When I first read about Blog Action Day a couple of months back, I thought, “what better way to start off the week than with a warm fuzzy feeling from a spell on my soapbox (conveniently located by my unsustainably produced desk by my energy sucking computer) to blog about changing the world?!” Blog Action Day tomorrow is when millions of voices all over the world will unite to talk about one thing, but within the usual style and theme of their blogs. This year, the theme is the environment. Noble but yes, you could say I was wary of the idea.
I mean, I’m all for printing on both sides of my paper and hey, I even use energy-saving light bulbs. But I felt a not-entirely-irrational stab of annoyance at the thought of millions of bloggers carbon-footprinting it around with a glow of self-righteous indignation at the state of the world today. This is not because I feel powerless or believe that one person can’t make a difference when it comes to important issues (Margaret Mead’s quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” is one of my favourites). I just wasn’t convinced that blogging was where we needed to be channelling our collective energy. Surely there’s not a person left in the blogosphere who isn’t aware of the environmental issues we face? Hasn’t the yet time come for ACTION?!
But yet [sigh], here I am, about to go green for Blog Action Day. So why the change of heart?
The main reason is lack of a better idea, if I’m honest 😉 Because whatever your view on virtual communications and online networking tools, there’s no denying the might of blogs. As of 7.23pm today, Technorati is tracking about 108.7 million blogs and with more than 175,000 added daily, that figure is only going up. More than 14,000 blogs have committed to posting on this year’s Blog Action Day. A small percentage, perhaps: but still a lot of words, no matter how you look at it.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the impact of the virtual world on the “real” world lately. I like Tiffany Monhollon’s post about how the more wired we get, the more value we place on communication and action in more “traditional” forms. The impact of this year’s Blog Action Day is already evident in the political arena with Stavros Dimas, the European Union’s Environmental Commissioner, already lending strong support on his own blog and in traditional media too. Who’s to say that won’t translate into something even bigger and better?
But my cynicism really started to thaw when I realised how many bloggers were putting time and energy into thinking about how best to address this issue well in advance of tomorrow. I was impressed by their honesty in explaining their thoughts around the day. Best of all, not everyone was attempting to speak from an “expert” point of view.
So this is bigger than just me, yet without me, it wouldn’t be the same. That’s not being bigheaded, it’s true. Initiatives like that mean something to me. Finally, I figured that even if millions of posts on the environment had no effect whatsoever on blog readers, the time and energy put into crafting all these posts would have to prompt some bit of actionable change in the behaviour of us bloggers.
So why not?
I’ve just come across a 24 hour Read-a-thon which is being planned for the 20th October, and I’m all excited about it. “So why not do it?” I’m thinking to myself. But there are plenty of reasons why not:
- 24 hours of reading is a long time. I’ve done it before out of choice (nothing better when it’s cold outside and Mr D is away) but I’m not sure I could face it just off the bat like that.
- I’m busy at weekends, every weekend. Although I’ve nothing in particular planned for the 20th October.
- I don’t necessarily enjoy reading the kind of books that other translators read. Why publicise that more than I need to?
- I’m precious about my weekends. They’re mine, and I like having the freedom to do whatever I like, and at the very last minute if I so chose.
- Do people really want to read about a Read-a-thon on this blog?
- Did I mentioned I might decide to be busy that day?!
But then it looks like so much fun that I think I’ll throw caution to the wind, face my issues head on and just go for it. With a few provisos of course – I’ll do it for as long as it’s fun (12 hours is wishful thinking, let alone 24), I’ll read whatever I fancy and then I’ll only review whatever is most relevant here on my blog.
I have reviewed books here before of course, along with articles I’ve read or training sessions I’ve attended – usually those I’ve found interesting and relevant to me and my freelance career (although very few of these address the process of translation itself). So it’s not entirely unprecedented from that point of view.
So any suggestions for books for me to read? Why not use this as a chance to make some headway on your Amazon wishlist? Or if there’s a book that’s been languishing on your I-know-I-should-read-this-to-help-my-career-but-I-just-can’t-bear-to pile, then let me know. Maybe it will interest me enough to add it to my Read-a-thon list, then you’ll have me to do the donkey work and send you the condensed version. How bad?!
And of course, if you fancy participating yourself, then all the better!
Today I finally received the paper copies of my recently published article Translators and TM: An investigation of translators’ perceptions of translation memory adoption. It seems much more real to have the paper copies in my hand, even if it does mean its old news already 🙂 The article was based on research I carried out for my masters thesis in 2004, and preparing it for publication over several months in 2005/2006 with the help of my supervisor was a really fantastic experience. The whole peer-review process involved in academic publishing was a big eye-opener too!
You might spot me in this month’s ITI Bulletin too, if you’re really eagle-eyed!
This post was written in early 2007. There’s a postscript at the end:
So there’s a website called Naked Translations, and I’ve known it’s been there for, oh, several weeks now. That’s a long time in cyberspace. I first came upon it about a month after I changed my blogging handle to nakedtranslator. So what did I do? I ignored it. Tried to sweep it under the carpet, pretend like I’d never stumbled across it. Not exactly something to be proud of, and not at all professional, but there you have it.
You see, I was so delighted with myself when I came up with (what I thought was) the very original and witty nakedtranslator handle. I initially worried it might attract the kind of readership this particular blogger is not interested in attracting, but mostly I thought it summed up perfectly how I felt at the time. I’d just decided to give blogging a proper blast and I felt exposed, vulnerable and not quite sure why it had ever seemed like a good idea… but also kind of thrilled and liberated. So I hoped if I just ignored this more original contender then I wouldn’t ever have to face the fact that my original idea wasn’t so original after all.
But time and time again I find myself back at Naked Translations. Not deliberately, but via links in other people’s sites or discussion groups, or searches on translation-related topics that I find especially interesting. So not only has it obviously been around a lot longer than There’s Something About Translation (located at www.dillonslattery.com, and written by yours truly, the nakedtranslator), but it also makes for a fascinating read. So much so, that 2 months down the blogline, I just had to subscribe to its feed.
All in all though, I was pretty gutted. I’m uncreative in a lot of ways, and I just know I’ll never find another handle that sums me up in quite the same way. So I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and speaking to other people about it, and eventually decided that nakedtranslator was still different enough to hang on to without being unfair to the original (and excellent) Naked Translations.
All a bit long-winded, but I guess what I mean to say is check out Céline’s website. It’s great 🙂
Post script: May 2010: In the end, my conscience couldn’t let me do it. Despite my breezy assertions of how different nakedtranslator was to Naked Translations (really, what was I thinking?) I gradually phased out the nakedtranslator handle, although it did rear it’s ugly head again in early 2009 (mainly in initial form) as I tried on the hat of interviewer extraordinaire. Thank you Céline, for being so patient in the face of my embarrassing shortcomings as I’ve stumbled my way through building a brand online over the years. And for anybody who ever wondered why I trade under my own name instead of a business one, it’s because I’m too darn unoriginal to come up with anything better 🙂
I’m really excited. I’ve recently had a couple of jobs in from the kind of client I’ve dreamed of having for a long time now – a direct client, an organisation I admire, interesting work, extremely pleasant to deal with so far. It’s early days yet and I won’t make my millions just yet, but it feels great. How did I find them? I got chatting to one of their directors at a networking event and I asked whether they had any use for someone with my skills 🙂 I’d done pro bono work for a similar organisation before and I think that’s what prompted this contact to offer to put me in touch with the right person.
I’ve been pretty busy with work these past few days (and battling a cold, boo hoo!), but have been giving quite a bit of thought to this blog.
It’s been a pretty big leap for me to start posting on a regular basis. Although I’d had this blog set up for a while, I felt crippled by what I didn’t want it to be. What if I messed it up, insulted key opinion leaders in the profession or irritated every buyer of translation in the world?? How would I ever leave the house again?!
From a technical point of view, I knew it would be pretty painless. As a typical twentysomething, I’m already connected in my personal life through my profiles on sites like Bebo, Flickr and del.icio.us. But I didn’t see how I could translate that to my professional life in a way I was comfortable with. After much thought, I eventually decided to suck it and see, to give it a bash, to just do it.
And it’s been great! I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed being able to comment on a range of things relevant to my everyday working life. I’ve been pretty chuffed with the responses too, reflected in the emails, comments and ever-addictive Google stats I’ve received.
So it’s still not perfect, and I’m still not sure I’ve truly found my “professional voice”. But I’m armed with bags of enthusiasm and a couple of ideas to help steer things in the right direction. Which is to produce something I feel proud enough to put my name to.
This guy has taken every blogger’s greatest fear and made it into a really amusing (and curiously rivoting!) site!
I expect virtual conversations to be carried out with the same amount of respect and courtesy as any face to face conversation with a client, colleague or friend. I’m also keen for this blog to offer an interesting and hopefully useful set of perspectives for those who take the time to read it. So with this in mind, here is my policy on comments:
- Please do join the discussion! I love to hear what people think and am happy to offer advice to would-be translators. You are free to comment or send me an email at any time.
- Feel free to include a link to your site or blog where relevant. If it’s not especially relevant but you think it might be in the future, email me the details and I’ll happily include a hat tip should I ever broach the topic in the future.
- I will delete comments containing personal attacks, hate speech, excessive profanity, or other behaviour that would be inappropriate in a civil conversation.
- And of course, all spam will be deleted.
If you are new to commenting or would like an extremely worthwhile refresher, take a look at Lifehacker’s Guide to Blog Comments for an inspiring read.
Looking forward to some dialogue 🙂