Rainy cup…cakes? Aka: the winner of the #rainycontest likes baking

First of all, *thank you* everyone for joining the #rainycontest and making the effort. I appreciated and had fun with every single entry – I’m so happy you shared what you love for Rainy London. If you want to read some of the submissions, check out Rainy London Translations FB page!

After hours spent to decide, here’s the winner, announced on Saturday 16 Feb via Twitter and Facebook already: Mild Translations!

I LOVED the fact the entry mentioned something quintessentially British and fun, yet including Rainy London – perfect! At this point, Rainy Cupcakes are in order! Well, here is the set of goodies I am looking forward to send over to them – come forward and claim your prize!

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P.S.: With many more projects in the pipeline, I hope to be able to keep you updated on everything at a steady pace. In the meantime, enjoy my latest interview for the People Who Rock The Industry series by Marta Stelmaszak.

Grazie!

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Forget three, FOUR is the perfect number (aka: Buon compleanno, Rainy London website!)

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February has started and with it, so has a period of excitement: we’ve left behind all worries about fulfilling our NY’s resolutions , Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, Carnival celebrations are now in full swing worldwide (in my hometown, too!) and the list is long. February is also the month of my birthday (yay!) and in recent years, for Rainy London it’s been the…. season of contests, too!

You may remember this or this from past year. Fun, uh?

As the website turns 4 years old this week (YES… 4! ), I’d love you to join me for celebrations and be in for chance to win:

– the now legendary Rainy Cup

– the handy Rainy Oyster Wallet

and because I like you ALL so much,

– a brand new badge, too!

PhotoDsc_0885Photo_06-02-2013_12_22_29

(Also see them here or here)

So, let’s play with the number 4, shall we?

Here are the rules:

1) Just name 4 of your FAVOURITE THINGS ever in the entire world, ONE OF THEM being Rainy London of course.

I’ll help you with an example: I love raspberries, focaccia, designer bags… and Rainy London.

2) Post your entry on Rainy London Facebook Page or by using @rainylondon on Twitter.

Your 4 things can be anything, even people. And if you fancy it, document your entry with pictures, links or nice videos.

The most creative set of 4 favourite things shall win!

CONTEST ENDS: 16th FEB 2013. The winner will be revealed at the #LdnTweetUp on the same day – but you do NOT need to be there 🙂

*Buona fortuna!*

Valeria_pins

Branding and corporate identity: why translators and interpreters should really think about it (aka: a ‘sui generis’ case study)

The original article was first drafted and written ad-hoc for the ITI ScotNet Newsletter issued in June 2012 – Guest Article Section. The link to read/download it is this: http://bit.ly/ScotNetJune2012

(Thanks Isabel Hurtado de Mendoza and ITI)

Some minor amends have been made on the way to adapt it to the blog.

Rainy London Translations is a small translation/interpreting business ans I’ve been lucky enough to be thriving in a recession time since 2008, first in Devon and now in London. But you should know me already – esp. if you’re reading this!

Well, back on track with the topic! A small business does not mean that the scope should be small, too. Online visibility is all the more crucial in a world like this, where all is connected and users can access services and companies with one click. This is why, when I decided to start my own business, I always knew I needed an idea, a name, a brand, an identity. Your business – because translators and interpreters, after all, are nothing but entrepreneurs – it’s your brainchild. I’m no marketing expert or advertising consultant but when I had to choose the name for my new ‘baby’, I was, since the beginning, sure of a few things. It’s no easy feat, either, but that’s the starting point. 

1. Identify your business. Choose whether you want to project the idea of a field, of an industry, of a specialty, or of a quality e.g. I chose “translations” because I felt I could offer more than only interpreting (my first love) but I wanted something that everybody, every ‘layman’ would understand. “Language/s” was good word too, but sounded a bit too general and corporate and I wanted to be direct. “Interpreting” was an option, of course, but too ‘obscure’ in most people’s eyes. So translation it was. It’s up to you, it’s YOUR business.

2. Choose a name – aka: the hardest part. I had to come up with a name but hey, it took 3 long, excruciating days. Days of brainstorming with my partner, family and pretty much anybody I know (and have faith in). It was after rejecting the many bad (‘Aliperta Language Services, scarily sounding like the brand of the archenemy of most PSI interpreters!!!), the many ugly (“what about ‘Gladiator’ translations?”, the echo of my father’s appalling ideas would ring in my ears…), that the good finally came along, as a storm. My (then exhausted and bored) partner Fabio and I was hit by the typical ‘eureka moment’. Once, as a student, I used to have a nickname. It was perfect. That name was ‘rainy London’.

4. Identify a colour palette and a direction. Once you have the name, think of a colour palette. A shade you love or an evocative hue are the way to go. Maybe without going too OTT, as sobriety is always key. Don’t get me wrong, even fluorescent or neon colours are perfect if used in the right way and the right combination. I liked red or pink but I still wanted something professional and clearly remembered. And the direction is key, too. Opt for something that reflects your style, your approach. Something ‘yours’. Well, not that I’m a rain-loving or sad person or anything related to rain in any way, but I certainly *love* London (and you gotta love its rain too). I knew that was the place (or the icon, the idea, the concept) that I wanted to project to others and it was where I wanted to be. I visualised myself there and that was my inspiration. So, it does not have to be a place, of course. But as the name you go for is going to stick around for a while, hopefully, you have to like it yourself first and foremost.

5. Hire a professional designer. With name and concept up the sleeve, I joined forces with Fabio Benedetti, a professional designer (and love of my life, too!) to conceive my logo, first. You may or may not go for a logo, but in any case, choose a font for your name. That should be unique and distinctive. So here’s how we envisioned the logo to be – and trust me, it’s been as hard as choosing a name! (www.artscode.com; http://artscode.prosite.com; http://dribbble.com/cocorino)

We brainstormed on rain, umbrellas, landmarks… and other ideas that got filtered before reaching this set of icons – below.

Logo_study_for_rainy_london

As tweaks will be on the cards, make sure you build a dialogue with your designer and you give him/her a detailed brief explaining what you want and how. A good designer should be able to steer the wheel and adjust your vision to your desire.

6. Identity: now that you have it, use it. Well!

This is how we decided the identity of Rainy London was going to be: headed paper, business cards and compliment slips.

But you can then go on with envelopes, postcards and other stationery, iPhone covers, stickers, pens, mugs… your pick.

[Pic: RL identity]

Rlbcards_identity

At a later stage, I also came up with an idea for Xmas cards and linked to that, other occasional marketing material that would be also ideal to be used in Facebook, Twitter and other online profiles. So, with Fabio I developed the character “Hug Me”, now used as a favicon for most of my profile pictures on the web. It was just another way to keep the brand fresh and upbeat.

As I said that the location is always important, I thought that Oyster cards would be relevant, as the real must-have of every Londoners.

[Pic: FB + Twitter + Hug Me character as a screensaver + Oyster Cards ] 

Rl2_desktop_screensaverTwitter_profile_rlPhoto_2Facebook_fan_page_rl

On the side, I like coffee very much, so why not turning your passion into something you can use for your business too? Here’s how the Rainy Cups were born. And to make things more interesting, I also decided to run a few competitions on my blog, for people to get involved via twitter or Facebook to win one  Worried about the costs? Of course, these should be seen as investments but you don’t have to spend a fortune in suppliers, either: sometimes, nice things do come at decent prices, too. For the cups, I used http://www.coffeecups.co.uk. Very wide choice and nice people.

Rainycups1

[RL espresso cup: available for purchase here]

Yet to conclude…

BE SMASHING. The name choice is one of the most important steps of this process towards identity. So here’s an extra piece of advice to start with the right foot. A name able to draw people’s attention is always going to be remembered – hopefully for good and not bad reasons! So, have a look around and think of the logos you see. What sticks the most with you is what counts – find your way to be ‘smashing’:

S-hort

M-emorable

A-ppealing

S-imple

H-onest

I-nnovative and iconic

N-eat

G-raceful

Hope you liked it. Stay tuned as a series of more in-depth articles are coming up!

And if you’re curious: find me on:

Rainy London Translations’ BLOG http://rainylondontranslations.posterous.com

Twitter: @rainylondon

You shop,… Rainy drops (aka: a new adventure)

You may remember that a while ago I ran a contest to win a customised iPod (Matt is still using it, as far as I’m aware!). Then we had the sweet espresso cup comp (#RainyCuppaComp) and Erik was the lucky winner (yes, you are still allowed to drink beer in it, my friend!). If you only joined the readership more recently, you may recall the latest of gigs, the Rainy London is my Oyster (card holder) contest.

Well, initially I was thinking it would be a nice ‘thank you‘ gift to special clients or people I would meet at events – while I sent some to those who ‘liked’ it on Facebook or retweeted the post on Twitter the quickest. I was quite happy with that but I felt something was missing there…

Later on, I exchanged a cup with MeowTrad, then a couple of Italian students of mine saw my Oyster wallet and wanted one; I gave some to a few selected colleagues at a recent TweetUp…(lucky ones like Anne, Charlotte, María, Ana, Marta to mention a few!) but honestly, as I keep receiving enquiries about my gadgets, I had a eureka moment and came up with a solution…

Ta-dah! I hereby introduce you all to the new, shiny RAINY LONDON Shop!

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It’s hosted on a popular online site, Big Cartel. So if you want, you can now get these cuties for a decent fee – shipping is free in the UK and available for a basic fee to anywhere else. It only features 2 products for now, but stay tuned!

PS.: If you *really* like me, I’d appreciate it if you could take a pic of (yourself with) the Oyster card holder somewhere nice and see it featured on our Facebook page 🙂 Click here for ideas and some examples of the brave ones who’d done it already!

Hope you like this new adventure.

Ciao!

ps.: BIG massive thank you to @artscode / @cocorino for the IT support with setting that up! Fab sei imprescindibile!

 

The unmissable ‘Oh, I really need a cuppa now’ Competition! (AKA: Rainy London’s website is almost 3) !

Oh well….Rainy London’s website* will be soon 3 years old! – I know! Time flies indeed! As I’ve had loads of good comments for our cute Rainy’s cups – btw: thanks for that, folks! – I’ve decided it’s time to run a new competition for you to win one.

HOW TO JOIN? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy:

1) follow @rainylondon on Twitter or like us on Facebook – now!

2) take a walk down your memory lane and look for the funniest thing ever happened to you.  

It can be a translation- or non-translation related fun fact, a weird request from a client, simply an epic foot in the mouth or a hilarious sentence/quote/idea you overheard somewhere – that brought you the conclusion: ‘Oh I really need a cuppa now’.

Just make sure it’s true and even better if you experienced it yourself. And also, you can use any media that reinforce your point! Just send that episode/story/joke/idea in and end it with ‘Oh I really need a cuppa now’ to be in for ONE of these gorgeous cups! (for how to use, see below – the truly Italian way).

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My dear colleague @erik_hansson once posted a funny story on FB that made me LOL and read more or less like this:

Client: Can I have this text translated from Swedish into English?
Erik: But this is Finnish.
Client: Does it make any difference?
I’m sure at this point Erik thought:  <Oh I really need a cuppa now>

Well, I hope it’s all nice and dandy – and clear…

So, get cracking on it and keep entries coming on Twitter (using the #RainyCuppaComp hashtag; on Facebook, just mention Rainy London using “@” on your post) Of course, e-mails are more than welcome too: info[AT]rainylondontranslations[dot]com The coolest, funniest, most entertaining entry will get a sweet Rainy Cup delivered at home 🙂
And remember, the comp ends on Wed 8 Feb.

Well, ready, steady, …COFFEE! And the spread the love!

<<<<<FOR AN ITALIAN VERSION OF THIS POST, CLICK HERE!>>>>>>

* With the precious help of @artscode / @cocorino, Rainy London’s website will hopefully undergo major works for a revamping this year… so stay tuned!

A new addi(c)tion (aka: a photo blog)

After Flicker, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, what now? As most of you know, I have soft spot for social media and technology. So well…

I’m glad to show you Rainy London‘s photo blog on @tumblr.

I had this idea in mind for a while: it mixes my passion for pictures, my passion for London and my business. So Rainy Days was born.

I promise, it’s just a trivial addi(c)tion for those ‘off-duty’ moments. And despite the name, it does not only show picturs of rainy days.

I hope you enjoy the pics, strictly taken with Instagram.

Oh.. and stay tuned… competition coming up soon 😛

 

Job offers from hell I (aka: che dio ce la mandi alta, mora e bella*)

I felt the urge to share a job offer my friend and colleague Nicoletta posted on her Facebook wall and which presumably she read somewhere or got offered herself (poor thing!) by an Italian company seeking a linguist for a trade show:

Requisiti linguistici richiesti: ottima conoscenza di tre delle seguenti quattro lingue: Inglese, Francese, Russo, Tedesca. Non cerchiamo un interprete di trattativa, ma la hostess deve essere in grado di comprendere un discorso e tradurlo per sommi capi. Forti doti relazionali, di persuasione, capacità di risolvere i problemi e gestirsi da sole, rapidità e capacità di afferrare al volo le esigenze dei clienti. Compenso netto di 70 euro al giorno.

I’d assume not all of you would read Italian but to sum it up I’ll provide the translation. It says something in these lines:

Language requirements: excellent command of English, French, Russian and German. No liaison interpreters. Hostess must be able to understand the conversation and convey the general points. Excellent communication, persuasion, problem-solving skills. Practical, quick and smart girls only. Net fee per day: €70.

I am being told the post also include the preferred height and a size 10. Some sort of Monica Bellucci, maybe? O_o

Monica

My other very good friend and colleague, Elisa, suggested we adapted this great text by @GermanENTrans (Translation Tribulations blog, aka Kevin Lossner) and send it to the client. Bring it on!

I could leave my comment but to be totally frank with you, I’m gobsmacked.

Love,

Val

[*Translator’s note re title: the Italian translates into: May god send us a beautiful, tall, brunette]

Back to basics

In Italian we say ‘si chiude il cerchio‘ ( = the circle has closed). That’s exactly how I feel now.

The first time I lived in London I was a younger me (hey, not much younger though!) and had plenty of hope and ideas. It was the 6th July 2005, just one day before the London bombing. I’d arrived in Greenwich, where I was going to spend my stay, on a rainy and rather foggy day so typical of the glorious and beloved English Summer. I was overloaded with luggage, had a lousy phone with me with a SIM card borrowed from a friend and was, well, pretty much broke. Nice plan uh?

My stay was not very long. I still had uni exams to take in Italy and my career (or my mind!) was not defined yet (of course not!).

In 2006, I thought that ‘repetita iuvant’ so there I went, again. I was as a work placement for 6 months in a Central London agency (to which I still owe most of my admin skills, thanks Atlas!) and there I started shaping my life a bit better.

So, what’s the ‘back to basics’ adagio about? Be patient (always a good tip, in life and work).

I moved to Exeter in 2008 and I have to say, I could not see myself here at first (too small, too far, low diversity…) but I never give in. So I ‘carved’ my life here and I have to say, folks: this place is the town with the highest quality of life I’ve ever lived in. Safe, nice, green, cosy.

But business is business (very much so these days) so, to cut a long story short: get ready for the Big Smoke and feel free to visit in the next months…

Rainy London is relocating to the real thing. We cannot ignore London Calling.

Si chiude il cerchio, as it should (and I am very excited about it).

See you there!

Val

 

ps.: my picture, below.

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pps. A nice video, a tune I love. Be louder!

Running a translation & interpreting business in the UK (aka the English version of Val’s interview from Italiansinfuga.com)

As I do know that most of my readers are not Italian mother tongues, as I promised, here is the English version of my interview at Italiansinfuga.com, by Aldo Mencaraglia. Pls see previous post for more info.

Interview by Aldo Mencaraglia.

By setting up a translation business in the UK, Valeria Aliperta has shown what it takes to be successful abroad.

How did you become a translator?

Following a passion that dates back to when I was little (at 12, I already had a serious fixation for English and languages in general, and spent my first 2 weeks in England, studying in a college), I decided to attend a language-based high school (the liceo linguistico) where we learnt English, Spanish and French for a total of 18 hours a week. Still in love with a language-related career, I went to Genoa and obtained a BA in Translation & Interpreting Studies. After a 3-year course, I moved to Forlì (Bologna): quoting Giacomo Leopardi’s words, they were years of studio matto e disperatissimo (crazy and desperate studying), which led to obtaining the MA in Conference Interpreting at SSLMIT. Yes, I am indeed both a translator and interpreter.

What brought you to England and Exeter in particular?

A period of insane love for all Spain and Spanish things – it’s still there, trust me! – kept me away from Albion for a while. But in 2005 I started a work placement in a London-based agency and that was enough: again, love at first sight. I went back to the UK and among university, holidays and work, there you go, it was 2006.
My brand is telling it all about England – Rainy London Translations – but Exeter came along, once again, for love: my partner has been working here as a web designer for 3 years and since then, Devon has been my home.

What is the procedure to start a business in the UK?

It was fairly easy. Those who start working here – or are willing to – need to get a National Insurance Number. Candidates need to visit a Job Centre for an interview on they country of origin, arrival date and stay, and so on and so forth. Once you are ‘legally’ registered – as EU citizen, for me it was very easy but nationals of non-EU countries need visas – the wait is approximately 4 weeks or so before you are sent the NIN. Unless you are hired by a company, you need to register (using that number) as a sole trader on the HMCR website. I opted for professional accounting services for my tax return but anybody can do it personally. Above an income threshold of £10k per year, it’s worth setting up a limited company (Ltd). Accounting admin fees are around £500 a year, whilst setting up a business with Companies House is approximately £200 (one-off payment) – all this in 2 weeks! All you need is a ready-to-use ‘brand name’ to register the ltd: mine shows the love for London and the trademark rain of the City, summarised in the London Eye icon.

Can you tell us the difference between this and the Italian procedure?

All I can say is that in Italy the paperwork is much longer, not to mention taxes: 21% in the UK against a jaw-dropping 44% (more or less) in Italy! Plus pension contributions and the likes… I would not suggest it to anyone!

Pros and cons of being an entrepreneur in the UK?

I can only talk about the pros, so far! I hope I won’t need to take this back in the near future! 

What websites would you recommend for those who are willing to follow your steps?

The ones I mentioned above and the professional associations I belong to:

Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL)

Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)

and last but not least… Rainy London Translations

Thanks Aldo for including me in your blog!

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