5 effective ways to fight off the “translator blues”

Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”
Aristotle, Politics
It’s no secret to anyone that translating is a solitary profession. Too much so, at times.
Bored, lacking motivation, feeling insufficiently appreciated, or isolated socially? If you’re a freelance translator, you must have gone through this more than once already. Each and every translator probably has their own bag of tricks for overcoming this. (I have recently moved my desk so as to overlook a busy street.)
Below are 5 simple and generic strategies I have found to be effective in bringing back the joy to an otherwise very gratifying profession.
1.  Join a professional association or network. The obvious answer. Take part in your chapter’s seminars, meetings, powwows, etc. It will give you the chance to meet other “co-sufferers” face to face, talk and learn. Sometimes it helps to know that you’re not alone. Plus, this way you will keep abreast of new developments in language or software, extend your network of friends and colleagues and gain new credentials.
2. Take advantage of adult/lifelong education wherever you are. There’s bound to be a continuing education institution in or around your place of residence. Attend a course, meet people, perhaps even learn a new language. Enhance your skills by taking a business class or follow up on your long neglected hobby. This will definitely raise your spirits (and help you pass out some of those cool business cards you now own).
3. Be mobile. It’s always a good idea to invest in mobile equipment. Just pick up your notebook, smartphone and digital dictionaries and go. There is always some cafe downtown that has an excellent wireless connection, or even a park bench on a sunny day. This job is wonderfully flexible, so take advantage of that perk. If you find it hard to do your regular translation work there (because you feel like you get distracted and can’t concentrate), then use this location for other things, such as archiving your files, doing the bookkeeping, etc. The important thing is to get out of the house at least once a week. If you can, alternate translation and interpreting jobs.  Outgoing, dynamic types will get a lot out of attending a conference every once in a while.
4. Meet regularly with friends outside the industry. Even though you’re a loner at your job, that doesn’t mean you can’t morph into the perfect organizational talent and get together with your closest friends at least every two weeks. Everybody has a busy schedule, with job, family, kids, etc. but I am sure you can make it work. Find a new and captivating place to go each time, so that this activity doesn’t become just another “burden”. Or entertain guests at your house as often as you like (and need).
5. Do sports or artistic activities in a group.  Being outdoors is always a good cure. In winter, do aerobics or go to the gym. You won’t be alone there. In spring, if you have a garden, do physical work. If not, run, trek, do nordic walking or ride your bike as often as possible. Play some team sport, join a sports club, get competitive. It’ll get your blood and joie de vivre flowing again! Or perhaps you play an instrument or are an amateur thespian. Get on stage and reap the applause!
I hope this was useful. If you guys have different strategies, I’d love to hear about them. Talk to you next time!
I wish everbody a great weekend and a Happy Easter.
Yours as always,
Andreea Sepi, BBA- Professional Translator and Interpreter, andreeasepi@yahoo.com, +49-163-2627019.

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