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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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!)
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.
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.