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The New Year holiday is when I reassess my life/business goals and values, then I start wholeheartedly implementing changes to align with the latter. As you can guess, blogging is one aspect I want to address in 2022. If I play my cards right, this post will be the first of many that help propel my business forward.
Tying into the holiday spirit above, I’d like to share that this season’s translation work predominantly involved machine translation jobs. I had mixed feelings about this, but ultimately had to accept this thing that I could not control.
As a proud, bilingual translator, I’d much rather have the challenge and creativity that accompany a genuine translation from scratch. On the other hand, the easiest machine translation jobs require minimal brain power, leaving me plenty of energy for my hobbies after I’m done. That, my friends, was exactly what the doctor ordered for the holidays.
Below, I’ll explain what some of these machine translation jobs looked like, and maybe it will give you some perspective on what translation work looks like in the 21st century. I know I had to adjust my own POV.
Simple Machine Translation Jobs
A client will often send similar documents to their preferred translation agency throughout the year, and machine translation helps the client save money and time with such documents. These are usually repeatedly used forms or communication chains filled with different information depending on the project. Thus, the same headings and general message/tone appear consistently across projects.
My example from this holiday season is accreditation certificates for French laboratories. I did several of these jobs that took anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. These certificates were all based on the same approval form issued by COFRAC, the French Accreditation Committee. Their content boiled down to, “XXXX has approved XXXX laboratory for performing the following…” Plus, since many laboratories are approved for the same tests/analyses, those lists repeated across certificates.
My job was to edit machine-translated segments in a translation tool, and it was the translation agency’s job to handle the rest. I saw segments that needed 1-2 words or hospital names changed where they differed from previous documents fed through the machine translation process. I saw segments that needed a “tag” inserted, which is just a digital placeholder that I copy and paste. I checked to make sure dates and other numbers were correct, too. As you can tell, there was not much translation involved. My eye for detail was the skill I relied on most.
So, while I had feelings about this not being actual translation work with my ego telling me to take it as an insult, I used reasoning to accept this work and instead see it as the least stressful thing on my plate during the holiday season. I was fortunate to be making money with my freelance business. It was also conducive to helping me focus on what I mentioned at the beginning – my year-end reassessment of goals and values.
What kind of work did you have during the 2021 winter holiday season?