I managed to attend the second day of the ITI conference last weekend, they having appositely timed a conference on sustainability and work-life balance to coincide with my husband’s 40th birthday. So in keeping with the work-life balance theme, I attended half of it.
The day started with Philippa Hammond and Sarah Dillon’s joint presentation on Web 2.0 and social media. I’ve been communicating with people online since about 1998 through Usenet, mailing lists and in the past couple of years Livejournal, but none of it has been directly work-related. In fact I spent Saturday night at the flat of a friend I originally met on a mailing list ten years ago. We were discussing how today if people with a particular hobby wanted to find fellow fans/afficionados online, it’s unlikely they would start a mailing list, a newsgroup or even a message board. Things have moved on and will continue to do so and it’s useful to find out what’s going on and decide whether it’s something you want to be involved in. Obviously I already have this blog, but the presentation did make me consider Twitter again. Previously I’d assumed that the noise-to-signal ratio would be too high for it to be useful unless you have hours of spare time to sift through a lot of rubbish, so discovering that there are ways of filtering it was encouraging.
Another speaker I was keen to hear was Spencer Allman on specialisation and revision, as Spencer and I are two of the very few people in the UK who translate from Finnish and may well have ended up revising each other without actually knowing it. It was good to meet up with him again.
I initially thought I wouldn’t hear Phil Goddard talking about walking across the US because it clashed with a session on MemoQ. I’m in the middle of a 45-day trial of MemoQ and wanted to find out some more. It says a lot for their on-the-ball customer relations that they looked at my name tag and immediately knew I’d signed up for the Proz MemoQ 50%-off group buy, which I’d done only half an hour before getting on the train. More on MemoQ in a later post.
Anyway, jetlagged Phil Goddard overslept and the schedule was reorganised to fit him in later so I did hear him too and was glad I did. His account of walking and translating his way from New York to Los Angeles with a laptop did make me wonder why, given such a flexible career, in the past couple of weeks I have ended up spending about 20 hours a day in my office/bedroom. Inspiring stuff. Not that I want to walk across America, but getting out more often into the bits of Exmoor and the Brendon hills that I can see out of my window would be a start, with or without a laptop (note to self: mend or replace laptop).
Siobhan Soraghan’s session on work-life balance for freelancers gave me similar food for thought, and having suffered from burnout herself, she did know what she was talking about, unlike the poor bloke who came to tell us about the problems suffered by HR consultants. That’s unfair, he did know what he was talking about, it’s just that what he was talking about was largely irrelevant to the lives of freelance translators. Women translators do not fail to get work because of insufficient networking opportunities due to childcare (I just about refrained from asking why the male HR consultants aren’t doing any of the childcare), nor do they get paid less than their male counterparts, and if HR consultants really can’t get work other than by schmoozing people on golf courses, I’m very glad I’m not one.
It’s been a busy month and it was good to get out of the house, meet people and get some good stuff to think about.