it takes me ages to respond because I have many of them - but I do take care of all! Apologies.

8.30 Reloj bolsillo leontina cadena libro

Time flies. When you love what you do.

Sun is rising on North America’s East coast so the first messages star to drop into my inbox.

3.05 pm:      Back to translation and proofreading at full throttle. My CAT tool is roaring. Sometimes I grant myself a no email, no calls time frame….and I can take the time to do some accounting too (checkinf payments, issuing invoices…).

6.30 pm:      Curiously enough, this is usually my peak hour. It’s about the end of business day in the UK and Continental Europe and midday in North America so I usually receive some last minute assignments or communications that keep me busy until 7 – 8 pm.

8:30 pm:      Sometimes I finish my day about this time, but I usually check my emails for the last time about 10.30 pm. So, this means you basically can find me still translating or proofreading at 9.30 pm.

My typical day is of course variable if I have to attend a conference or give a course somewhere in the city. That’s when I become a 4G & WiFi hunter and you will find me working in hotel rooms, coffee shops, train stations, airport gates etc. and answering emails in offline mode while I fly.

And then… more family and then off to bed. Yawn.

Thanks Xosé. I want to be like you when I grow up. Bottom line: you’re an all-time juggler :)

p.s.: All pics by @xosecastro, exception made for where stated.

#ADayInTheLifeOf… Valeria Nanni

April was busy but I have not forgotten about our usual #ADayInTheLifeOf. Here for you is my namesake Valeria Nanni, English into Italian Localisation Manager for one of the largest social networks for meeting new people. From the office in London, she translates social media and IT stuff into her native Italian and also manages several other processes and languages. So all-time juggler and a regular at my #LdnTweetUp meetings. What’s not to like?

Valeria al quadrato

Valeria al quadrato

Not a bad view.

Not a bad view.

The office is quite on the funky side

The office is quite on the funky side

8.00 Wake up. Not in the best of moods, but well, let the day begin!

8.45 Leaving the house. A long nice walk to the office. Some fresh air on my face is what I really need to start the day with the right foot and start thinking on how to organise my day.

9.30 In the office. A mug of milk and fruit cereal, a glass of water, eye drops in my eyes (I’ve recently had eye laser operation) and I’m ready to start.

First things first: emails. Loads of them. Questions, questions, questions (from colleagues, translators, developers, agencies…) and new tasks to complete. When I am done with that, I look at our translation dashboard, where I can see the status of our translation work. This is the time to check if the translations we have recently done look good in the translated version. I therefore reproduce the screens or emails we worked on and send them to all the translators for them to double-check. So many things can go wrong if not tested… From a mere typo to a singular/plural issue to a layout problem (think about Hebrew or Arabic that are written from right to left!). Then translate from English into Italian everything that needs translating. And check that the marketing material I sent a few days ago has been properly localised. And if not, contact the relevant translators - life’s busy!

11.30: One of the translators comes to the office for testing our app on an Android phone. After explaining how to go on about it and replied to any questions she has, I’ll go back to “my stuff”.

13.00 A nice almost-healthy lunch with colleagues to get some energy back and rest my mind. It’s good to find some mind space and I’m lucky the office has a balcony, too.

14.00 A look at the emails and on possible urgent translations to do. I also prepare my notes for our weekly localisation update meeting.

15.00 Meeting. A good chance to make a summary of what happened during the week and to see what’s going to happen next. This is also a good opportunity to talk about problems during the past week and to suggest improvements to the process – we all collaborate and the goals are very much easier to get to thanks to this sharing and tackling together.

16.00 Tea break or better…Chocolate/cake break! Something sweet to keep me going.. it’s a long day!

16.15 Back to my desk. It all starts again. Emails, translations, testing, bug reporting, updating the QA test cycle for Android phone, proofreading. And a list: things to do on Monday! My tasks can vary quite a lot. It really depends on the day and on the priorities, which in a fast-paced environment like the one I’m working in, can change extremely rapidly. The secret is always trying to be on top of things and never let things get on top of you. Keep juggling.

17.30 Last meeting of the day. This time having a look on the Internet with my colleague to find a good translator for a specific language. I do enjoy recruiting new talented localisers :D

18.15 Quick look at the emails and at the translation dashboard to see if everything is ok before leaving.

 18.30 Time to go. It’s been a hard week again, now it’s time for the weekend to start :)

Grazie, Valeria :)

Believe in change – and get fitter NOW!

This post was initially written and published in its original version on the ITI Bulletin, in March 2014. 

Thanks, ITI: I am told it was very much appreciated and that’s why I’m reposting. I hope you enjoy it!

Last December, I had the pleasure to be interviewed for the blog of fellow translator Olga Arakelyanon the importance of staying fit.

Maybe you would not believe it now, but if you had met me just a couple of years ago (18 months to be precise) I would have been the perfect example of foodie with a normal metabolism, with a penchant for focaccia and little will to take the stairs for even one floor.

Being Italian makes it obvious that I was used to a Mediterranean diet: historically defined as healthy or balanced, naturally packed with olive oil, carbohydrates, wine and decadent desserts, that was my life. Oh, I stopped exercising when I was 16, as my studies took up most time and culture, you know, is life so, you have the bigger picture: I was not ‘Sporty Spice’.

Someone would say I was blessed with the ability to eat big portions without gaining too much weight – and that was the truth until 18 months or so ago. It was then, just after I turned 30, that I started realizing that my almost proverbial fatigue, my feeling constantly lazy, with attention spans that varied from über-focused to border-line narcoleptic (OK, maybe not THAT over the top) were not exactly right. After a quick self-assessment, I had it very clear that since I started freelancing in 2007, I had steadily gained weight (half a kilo or so every year) and my exercise was next to zero (running to catch the bus always ended up in either a failure or too much effort to be done).

I think at that point there was a shift in my mind-set: I thought it was no longer OK to be so out of shape, to be in need of a weekly massage to make my back feel OK-ish, to feel so sleepy all the time… and – even though physical appearance was never the real trigger – to be worried of how I’d look like in a shift dress or a bikini.

What is the morale to this personal tale?

Well, I realised I HAD to be fit to be more productive and happier.

In a nutshell, this is what I did over an 18-month period:

  •  New chair: I have a kneeling chair and while some may not like it – esp. if you suffer from knee pain or have conditions that do not allow you to have much pressure on them – I find it fantastic for my back. I never arch it, I keep moving as it swings, and it’s a great design for my office space.
  • Hit the gym: or just do some physical activity. I had a gym membership but rarely used it – as most people tend to do. Only by seeing a professional personal trainer I was able to define my goals and create a routine based on my special requirements or issues e.g. back pain, bad shoulder… etc. I still see a PT because I grow bored easily so I feel that is great motivation. It really depends on your priorities and your will power but I do recommend a first contact with a professional to really pin down what you need to do and what you need to NOT do for your health.
  • Training: hard. I train 4-5 times a week – which may pigeonhole me as a gym freak, I know – and trust me, if you had told me a year ago I’d do it, I would have laughed at your face. I do a mix of circuit training and heavy weights, with a little cardiovascular work. The key for me is frequency i.e. the more often I train for short periods of time, the more results I have and the fitter I feel; for others it may be OK to just run on a treadmill twice a week or swim or do Pilates – again, everyone is different and has very different goals.
  • Change of diet: radical. Rather that a ‘diet’ in the stricter sense, I changed the type of food intake (and slightly reduced portions). Alas, I do love pizza but I am only treating myself with it on special occasions (and now I struggle to finish it!). I only have carbs in the form of nuts and fruits or rice and potatoes. While I feel more focused, I also lost some weight and never feel that sleepy anymore – even though my body composition now is more muscles than fat. My diet is mainly protein-based, which may work for some but not for everyone. My tip? Again, see a nutritionist or a trainer, esp. you vegan or vegetarian colleagues – to help you work out your yes / no food. Another tip? Have your food (or most of it, if you like picking up groceries yourself) delivered so you avoid temptations while wandering – hungry – in the shops. I won’t even mention that you need to drink loads of water (monitor your intake with an iPhone app called iDrate)
  • Sleep routine: regular. I am now trying to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I’m far from succeeding but trying is a step towards your goal. Training in the morning is also beneficial: I don’t ‘enjoy’ training, mind you! But if I do it first thing in the morning, I take it ‘out of my way’ and can feel energised and focused.
  • ‘Me’time’: carve it out. This can be reading a magazine, shopping, listening to music, walking the dog or spending time with the family. I try to organise everything I do to make sure I always fit in something that I enjoy doing – it gives structure to my life and it’s a great element of balance in your lifestyle. Just make sure it’s not too many pints…
  • A clean desk, proper lighting and… rewards: I can be a messy head but at least I try to clear my desk when I’m done with work. Lights should not be in your face and without going feng shui with it, you can easily work out what is best for your eyes. Ideally, stop and move the gaze away from your screen every 20 minutes, looking into the distance, so you can refocus and rest your sight. Reward yourself: not with food (you will eventually grow less hungry, I swear) but with some time off, to do stuff you like. I can only stay sane if I blog or read, or listen to my favourite tune while I get (one of the many) espresso on the sofa. Some love power napping, so maybe try it out!
  • Believe in ‘change’: I was one of those people who’d say ‘I don’t need to exercise, I don’t like it, I am tired just thinking about it’. Now, while I’d still rather have a slice of Margherita pizza while watching a film with my feet up and a glass of prosecco, I keep on training hard for me and do value the importance of the balance of mind and body.

A focused mind means less time spent on doing (badly) the same things all over again. And you’ll also look younger, which always is flattering.

Some casual pull-ups in the park.

Some casual pull-ups in the park.



Never give up!



#ADayInTheLifeOf… Megan Onions

March’s installment of #ADayInTheLifeOf features lovely colleague Megan Onions, French and German into English translator and editor, of  Speech Marks Translation. Megan runs her business from rural Herefordshire. She has been translating French and German into British English since 2007, specialising in promotional, marketing, sports and tourism material. Find her on Twitter or on her new proofreading dedicated site, Speech Marks Proofreading.


My alarm goes off. Unless I have a project to finish before lunchtime, I don’t tend to get up early. My brain doesn’t work to its full potential right away! I generally do my best work in the afternoons and evenings, which means that I have to be strict when it comes to switching off. Before I do anything, I check my emails and social media accounts for anything requiring an urgent reply.

Just before 9am

After a quick shower and a simple breakfast, I start up my computer and go through my paper to-do list. I have started to make a list at the end of each day ready for the next morning, which really helps me to focus, structure my week and reflect on what I have achieved during each day. I try to do the least appealing task first, if possible. For example, if I have some receipts to file or some files to align and add to one of my translation memories, I’ll try to get that over with and get on with more satisfying activities.


The translations I do on aren’t usually long-term projects, so I’m usually starting a new job or finishing a current one. This means that I spend a fair bit of time on enquiries, quoting or invoicing. It also means that I often work on more than one project in a day, which helps me to stay creative and certainly keeps me sharp!As well as translation, I also proofread and edit English material under the name Speech Marks Proofreading, and I have been offering copywriting as an additional service since mid-2013. Providing these different services can mean that a week is extremely varied – just the way I like it.


It’s not always at the same time, but I try to take one extended break in the morning and one in the afternoon. This break might involve going for a walk, doing a few exercises or popping out to the Post Office, but I try to get outside and breathe some fresh air if possible. Today, I went out to post a card to a lovely colleague, who has kindly referred me to a new client.


Back to work for about an hour until my stomach starts to rumble! I sometimes find that this sliver of time is actually really productive, whether a great idea for a blog post occurs to me or I find that perfect turn ofphrase for some website copy I’m translating. Sooner or later, though, I feel the pull of the kitchen.


It’s time for lunch. Lately, I’ve been enjoying homemade soup, as it’s something that I can prepare at the weekend and eat quickly and easily.At the moment, I have three Coursera courses on the go (Content Strategy for Professionals, The Science of Communication and Sports and Society), so I might try to catch up on the videos and quizzes over lunch. It’s quite easy to fall behind if I have a busy few weeks.


Right, back to work! If an enquiry comes in over lunch, I take a look at the file and the client’s requirements and either send a quote and my terms and conditions (if it’s a direct client) or refer them to a colleague with different specialisms or language pairs. One of my goals for this year is to work with more direct clients, so I’ve updated my terms and conditions andhad promotional postcards designed, along with a looong list of other things! Otherwise, I get on with my translation/proofreading/copywriting work, email potential clients, keep in touch with colleagues or update my Twitter or Facebook accounts (often all of the above).


It’s time for my afternoon break. One of my to-do list items for this week is updating my LinkedIn profile, after listening to Tess Whitty’s podcast interview with Anne Diamantidis. I spend some time looking at colleagues’ profiles and rewriting my descriptions over a drink and a snack, then get back to work for the final stretch.


Time to wind down and get something nice to eat. I generally try to shut down my computer by 6pm, depending on when I started work and whether I have an urgent project to work on or complete. At the end of the day, I make my to-do list for the next morning, and it all starts over again!

Thank you, Megan :)

#RainyContest2014: and the Cup goes to….

The time has come, signore e signori!

The entries were plenty and all very professional yet personal. Thank you!

You can check some using the #RainyContest2014 hashtag on Twitter or read some on my FB Page now… The moment all were waiting for.

The #rainycup goes to… A gentleman, for a change!

Who said the ladies are over-represented!?

I give you Javier Mallo (@javmallo)!


Please get in touch to claim your cup ;) And to all who took part: THANK YOU again for the love!

Till next year… ~Val.


#ADayInTheLifeOf… Catherine Christaki

This month… more than double bill! Spoiling my readers :)

For the usual appointment with #ADayInTheLifeOf, I give you Catherine Christaki, English-Greek translator and co-owner of Athens-based Lingua Greca Translations. Find her on Twitter: @LinguaGreca, on her popular translation blog, Adventures in Freelance Translation. Enjoy!

For freelance linguists and translation company (albeit tiny) owners, no day is the same as the previous or the next. There are so many things to do! I’ll try to describe what my typical day looks like, one without work errands (tax office, banks etc.) which my translation partner and hubby Christos usually takes care of and without professional events or client meetings. Basically, a day spent 100% inside the office (my favorite kind!).

7:00-7:30 Wake up, get dressed. Hubby takes care of our cat babies (food for the day, fresh water) and then we drive to our office (5 minutes).

Lingua Greca office inside is GREAT!

7:30-8:30 Time to have the first coffee of the day (cappuccino, latte, mocha, filter coffee depending on the weather and my mood) and a quick breakfast at the office which usually comprises of a Greek koulouri or an individual cheese pie, while reading the emails that came overnight.

8:30-9:30 Reply to emails and social media mentions, check our blog for new comments and reply to those as well.

9:30-10:30 Read my RSS feeds and choose the best articles to share on Twitter and include in our Weekly Favorites.

10:30-13:30 Time for some translation work. This is the perfect time of the day as our European clients are still relatively quiet and there are minimal interruptions. Great time for lunch too, usually a turkey sandwich from the coffee place two floors down while checking out my Facebook or Twitter feed.

13:30-16:00 Reply to the new emails, add new deadlines to my working schedule and the job tracking system (sounds fancy, but I’m still using an Excel file) and then work on and deliver the small daily and urgent translation and bug-fixing requests from Apple (I am the lead localizer for English-Greek projects). There are usually other urgent requests to take care of as well, such as questions about delivered projects.

16:00-17:30 More work. First, finish the small projects for tomorrow then work on the bigger ones with later delivery dates.

17:30-18:30 Reply to the new emails, plan my workday for tomorrow and publish a scheduled post on our blog (a How I Work interview, the Weekly Favorites if it’s a Friday, a guest post or a post I or Christos wrote if it’s a Wednesday).

18:30 Time to leave and hit the gym for a quick workout and a nice class, like yoga or aqua aerobics.

20:30 After the gym, I usually walk home, it only takes 20 minutes and it’s through a nice area with trees and very few cars. Winters are mild in Greece so my walk is very refreshing.

21:00 Quick shower and then dinner cooked by my hubby chef.

22:00 Cat and reading time! One of my favorite times of the day. First I read a book that requires my mind to be working (translation or business related or anything non-fiction) and then an ‘easy’ book, usually mystery or thriller, to help me sleep. During reading, I take a few breaks to play with my adorable cats, Ozzy and Rocky.

Ozzy and Rocky playing

This is my typical day. But time-wise it’s rarely exactly like that. It depends on the projects and in the past few years the number of emails I receive during the day has grown significantly due to my activity on social networks and our blog. It’s so exciting that I have the opportunity to talk to and get to know so many new linguists every day!

We also travel a lot; both sets of our parents live out of Athens (parents in Crete and in-laws in Epirus). That means 2-4 trips to see them each year. Plus, 2-3 conference trips abroad and a vacation trip once a year. This year, our conference schedule will be busy. There are so many great conferences in offer for translators, it’s hard to choose! We’re planning to attend GALA in Istanbul, Locworld in Dublin, maybe FIT in Berlin and of course the ATA annual conference in Chicago. And don’t forget: the 2nd IAPTI conference takes place in Athens this year, an excellent opportunity for linguists all over the world to come see how beautiful Greece is and taste our yummy food. See you there!

Thanks, dear Catherine!

Catherine Christaki

#RainyContest2014: RL’s website is 5!

So, it’s that time of the year again: on the 9th of February another year would have passed for Rainy London’s website - and before we welcome the new version (soon!), I’d like to say:

Happy B-day! We are 5!

When I launched it 5 years ago, I thought I would not change a single thing of my decisions so far.

But now… what would I change?

To CELEBRATE, I’m giving away a fabulous *CAPPUCCINO* cup (to popular demand from tea and non-espresso drinkers…! I gave in!)

to ONE lucky winner.

Not only espresso

All you need to do is …END THIS SENTENCE:


If I could change only 1 thing in my career right now, I would…


  • Contest ends on 9th February, which means you have a little more than a week to join.
  • Use the hashtags: #rainycontest2014 and/or #rainylondon or tag/mention @rainylondon in your message.

May the odds be with you!

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 09.21.22

Wanna see past contests? There you go. And again.

2013: Rainy London’s end-of-year review

The day has been slow, the weather quintessentially British and rainy and it was perfect to stay in and write (and work! I’m actually here.)
2012 ended in technicolor, filled in with good stuff: I turned 30, I witnessed the amazing London 2012 Olympic Games, I travelled a lot, I had bucket loads of interesting projects, I had a great holiday in the sun of Thailand, I spent Christmas with the family and got lovely surprises, to end with a loud NY’s house party with friends  - and lots of work, to mention but some highlights.


2013, well… had lots to prove!
Work was since the beginning particularly tricky: late payers and even non-payers, little projects that got cancelled or bigger ones that were never confirmed and so on and so forth.
Invoices that got lost (how bizarre…) and cut-off dates that ‘magically’ appeared to rain on your financial parade.
Trains or flights got cancelled and I incurred in expenses I hadn’t planned – like that time I got stuck in Paris and I had to anticipate every single penny of the expenses.
I’m also sure my turnover was probably the same of past years – or maybe even better – but working too much or too little in a short period is never too good – for your health, especially.
The usual ups and downs of freelancing, and as they say… it’s always darkest before the dawn. 
I did manage to stay positive while work was a bit less than usual.
Here’s was I did:
- Rely on my closest circle: my partner and my family were of great support even though they noticed just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for that, I am where I am because of YOU.
- Keep busy: seeing people even when you’re not willing to was good… special thanks to Marta for always saying how I was being so un-Val!
- Exercise: very much to stay focused. It does help. See more here
- Networking: that is where you find inspiration – always! Sometimes you get the impression people around you are very accomplished and happy but hey, I would not be telling you this if everything that glittered was gold, right?
There’s always some good in every year. And actually, the second half was quite good.
So, what can I take away from this year?
  • My health: it was and stayed a priority. When you have more time you have to fill it in: and I did it considering my body as a temple.
  • Work-wise, from June onwards things went up and many interesting projects came in: lots of interpreting, lots of guest posts, lots of talks and interesting conferences I attended and was a lucky speaker at (Language Show, ITI Conference, LRG events, ITI events, TFB, TraduEmprende, Proz Conference, IAPTI Conference, etc…).
  • Travelling: even though it was for work and I never rested, I visited Porto, Rome, Madrid (3 times!), Toledo, Romania, Copenhagen, Southampton, Zurich, Paris, New York… and many more. I’ve been very lucky.
  • New and old friends, colleagues, colleagues who become friends: the number of relationships and people I met and those I knew who got closer? Countless.
  • I will take this opportunity to thank all of those who are now part of my life and who managed to make me laugh, be happy and forget about the ups and downs of life. You know who you are.
  • Standing up for your decisions: I realized how I really like being a freelancer, with all the bad and the ugly and the difficulties… I will keep going, because this is what I am.
  • Try harder: I found out how determination can help you stay focused. Never give up. And I don’t want to sound too zen or cheesy, but motivational quotes are there for a reason… Motivating you!
  • Saying THANK YOU: sometimes it is the best therapy. And BEING thankful for what you are and what you’ve been able to do so far. It’s like giving yourself a pat on the back. Even if you could have done better, you did something.
  • New starts: I created Rainy London Branding, I improved my talks and my presentations – and my speaking skills. I launched The Freelance Box with Marta and it’s giving us very good results.
What do I want to get out of this year?

I promise I do exercise :)

I promise I do exercise :)

  • Efficiency. In everything I do.
  • Early starts. Follow my #earlyrisingchallenge on Twitter.
  • Exercising, more and better.
  • Routines, because they are good for mind, body and soul.
  • More CPD and traveling for work.
  • More content on my many platforms. And more #rainytips.
  • Publishing an e-book *I’m scheming already*
  • Focused business plan: where I am, where I want/need to go.
  • Learning Portuguese (hey, seriously this time).
  • Getting myself a proper holiday (I DO NEED ONE!)
  • Continuing finding more direct clients and people who appreciate my work.
  • Focusing more: on details, on beauty, on needs, on people around me, on the things that really are great.
  • Being closer to the friends I’ve lost on the way – sorry, I’m so social that sometimes I become antisocial.
  • Keeping up with my blog – and making it more client-oriented, with fresh content and interesting stuff.
  • Working hard with Rainy London Branding, helping more colleagues finding their brand and voice.
  • Continuing being an inspiration for many (THANK you everyone for making me such a lucky person!)
In 2014, I want to be more me.
Finding more time for what I like: taking a nice photo in London or just drinking a good coffee in a cosy room, sitting on my sofa, with the light coming in; saying nice things to a friend who’s done well or giving relief to someone who is in need.
I wish you a successful 2014 but above all, a year where you can truly be yourself and achieve what you wish.
Step by step, little by little.
p.s: I hope I didn’t sound too cheesy or sad, and hopefully this would be inspiring for some of you.
#inspire #workhard #love
Buon Anno, di cuore!

Buon Anno, di cuore!

London is love.

London is love.

A Day In The Life Of… 4Visions

A Day In the Life Of… 4Visions

Hello everyone. I’ve been away most of November – work was surprisingly keeping me out of my own office for 25 days out of 30, sort of. But I thought I’d delight you with a Xmassy entry: here for you the 4Visions team! (Thanks Ricard for your help!)



4Visions is a software company founded 3 years ago by 4 Spanish translators –Irene, Martine, Pilar and Ricard – that were looking for a project management and billing solution for their own translation business. Since we couldn’t find a perfect solution for our needs, we decided we would build one such application on our own. After all, how hard could that be?A few months down the road, we brought Asier on board to help with development and the five of us have been working together to bring this project to life. Do you want to know how is a day in the life of 4Visions?

The 4Visions team: Asier, Irene, Martine, Pilar and Ricard

The 4Visions team: Asier, Irene, Martine, Pilar and Ricard

8:00 am – Pilar is usually the first one to arrive to the office. We have an office now but it has not always been the case and we work from home or any other place if we need it to. We’ve always made encouraged working from anywhere and we use a lot of tools to make it possible. Pilar is in charge of user support and handles questions from our users and prepares all sorts of tutorials, as well as all the newsletters you receive from us. She prepares herself a cup of black tea and goes through all the emails.

Our office building in Granollers (Barcelona)

Our office building in Granollers (Barcelona)

09:00 am – This is the time Ricard pops into the office. Ricard is in charge of marketing and is also the unofficial copywriter of the company. He is also the one with the shortest commute. A lucky guy.

09:30 am – Irene and Martine drop their kids to school and head to the office. This is the time they all have a coffee break and have a relaxed conversation before getting in front of their computers until lunch.

Coffee break in the kitchen.

Coffee break in the kitchen.

10:30 am – Martine is in charge of the financial / economic side of the company. She makes sure that we stay on budget and doesn’t like surprises when it comes to things diverting from the allocated budget. She is also in charge of invoicing and paying our providers, as well as liaising with banks and accountants.

11:30 am – Irene is in charge of supervising all the different areas of the company and she makes sure we’re all coordinated and that we all reach our goals. She’s also now in charge of our social media. We’ve all have had a crack at it and we change he social media manager from time to time. It’s a hard job and you get burned after a while.

12:00 am – By this time we have a Google Hangout twice a week with our development team, led by Asier, who works from his office in Bilbao. We talk about the current state of the application, the things we need to improve and the new functionalities we’d like to add. We tried Skype for some time, but quality of the video call wasn’t good enough and we changed to Google a year ago.

Our office and some desks still available for other startups

Our office and some desks still available for other startups

1:00 pm – Irene will upload a short summary of the meeting to Yammer. This is our private network, the one we use to communicate with everybody in the company. We’ve created different groups and keep conversations there to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on within the company.

2:00 pm – Lunch break. Usually Irene, Martine and Pilar will stay and have lunch at our shared kitchen space. Ricard will go to the gym and do some exercise. We all try to find time to do exercise during the day. Irene will wake up at 6 am to go a run a few km everyday, Martine prefers to walk down the beach in the morning and Pilar prefers to run or go to the gym in the evening. Asier is in love with rowing and although he doesn’t row as much as he used to, he tries to practice it twice a week. We’ve even taken part in some races together. They say it’s good for team building.

4:00 pm – It’s time to leave the office. We try to finish in time to pick our kids at school but we’re quite flexible as far as working hours is concerned. We work towards goals and objectives and we are free to choose the working schedule that fits our needs and adapts to our family life.

In any case, leaving the office doesn’t mean we stop working. Some of us will continue later in the evening from home and we are all connected through the Yammer app on our phone, by email and we even have a Whatsapp group for the company.

And then there are the special days. Those days when you have an interview for a newspaper, you give a presentation in some conference, you have to travel somewhere and meet wonderful people.

Irene, Ricard and the lovely Valeria

Irene, Ricard and the lovely Valeria

 Thanks guys for this insight! happy holidays everyone! :)

- Val.

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