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.

A Day in the Life of… Sabina Metcalf

Hello everyone. October was c-r-a-z-y again but technically, we’re still in it! So here’s this month’s instalment of my series.

This month’s #ADayInTheLifeof features colleague Sabina, an English into Russian translator and  Senior Adviser, European Operations for MasterWord Services, Inc.

Did I say she’s one of my best friends and one of the first people I met in the UK? 

Read Sabina’s blog too, it’s very good:

Red is my shade. (photo credit: @xosecastro)

Red is my shade.
(photo credit: @xosecastro)

7 am: Argh, I hate mornings. I am truly miserable before I have my first cup of coffee. An espresso please, no sugar, a drop of double-cream.

7.15 am: Slurp. Yep, that is better. Still unable to communicate in full sentences though.

7.20 am: Done. You may now speak.

Coffee is a crucial player in our lives.

Coffee is a crucial player in our lives.

(Note of Val: I totally feel the same in the morning ;p )

7.25 am: Frantically run around the kitchen feeding the dog, letting the dog out, and scratching the dog. Just like yours truly, Dave, my sausage dog, feels very unsociable in the mornings, so after having a bowl of Iams biscuits with a drop of double-cream on top (what? not all dogs have that in the morning?), Dave goes straight back to bed, before her spot gets cold.

Would a cat allow me to do this? Nah.

Would a cat allow me to do this? Nah.

7.30 am: I am blind as a bat and need to put my lenses in before I do anything further.

7.40 am: Ah, hello world! Shower and a quick trot to the gym. When I was doing my PhD in Exeter (which I am yet to complete), I discovered that unless I exercise for 30 minutes about six times per week, I cannot focus mentally. Physical exercise drives oxygen to the brain, and helps me to concentrate on the cognitive tasks I undertake every day for work.

9 am: I am at my desk, bring it on! At MasterWord Services, Inc., a leading provider of industry-specific language-support solutions, I am responsible for all our European operations.

9.15 am: Oh dear, will I ever ever get through all these emails that our Houston Headquarters have sent me over night?

9.30 am: Pffff, piece of cake. Remember that to-do list you produced yesterday? Scrap that, there are hundreds of other priorities!

10 am: Social media is the cornerstone of our operations; it is basically an online equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. I dedicate a couple of hours every day to writing for our social media accounts and monitoring our Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn connections. We have long realised that the key to increasing your social media presence is having an interesting, engaging content. I write blog posts about the ‘delightful oddities’ of the English language, getting the most out of a multicultural work environment, and the ‘archaic’ concept of work-life balance.

I also study and write about new trends and developments in linguistic studies, on what is it like to be an interpreter or a translator in the ever-changing arena of communications, and how to maintain linguistic diversity in a globalized world. Although I recognise the importance of social media in everyday business, I think it is also vital to be mindful of your privacy and the privacy of your close circle. I use social media to build my personal brand and to advertise our company but I tend to avoid writing anything personal out of respect for people in my life who are less open to online publicity (apart from Dave, that is).

12 noon: Quick lunch and dog walk.

12.30 pm: Back at my desk. Amongst other things, I also provide linguistic support to our translation department: I act as the lead editor for our major oil-and-gas projects and the assessment coordinator for our clients. I recruit vendors, network with potential clients, and advise on linguistic issues. I am a trained English-Russian translator and interpreter, and a graduate of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, located in California. Prior to joining MasterWord, I worked as a freelancer for nearly 10 years, working with private and public sector companies around the globe.

What was I saying?

What was I saying?

3 pm: Houston office opens. I am always connected to the company server and database, and we have Skype meetings regularly. This is the time I do most of our marketing, review requests for proposals, write bids, and discuss development opportunities. Cross-cultural communication has also always been ‘my thing’ and I am fascinated by different environments and languages. We run training programmes for companies and organisations on cultural sensitivity, which are becoming increasingly popular worldwide.

7 pm: My work day is officially over but I stay online and connected on my computer or phone with our Houston office. I like to spend my evenings reading or socialising. Being based in London means that there is never any shortage of entertainment in the form of museum lates, concerts, and restaurants. Also, I recently discovered the joys of cooking with various ingredients from around the world. The exciting thing is that no matter how long you live there will always be an amazing new food for you to try! I learnt to make a green Thai curry with coconut rice the other day, and it turned out to be delicious. Even if I say so myself!

Networking with the right people ;p

Networking with the right people ;p
(photo credit: @xosecastro)

…Thanks S.!

A Day in the Life of… Elisabet Tiselius

Hello everyone. Sorry for the hiatus… the summer was extremely crazy!

This month’s #ADayInTheLifeof features antoher colleague Elisabet, a Swedish, English, French and Danish interpreter and her life – again, it’s longer than average as intepreters are indeed very busy bees. Enjoy!

Find Elisabet on Twitter or check her website here.

Thanks Val! Just as for Michelle, my days vary quite a lot so I’ve shared almost a week with you and the blog readers. This is a unique week, since usually I do not interpret, do PhD work and travel to the US all in one week…

Monday – Interpreting

In the booth

In the booth

6:00 My alarm goes off. I’m not a natural early riser, but life has forced me into it. I simply have to be dressed and ready before the rest of the family wakes up, or else… Breakfast is coffee (strong!), yoghurt and fruit.

7:45 I get the kids and the dogs to the bus. I walk both our dog and the neighbour’s the days I’m available so after having dropped of the kids at the school bus we go for our little walk.

8:30 High time to get on the bike and get to work. Yes, it is crazy to bike in Brussels, but I do it ”little old lady”- style and I’m usually fine. One of the things I’ll miss about Brussels is the fact that there such a huge market for interpreters that I can do most of my assignments locally.

9:15 Picking up a coffee and getting into into the booth in time for going through the documents that I didn’t get beforehand. Time to surf through the Twitter feed, as I usually favourite interesting stuff and read it later.

12.30 Lunchtime:  today I had to run some errands over lunch, otherwise it’s often the ideal chance to catch up with colleagues and on e-mails, Twitter feed, Feedly, etc.

14.00 Back in the booth. Same routine as in the morning. My turn to go get a coffee for the booth mid-afternoon. How would we survive without it – right, Val?!

Coffee. The super hero we all need.

Coffee. The super hero we all need.

18.00 On the bike on my way back home so I’ll have the time to go pick up groceries. Over the years, I have become just as well planned as I used to scold my mother for being 🙂 The family runs on weekly menus, planned grocery shopping, chores and I hate it but we wouldn’t survive without it. And in case you wonder, yes I get help with the cleaning!

20.30 Dinner, homework and dogwalk time over (yes, I know we have dinner early, but I defend myself and say that compared to Sweden we dine late). This is the time when I go through what I have to do for tomorrow’s meeting: I do print outs, prepare boarding cards, contracts, invoices and the other paperwork, if any.

Lights off between 22.30 and midnight.

Tuesday – PhD-ing

6:00 Ordinary morning drill

8:15 Back in the house after the dogwalk. Make a coffee for myself and sit down on the coach to go through e-mails the rest of the social media stuff. Just as I open Feedly, Luther, who sits on my right shoulder, reminds me that I have about two weeks left before I absolutely have to submit my PhD.

Because a post with puppies is always better.

Because a post with puppies is always better.

9:00 love my thesis, but at this point I think we’re entering into a love hate relationship. I spend the rest of the morning editing and writing while having at least three more cups of coffee. It’s odd how all the good ideas for blogs and interesting tweets seem to pop up just during these moments.

12.30 An hour of exercise. I’m part of an outdoor class just where I live, and if I’m at home I make sure not to miss it. It has really changed my life.

14.00 Back in front of the computer. I know I only have about 3 more hours of effective work before kids get home, so this is when I usually start getting that adrenaline rush.

17.00 Children are back: I try to get a few more pages done, it usually slides into homework help and cooking.

20.30 Tonight I have to pack! Tomorrow is my flight for the States and Interpret America ( I was selected to give a TED type speech about my research findings, in their new series InterpreT-ED. This is very exciting – even for an interpreter!


6:00 Morning drill

8:30 Off to the airport. I was very happy I could see the kids off at their school bus. I hate to leave so early in the morning that I can’t kiss them good-bye.

Catch me if you can

Catch me if you can

11.10 Waiting in line for the flight, although I’m a very experienced traveller I don’t usually go overseas, so this is a little bit special. I have made use of the waiting time by getting a few things for the people ”over there”. I feel bad that I haven’t planned ahead for my gifts…, then I also treat myself to a Starbucks – yes Val, after I caught my Italian friend in ”flagrant délit” having an espresso at Starbucks I do it without second thoughts.

16:00 (US-time) Finally through immigrations. I always dread it and today it took forever.

19:00 (By now it’s one o’clock in the morning and I’m a little dizzy. Lucky I could sleep on the flight.) I’m very happy and privileged to be part of this group. You can see the  list here ( But I’m so lucky to sit next to Saima Wahab (, who’s the closing keynote speaker. She wrote In my father’s country about how she, after having immigrated to the US as a teenager, went back to her native Afghanistan to serve as a military interpreter. Truly an amazing person and also very sweet and funny.

23:00 Lights out. WAY to late.

Thursday – Conference day

7:00 Wake up in the hotel room after a night of jet lag, social breakfast and registration starts in an hour. I realize I’m completely ineffective!

8:30 Arrive at the breakfast much later than planned. On the other hand it’s an advantage compared to interpreting when you have to be on time, or else…

9:00 Enjoy the morning session on social media, and how to be present there. Feels like I’m in the right place. I also get to meet Ian Andersen of SCIC Interpreters ( in real life and Andrew Clifford of @Glendontransl8.

12.30 Conference lunch. This time I get to sit next to Brandon Arthur of @Streetleverage, very glad to have met him personally now!

14.00 Professional working groups. I have very difficult to decide which one I should attend but I finally settle for the fourth one on vicarious trauma, i.e. the type of trauma you can experience as an interpreter through somebody else’s pain or suffering. (

16:00 End of conference program and social event starting at 17:30. I have to rush out, though, and see if I can get hold of a shirt. I always do this – forget something vital when packing. This time I got only one shirt, which is white, and after a whole day not very clean any more. Any other time I would just get over it and wear the same shirt the next day, but since I’m presenting tomorrow I just can’t (too vain…)

18:30 Finally back at the social event, which is now rounding off. Manage to see a few people before it’s time to rehearse my presentation.

22:00 Just came back to my room and have not had dinner yet. Salad through room service. When it was only me left on stage I continued going through my presentation 4 more times. I was unable to learn it by heart (and I had been trying for a week! age?!), luckily Barry (Olsen) @ProfessorOlsen had a teleprompter app! Thank you Barry, it saved my life.

Friday – Presentation day

5:45 I really wanted to get a work out this morning so what do you do other than get up early…

7:45 Sound check and hooked up to a mic. I learn that Saima cannot join the conference, Oh, no!

9:00 Conference starts. I realize I had too coffee (let’s just put it this way: it was American coffee) or am nervous, but now there’s no more time.

9:15 The great thing about being a conference participant is that you can tweet as much as you like. So now I’m tweeting away and nervously listening to Michelle Scott @Spanish4health, Victor Sosa, and Stephanie Jo Kent @Stephjoke. I’m also reading the twitterfeed from everybody watching the live stream and tweeting from around the world.

9:55 My turn… I love giving a talk or teaching. I get a kick out of that interaction with people. Watch my speech at InterpretAmerica and Interpret-ED! Then I leave the stage for Crista Silva @allinportugese who is the last Interpret-ED speaker.

10:30 Time for presentation of interpreting through new technology. Internet, Skype, telephone… I really like that the people from these companies @babelverse, Stratus, and Capiche in this case, come and talk about their ideas. I’m not sure I’m convinced yet, and there sure was a lot of other unconvinced people there.

This is where I will round off my week, the afternoon rounded off with discussions on standards and reports from working groups.

18:00 I get picked up by my lovely American cousin and taken to their home. I’m now looking forward to enjoying a calm week-end in Virginia before going back to Brussels.

Thank you again, Val, for giving me the opportunity to share a little piece of my life.

(My pleasure, Elisabet!)

Top Language Lovers 2013: show some love to Rainy London (again!)

Red on white is always good!

Hello everyone, it’s June already!

It’s that time of year again and via the contest to find the Top Language Lovers of 2013 is here fo you to join! I was so lucky to be nominated again this year (see me in last year’s top 25 and again here), in the Facebook Page and Twitter Account categories.

All you need to do to show how much you love Rainy London and my FB / Twitter pages is just… vote!

  • Click here
  • Go to the left-hand side
  • Image
  • Go to Voting > Language Facebook Pages and click on Rainy London (A-Z order)
  • Go to Voting > Language Twitter Accounts and click on Rainy London
  • (Yes, you have to do it twice, once for each category).

Vote and you’re done! Easy, right?

Thanks so much for your always positive comments and endless support – hopefully I’ll be among the top 25 again! 🙂


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