Professional subjects from a personal perspective

Tools for planning

Following on from my last post about getting back into the swing of things, I’m now at the planning stage.


Last week, I sat down with a mid-morning snack and asked myself a series of questions:

What am I going to do with my time (after finishing my Master’s degree) until I have a full schedule?

What new skills can I learn?

What existing knowledge can I build on?

Where do I want to be?

And, most importantly:

How can I get there?


So what tools are out there to help you map out your ideas?


Free, but pretty basic.


Free and paid options, depending on your intended usage.


Generally used for presentations, but it can be a great visual tool for brainstorming. If you want to try it out, here’s a handy template for using Prezi as a mind mapping device.


Want something a little different?

*Good ol’ pen and paper

There’s a lot to be said for online tools, but I do love to map out my ideas by hand. I learn best by seeing and/or doing, plus I love an excuse to dust off my coloured pens…

I also love this free printable brainstorm sheet:

Free printable brainstorming sheet via

Free printable brainstorming sheet via

What’s your favourite way to organise your ideas?

Back in business!

Hello, blogosphere! It’s been a while.

Those of you not following me on Twitter or Facebook might have wondered if I’d disappeared, so I thought I’d briefly explain what I’ve been up to recently. Those of you who do, I apologise!


*Submitting my final MA assignment

Speech Marks Translation - MA in Translation

For the past two years, I have been completing a Master’s in Translation on a part-time basis. As I’m sure many of you know from personal experience, mixing studying and starting a business is a serious undertaking, and I’m really relieved to have it finished. The first 18 months of the course was not too demanding in terms of time, but the past few months have involved self-directed research, extended translations and commentaries, which have had much more of an impact on my professional life. Now I can focus more of my time and energy on building up my business, which is still pretty young, and having some kind of a social life!

*Professional development

Since ITI first announced its plans for a new membership structure, I have been considering applying for MITI status. I sent off my application a short time ago and will be doing the exam before the end of the year. If you want to know more about the membership categories of ITI, take a look at this guide. For more information about taking the exam, Rose Newell and Emma Goldsmith have written about their experiences in great detail.


After all of this excitement (!), I’m taking a few days to carefully map out my plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond:

Speech Marks Translation - business plan for the rest of 2013

*Drumming up business

Being out of action for a while means that my earnings have taken a bit of a hit recently. The day after I gave my final piece of work in, I started contacting my clients to let them know that I’m available again. Finishing my course has energised me and renewed my excitement about growing this little business. From next week, I’ll be reaching out to new potential clients, based on the excellent advice in Marta Stelmaszak’s recent posts on market research (1, 2, 3 and 4).

*Strengthening local contacts

Now that I have more time, I am making a big effort to connect with other local businesses, both online and face-to-face. Although I live in a pretty rural area, there are lots of local networks and I look forward to playing a more active role in them, particularly the Inspire Herefordshire network, which I joined earlier this year.

*New blog series

You’ll be hearing from me more often again here, as I have a new series of posts on specialisations. Although, calling it ‘new’ is a bit misleading – I have had the mini interviews ready for quite a while now! Look out for the posts.

So what have I missed over the last few months? Let me know of any recent posts/articles/discussions in the comments!

2013 – the year of translators

On my daily browse through the translation blogosphere, I came across the latest post by Marta at Want Words , which suggests a three-point plan for improving on 2012 and making this year your best ever:

*Identify what you didn’t like about 2012

*Find the reasons for the things you didn’t like about 2012

*Have a plan of how to fix it

I side with Marta here in resenting the rates proposed by some clients, and their payment terms. However, we are in control of what we accept and what we choose to reject. The ability to control my working conditions and reputation is one of my favourite things about my chosen career. Let’s all make this the year of the translator.

Marta has created the badge below – grab it for your own blog and share the love 🙂

2013 - The Year of Translators

A little diversion…the translator’s word search

As the well known Monty Python catchphrase goes, and now for something completely different.

My other half is training to be a secondary-level (11-16) teacher at the moment, which means that I get to test out a lot of different teaching methods. A few nights ago, my activity was a geographical word search, so I thought I’d create a small (very easy) puzzle for you guys to do. As fellow word nerds, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I guarantee it will take you less than 5 minutes, and they do say that regular breaks are good for us…

So why not take a break and have a go? 😀