first tooth and other adventures

Well well, over 7 months of motherhood have FLOWN by.

Sorry I missed Christmas. I hope yours was at least as good as ours.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy apart from my lower back giving way round about the point we were moving flat… I did manage to paint half the bedroom ceiling before they banned me :p

Her daddy has taken to fatherhood like a duck to water. His were the first hands to hold her. We’d prepared as much as we could, so living the amazing adventure of welcoming her at home ourselves with just a little extra help truly made my day.

Thanks to the marvellous carrying scarf and my super baby who eats and sleeps and babbles happily in there, I’ve been able to get back to translating very easily. I’ve had some great jobs last term. At long last, my students are back for their English lessons which is a welcome change in rhythm. I haven’t finished learning to drive yet though: I don’t get round to organising the necessary trips out and a piercing fog-horn sets off as soon as we get into the car…

Little Star, busy bee

Little Star, busy bee

So 2012: new flat (new phone number + new address), new Baby, new Mama, new Papa, new car… and still my very own time-zone, MNSNT!

Happy New Year!

Less words, more time.

I’m thinking of how satisfied and calm and proud I felt the other day, sending in a translation I’d been able to spend my time doing properly, compared to the stressed and frustrated mood I was in (even though elated) when giving in the literature translation test last July. It’s lovely having more time to work on fewer words, and it’s amazingly interesting taking the time to learn a minimum about all the things mentioned in the source text.

I’m the most nosey person I can think of (right now) and I love putting this curiosity to use in my job.

For someone like me, who has some self-discipline but not as far as time-keeping and prioritising goes, time is therefore gold-dust, essential, and something I really need to use wisely. Being a nosey so-and-so and being easily distracted is something to use with care when time is short. It becomes great fun when I have enough time to freely look around, check, double-check, read-up on, find out about, skip between, follow links on and loop-the-loop from one internet, book or dictionary page to another. Running loose until my curiosity is satisfied and I have such a brilliantly clear picture of what I’m about to translate that I don’t have to think any more for the words to materialise. I think it takes an amazingly well written text, written by someone whose work we’ve often read, on a subject one already knows inside out to do that without any preparation.

Less words and more time are a better combination than the translating equivalent of a 400m sprint or whatever it was. :P

 

To think I’ve hankered after this for years. In spite of encouragement by so many people, I’ve repeatedly nearly but never quite got started on the path of freelance translation. It’s taken leaving the UK and some serious work on my lovely man’s part to give me the courage to overcome my apprehensions and my propensity to put off until another day anything that looks to me enough like a mountain-range of molehills.

 

Just when I have tried hard, felt discouraged, tried some more anyway because it just has to be done, been very tired and frustrated with my foibles and got very ratty and annoyed at others when it wasn’t to do with them, just then, just now, I’ve been offered a most advantageous opportunity.

How would you like to help someone by being given the help you need most?

I like it a lot.

Right now, I’m struggling with things like setting day-to-day goals, keeping to the plans I make for my week and taking time to do the things which are essential to this business I’m trying to kick-start. I’m also finding it hard to celebrate my big and small achievements and paying disproportionate attention to all things forgotten or postponed and anything left to amass on the messy pile of life’s tedium. My Lovely hasn’t got the key, no one around has, only I have. But I need a hand…

I got a call on Friday from a friend of mine who is a coach over here and has recently done some further training abroad. She needs to coach an English speaking “guinea-pig ” so her tutor can assess her coaching someone in English. I have accepted to be said guinea-pig. She knows her job. She has tools to steer me along the way. I get free coaching for 3 months, someone to report to, to think things over with, to whom I will be required to boast the most minute of achievements and be honest. I get to be accountable for putting in the necessary effort and time to achieve my goals and reach my targets.

I’m looking forward to it and I am very glad she thought of me because, being me, I’d have put off asking for or not even thought of doing so.

 

Voilà, a post written in October 2011 and published in May 2012… Pffff! The coaching went well and got me moving on some things, not all. I remain very good at procrastination. Still, the essential gets done so I suppose that’s good.

Countdown!

We’re counting down to 26th June, estimated date when we become a family. So of course, like all sensible people, we’re moving house (flats) over the next 2-4 weeks, with the cleaning, last minutes decorating, packing and unpacking that entails, and of course, as part of the process, selling our flat so we can pay for the new place.

Luckily we don’t have to sell to move.

But hey, when was I ever sensible.

I’m not really one to pass on once in a lifetime opportunities. Being self-employed has proved immensely handy in so many ways even though I’ve done less work than usual lately… Still, with hectic flat selling antics added to getting closer to a beached whale sort of shape, I’m looking forward to 1 June, first day of my maternity leave.

Phew!

 

Oh, and I’ll publish something I seem to have started writing around the point when I began my stint of sleeping 12 hours per night with added afternoon siesta. Unsurprisingly 15 hours sleep per 24h was knock n*1 on productivity at work or for anything else…

 

Ah! The sun’s come out to celebrate.

Pour titiller vos papilles.

miniature yumminess

Soufflé à la courgette

Now you know what to do when you’ve made mayonnaise, have an egg-white in need of a good home and don’t fancy making langues de chats. (By far far the best option to my mind, except I’d run out of icing sugar, which scuppered that idea.)

"I'll have a little fishy in a little dishy, please."

Before

After

:)

A  jewel in the crown of tasty moments over the past few month on the culinary side of life.

The apples in the crumble are courtesy of the laden apple trees at Dad’s.

I did want to take a picture of the cooked  crumble but the camera was in use and we gannets couldn’t bear the wait.

The following marvel was found not far from the apple trees…

Liquid gold

Et voilà!

xml help!

I’m in dire need of some techie help!!

Can ANYONE get their head round XML?? I probably could but am lacking the time.

I need to check what’s wrong with the .xml formatting of a file. I can’t open an essential doc. This is the French message:

Erreur de lecture.
Erreur de format dans le fichier du sous-doc content.xml à la position 2,29604(row,col).

Basically, the error is on row 2 in column 29604 of the content.xml file. I’m working with OmegaT, translation freeware that separates out all the formatting from the text, lets me translate the text and then puts all the formatting back in. Except I must have deleted or altered a bit of xml along the way…

Help Please :)

Les aléas des test de traduction…

48h et 10000 mots à traduire (EN UK->FR), c’est un énorme test, mais pour une maison d’édition, pourquoi pas!

Je suis déçue de ne pas avoir été retenue. J’ai pris plaisir à faire le test, à la fois le défit de terminer à temps malgré ma tendance à être la plus lente, et le fait de m’atteler à de la traduction littéraire d’un genre que j’apprécie tant.

Je vous raconte plus bas quelques aspects de mes 48h de test, à lire si vous avez le temps. J’avais envie de vous faire part de mon expérience puisque c’est le premier test littéraire que je fais pour l’édition. Apparemment , j’ai fait quelques belles de mes trouvailles, même si cela n’a pas suffit. J’ai manqué de temps et la traduction que j’ai rendue était pour le moins dire, hum… brouillon. J’espère quand même qu’on me dira quelles elles étaient, à la fois pour ma confiance en moi et parce que je apprends mieux par rapport à ce que j’ai réussi que par opposition à ce que j’aurais pu changer.

J’aurais aimé discuter avec l’auteur, Jonathan L. Howard, lors de la traduction mais aussi en général. ‘Flatlands” me semblait avoir besoin d’être traduit avec l’ajout d’un adjectif (comme ‘Mornes Plaines’?). Le mot “buggerlugs” a deux sens possibles, lequel préfère-t-il? Son style m’a parfois donné  l’impression de lire du français écrit avec des mots anglais. Je ne sais pas comment exprimer cela autrement. Ce n’est pas du simple anglais soutenu. Son personnage principal semble aimer les grands mots, précis, limite pédants tant ils sont exacts. Pourquoi “Locomotive” et  non “engine” serait un exemple. J’ai pris plaisir à ses variations de languages, ses jeux de mots (“a swamp waiting to happen” //  “an accident waiting to happen”, “Santa’s little helper” // “Satan’s little helpers” …) et son sens de l’humour.

Je vous avoue que je ne m’attendais pas à avoir le temps de fignoler ni à bien relire et j’ai passé le week-end dernier à osciller entre me réjouir d’avoir rendu mon texte et décortiquer tournures maladroites (dues entre autre à mon attention au détail qui parfois me fait perdre de vue le sens global) et vocabulaire qui me causait souci.

À cause de cela, je me suis mise deux bâtons dans les roues, sans le vouloir. J’ai fait la traduction que j’ai rendu sans utiliser Internet du tout car je suis trop curieuse pour toujours m’en tenir au seuls mots recherchés et j’ai décidé de garder toutes recherches internet pour la fin. Voilà le manque de temps qui me mord les mollets: je n’ai ni eu le temps de vérifier certains  termes que je n’avais pas trouvés dans mes dictionnaires (imprimés et CD-rom) ni pu utiliser de dictionnaire des synonymes français, car c’est le dernier outil qui manque à ma panoplie et il m’aurait fallu faire une nuit blanche… ‘buggerlugs’ et ‘stanchion’ illustrent ces deux aspects puisque je me suis contenté de rapiécer/bricoler  le français au dernier moment lors de la relecture.
Est-ce que les autres traducteurs ont fait des nuits blanches? J’y ai beaucoup pensé. Je ne veux pas le savoir.

Je n’ai pas résisté à ma curiosité par la suite, je l’admets, et j’ai repris le texte lundi après-midi: 4h à faire ces recherches sur Internet qui m’ont tant fait défaut, à nettoyer questions de vocabulaire, trouver de vilaines fautes d’orthographe et erreurs de frappe, à douter de certains choix que j’avais fait, enfin: ma corneille s’est posée sur un simple ‘piquet’ et ma locomotive à été dotée de la ‘chaudière’ dont elle avait tant besoin. Ce mot m’est revenu samedi vers 13h! Imaginez ma frustration.

Je suis d’avantage satisfaite de la traduction que j’ai sauvegardée lundi car elle me donne moins l’impression d’être un brouillon que ce que j’ai rendu.

Une chose qui est très dommage, le fait d’avoir fait ma relecture samedi matin, à la cuisine, sur le portable de mon conjoint (pour ne pas le réveiller). Aléa d’un F1 qui m’a valu d’ouvrir mon texte avec quelque logiciel libre choisi par Microsoft sur ce ‘pratique’ netbook et qui m’a promptement enlevé tous marquages couleurs, italiques et polices. J’ai eu un mal fou à retrouver les mots que je savais devoir vérifer ou choisir, j’en ai manqué, la souris tactile a fait glisser le texte sans que je le remarque, sautant au moins deux paragraphes que je n’ai même pas relus (avec un joli gros mot abandonné au milieu et plusieurs de mes options non choisies). La prochaine fois que je fais un test, si je dois finir un samedi matin, Chéri devra supporter mon ordi allumé dans notre pièce de vie.

Bah! “We live and learn.”

I nearly cried when I found out I hadn’t got the job but I enjoyed the 48h marathon nonetheless.

Let’s do it!

It isn’t fair to keep the good news to myself too long:

I said I’d secured a contract  for conversation lessons.

They’ve started and are going well. My student is getting into the swing of things, happy to learn and seems to be gaining confidence. I know there are likely to be dips in enthusiasm, but, for now, it’s plain sailing on a sunny day with a light breeze.

So, having conscientiously avoided home-work for years, I’m right in there doing and making it. I’m trying to explain things in English rather than French but that’s a work in progress.

 

The next piece of news is much much more important in my eyes: I have my first translation contract.

Not voluntary work (Each done with pleasure, but ‘thank you’ doesn’t pay the bills, does it?)

Not very big, yet with potential to be a recurring job.

Not passed on by another translator or agency or Dad.

My very own.

A job found by me with a large bit of help from a friend, I’ll admit it, but it feels like the biggest thing in years. And better still: it’s going to be read by a good few people so I’m all the more excited.

Now to do a brilliant piece of work. The bestest I’ve ever done. ;)

 

Speaking of a little (or large) bit of help from my friends…

Should you think of someone who could benefit from my language services, do tell me, please don’t hesitate: I’d love to know them. Do also tell them about me if you get the chance.